As I prepare for the year-end report, I cannot help but think that the years are going by far too quickly.  I often wonder how we are going to accomplish our Ends (mission) and the projects that are being developed at the present time.

Over the course of the last handful of years, I believe it is fair to state that the groundwork that was started some 14 years ago by the Board and our Executive Director at the time, Mr. Paul Wheeler, is now becoming a reality.   As we, your Board members, our staff, the people we support and of course the residents in our Chorus Apartment, as well as yourselves, our owners, as we reflect on this achievement, it is very evident that the relationships that have been developed are now paying dividends in our progress.

The tag phrase of UNITI, “Together we’re Stronger”, has arisen during the past year and we have witnessed the reaction of the new UNITI brand. The UNITI brand provides umbrella coverage for the three banners, those being The Semiahmoo Foundation, Peninsula Estates Housing Society and Semiahmoo House Society. As this partnership evolves and grows under the UNITI banner, our goal is to become the gold medal standard in the world of inclusivity.

Your Board and its members have a responsibility to ensure the strong stewardship of the society, and this is accomplished through vigilant policy reviews as they pertain to our Chief Executive Officer as well as ensuring that the Executive Limitations and Policy Ends are the focus of both the Board and our CEO. Your Board is responsible and accepts this responsibility on behalf of UNITI to ensure the successful future on our owners’ behalf.

A large part of the Board’s responsibility is to ensure the Board members are creating awareness with as many owners and neighbours as possible. The broader the UNITI banner and its intended inclusiveness, the stronger we all become. Over the past year, we have offered many opportunities to accomplish this goal.

This coming year promises to, once again, be a very active year with a number of projects on the calendar or in the planning stages. These projects will all fall under the UNITI banner and will include all three of the partnerships that UNITI represents.

We are so blessed to have such a dedicated group of senior staff members, who just never stop making sacrifices for the organization. This is carried out through their leadership which is always evident through our staff members who also dedicate so much time to the people we support. The volunteers, who we could not be successful without, are always ready to help members, volunteers from Chorus and the community, and we are so thankful for their support. Thank you, to each and every one of you.

This year, we are once again offering: “Thank you and good bye. We’ll Certainly Miss You”!

Jan Holt will be leaving the Board after serving six years as a Board member, during which time she has brought a special skill of asking the right questions as well as expressing her desire to learn more and ensuring that she completely has an understanding of why we would be making these decisions. Jan is retiring from Southridge School and moving to a slower paced life on the Sunshine Coast with her husband Peter.

Baksho Ghangass’s terms of serving on the Board have come to an end, after serving a one- year term as an appointed Board member followed by nine years as an elected Board member. Over the term, Baksho has become a strong member of the Board and has put her heart and soul into SHS, working to make it a better and safer place to be. She has been a strong advocate in the community and she is a tireless worker. Her knitting of scarves, mitts and booties will be missed as they were great fundraiser items. With Baksho’s husband now retired, the two of them will continue to keep very active, and don’t be surprised to see her around The Treehouse.

I would also like to once again offer our congratulations to our self-advocate Board member, Alex Magnussen. This year, Alex was a recipient of one of the four WOW (Widening our World) Awards. This award recognizes inclusion and it is based on courage, leadership, innovation and dedication. Alex has become a key member of the UNITI group.

My personal expression of appreciation goes out to Doug Tennant our CEO and to the Board members who give so much of themselves to help accomplish our Ends. Doug’s leadership guided the Board members and our entire staff including all our volunteers, who are so dedicated to the success and the future of UNITI.

Once again, I offer my sincerest thank you to all for the work that you have done as well for the work you are about to do!

I would like to leave you with this thought about inclusivity from Edwin Markham: “We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to Life”.

Respectfully submitted,

Rich Gorman, Chair, Semiahmoo House Society

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