Before looking to the future, it is important to acknowledge the past. There are many volunteers who have a significant impact and it is particularly important to remember the former President, Bruno M. Suppa who passed away in February 2020. His dedication to COSTI is unmatched and will forever be remembered for his commitment to assist the most vulnerable to improve their life opportunities through education and employment. In honour of his five decades of service, COSTI’s 1710 Dufferin St. location was renamed the Bruno M. Suppa Corporate Office.
In addition, I want to acknowledge Frank Mendicino, Secretary of the Board who also stepped down after many years of service on the Board. Frank originally worked as a social worker at COSTI before going back to school and becoming a lawyer. With his extensive depth of knowledge of our clients’ needs, he helped guide the organization through critical pivotal moments.
As a new President, I understand the importance of the past to navigate our future. Since becoming President last November, we have had significant change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud to let you know that the Board and staff have embraced the change and demonstrated their flexibility to adapt quickly. Board meetings transitioned permanently to an online platform and many programs launched online models. We are grateful for the flexibility demonstrated by our staff in quickly adapting to serving the community remotely.
While COSTI continues to believe that one-on-one in person services is the best model in serving the community, the global events of this past year required the organization to shift its services from a primarily in-person service delivery model to an online model.
During this time, the Board has initiated, Strategic Planning as we understand recent events require planning for a long-term recovery from the global pandemic. We need to develop innovative approaches in how we respond to the challenge of helping more people with less, while continuing to address the changing needs of our community. I look forward to working with both staff and Board members in finalizing a Strategic Plan that will be used as a guide and allows us to renew the organization’s commitment to our clients’ success in their new country.
Our Board and staff are committed to responding to changes in our health, social and economic environments and look to enhancing our partnerships with community organizations and funders in order to meet the needs of diverse communities, regardless of the necessitated changes in service delivery models. Our collective achievements, in turn, contribute to Canada’s success, particularly as we recover from the effects of the global pandemic.
Change is important in ensuring COSTI’s continued success. My thanks and appreciation to my fellow Board members and COSTI staff who have and continue to demonstrate their commitment to embracing change during this unprecedented time, both in their professional and personal lives.