Learning from the real pros in town
By Monty Laskin
If you agree, then you’ll also likely agree that the best way to find out if you’re on the right course is to ask people who are on the ride with you.
The real experts aren’t the people learning about something, the academics, teachers and the like. The real experts are the people who are doing. They’re the people who roll up their sleeves and immerse themselves in things. Sure, those things can always be improved by people who study them and pursue changes based on observations and testing. But there’s nothing quite like experiencing something firsthand. You try the product. Or the service.
If it’s on the mark, you will more than likely stick with it.
Caledon Community Services doesn’t offer too much in the way of products. While we are big on healthy food these days, and distribute lots of it, and are passionate about the right of everyone in our community to have access to it, our real meat and potatoes are services. Whether it’s children, youth, adults, seniors or entire families, CCS is a provider of services. And we always want to take those services up a notch or two. Resting on our laurels is not the mark we wish to make. Constant inquiry into improvements is.
That led me to meet with some people from Peace Ranch recently and ask them about mental health services in Caledon, about Exchange services they were using and about ways in which our community could take it up a notch or two in supporting them. Their comments were sobering. And instructive.
I was told that I needed to focus more on community education. I was told that I needed to stay the course on opening the Exchange to the entire community and involving them within our community. I was told that compassion goes a long way to feeling better.
hitting the mark
I’ve taken those messages to heart. Most importantly, these pros in mental health, people who have experienced mental illness, were invaluable in helping improve our programs and services. Surveys, focus groups and less formal but equally effective one-on-one conversations generate a treasure trove of feedback and advice.
Each of our programs and services ask the real pros – Caledon residents – how well or poorly we are doing. We’re on the mark in some areas, off it in others.
As we approach our 45th year of service to the Caledon community, we’re mindful of a responsibility to not ever become complacent in anything we do. That’s made certain through a call to the pros for improvements.
To that end, we are quite serious when we ask, “How are we doing?” Our interest in improving mental health services in Caledon gets stoked by Peace Ranch clients who know exactly what works for them and what doesn’t. And it’s no surprise that we also have a keen interest in your views of our seniors’ services, employment programs, youth training, stores, specialized transportation, communications and fundraising efforts.
Sometimes when you ask questions the responses are music to your ears. Sometimes they’re not. Bring it on! We’re approaching 45 years and surely we’re old enough to know that good critical advice is priceless. So act like a pro and if you’ve experienced our programs and services, drop in, call us or email us and tell us how we’re doing.