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History

In 1973, a group of concerned citizens had a vision to create a community sponsored agency that would address the various needs of the people of South Essex. The vision and efforts of two individuals mobilized the communities of South Essex to create the South Essex Community Council. The leadership of Father G.H. Duchene and JoAnne Fillimore shaped the work of SECC as a collaborative community-based, multi-service agency. Their vision of community helping community continues to inspire and guide the work of the South Essex Community Council, its board, staff and volunteers to present.

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1970’s
1980’s
1990’s
2000’s

1970’s

1973

  • Concerns over the lack of services for individuals experiencing economic and social problems in the Leamington area leads a local citizens group to form the South Essex Community Council.
  • Seed funding is received from the councils of the Town of Leamington and the Township of Mersea.

1974

  • Arrangements are made with the Family Service Bureau, Legal Aid of Windsor and the John Howard Society to deliver satellite services in the area. Free income tax clinics are introduced.
  • English as a Second Language Committee, forerunner of the Ethnic Resources Committee, begins to discuss ethnic concerns.
  • Publication of the first edition of the South Essex Social Services Directory occurs. Community Forum begins as a weekly column in local newspapers.

1975

  • English as Second Language, Youth Day Camp, Legal Aid, Credit Counseling, Community Information Centre are new projects introduced into the community.
  • SECC moves into the Nicklin House, along with the Children’s Aid Society, Ministry of Community and Social Services, and County Family and Social Services.

1976

  • The Advisory Committee on Benefits for Senior Citizens was organized.
  • Information and Referral for ethnic communities and newcomers is added to CIC’s service functions.

1977

  • Meals on Wheels and the Parents and Preschoolers Program comes on stream.
  • Mennonite Central Committee uses SECC quarters to provide specialized services to Mennonites arriving from Mexico.

1978

  • SECC introduces a driving class for the Mennonite community and a single parents support group is established.
  • Multi-year funding is received for the Community Information Centre.
  • Town of Leamington purchases the former Selkirk School, with the purpose of leasing it to non-profit social service agencies.

1979

  • Official association with the United Way, Windsor-Essex County is explored.
  • SECC and the other Neckline House tenants move to 18 Selkirk Avenue.

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1980’s

1980

  • Refugees from Southeast Asia begin their settlement in South Essex. Purchase-of-service arrangements are made with the federal government’s Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP) to continue settlement assistance for incoming refugees.
  • Outreach for Seniors, Vial for Life, and the Kingsville/Leamington Postal Alert programs are launched.
  • The first United Way agreement is signed.
  • Transportation committee is formed to address needs of mobility-limited citizens.

1981

  • Grants are received to fund family and individual counseling programs.
  • First funding is received from United Way.
  • Hearing test clinic, Widows and Widowers support program and Portuguese Translation Service are introduced.

1982

  • ‘Bility Bus is purchased. SECC and the South Essex Action Group for the Physically Handicapped (SEAGPH) jointly operated the service.
  • Teen Program opens with the Art Gallery as its venue.

1983

  • Foot Care Clinic begins its services at the Sun Parlor Home for Senior Citizens.
  • A study on the state of adult literacy is conducted.
  • Handi-Transit of Windsor takes over the operation of the ‘Bility Bus.

1984

  • Adult Literacy, Citizenship Preparation Classes and Heritage Language Program are added to SECC’s services in cooperation with the Essex County Board of Education.
  • Briefs on homelessness and poverty are presented to the Town of Leamington Council.

1985

  • A comprehensive community needs assessment is conducted.
  • CIC receives funding to install privacy dividers and a new telephone system.
  • United Way contract is renegotiated.
  • Leamington District Secondary School student leaders raise funds as seed money for an envisioned local service for youth in crisis.
  • A new SECC logo is adopted.

1986

  • Youth Crisis Intervention Service and Friendly Visitation/Telephone Reassurance Program become SECC’s newest offerings.
  • SECC form Elder Abuse Committee.
  • Information and Referral for seniors receive funding.
  • The federal government approves Settlement Language Training Program funds to augment existing second language acquisition services for newcomers.

1987

  • Social Planning Committee is created by the Board of Directors to better address community issues and problems. SECC takes part in the observance of the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. The Leamington Non-Profit Housing Corporation is formed.
  • SECC facilitates local discussions of Work and Income in the Nineties (WIN), refugee issues and race relations in the community.

1988

  • Youth Employment Counseling Service opens its doors to youths facing employment barriers.
  • Adult Literacy Program produces a public service videotape.
  • A Seniors Advisory Group develops a transportation proposal for consideration by the five South Essex Municipal Councils. The successful proposal results in the initiation of the Erie Shores Transit Program.
  • Community Information Centre responds to 19,151 inquiries.
  • A total of 286 individuals participate in English as a Second Language.

1989

  • Emergency Youth Home Program is started.
  • Erie Shores Community Transit is introduced, providing door-to-door transportation services to the frail elderly and people with disabilities in South Essex.
  • The Immigrant Settlement Adaptation Program (ISAP) is developed by the agency.
  • A parent support group is created for parents of troubled youth.

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1990’s

1990

  • Mennonites from Mexico Community Forum leads the establishment of a working committee.
  • Transportation Advisory Committee coordinates proposal submissions in support of an accessible transportation in South Essex.
  • Youth Employment Counseling Service initiates the Summer Jobs Project as a preventative measure to encourage young people to stay in school.
  • Summer Experience in the Trades program is introduces which encourages young people to consider the skilled trades as a viable career.
  • FUTURES Work Experience Placement is partnering with St. Clair College becomes a reality so the program could be more accessible to young people in South Essex.
  • Multicultural Services Program and Adult Literacy Program combines to form the Community Education Program:
    • Language at Work component was set up to offer English, literacy and/or numeracy to employed immigrants on the work site;
    • Parents and Preschoolers English as a Second Language classes ran from January to March with a pilot program operating from April to May, and an ESL/Life Skills class in July and August.

1991

  • Youth Crisis Intervention Service amalgamates with the Leamington District Memorial Hospital to better service youth in the area.
  • A demographic study of the five municipalities SECC services is completed. The information gathered becomes a database for the Community Information Centre.
  • A liaison officer was hired to work with the Mennonites from Mexico community. Issues to be addressed include health promotion and education.
  • Community Information Centre becomes fully automated.
  • Erie Shore Community Transit becomes a reality. An accessible vehicle providing door-to-door transportation, seven days a week to frail elderly and disabled adults becomes operative.
  • South Essex Home Service is developed as a joint project of Senors Services and Youth Employment Counseling Service to match seniors needing odd jobs done around the house with young people wishing to do part-time jobs.

1992

  • SECC hosts the Canadian Citizenship Ceremonies; 25 area people become Canadians.
  • Community Education offers a Labour Adjustment Preparatory Program, offering English and Math classes for re-employment purposes.
  • In conjunction with Hiatus House, SECC hosts a one-day workshop dealing with Wife Abuse for Immigrant Women in Essex County.
  • In cooperation with local organizations and United Way, SECC sponsor a Help Fair to provide assistance to unemployed and underemployed in our area.
  • SECC conducts a staff restructuring aimed at streamlining management functions in order to increase front line resources.
  • SECC introduces a security check program whereby daily phone contact is made with seniors and disabled adults.
  • SECC initiates a comprehensive Nutritional Support Program consisting of Meals on Wheels, Diners Club and Frozen Meals.
  • YECS becomes an agent for St. Clair College in the delivery of the FUTURES programs locally.
  • YECS offers a Stay at School Program directed exclusively at students who are Mennonites from Mexico.
  • SECC renegotiates a close working agreement with the Windsor-Essex United Way.
  • SECC renews and strengthens its partnership with the Essex County Board of Education.

1993

  • Accessible Van is purchased in response to the growing need for accessible transportation provided by Erie Shore Community Transit.
  • Meals on Wheels expands to 5 days a week in all municipalities SECC services.
  • SECC assumes the coordination of a Friendly Visitation Program for seniors.
  • SECC and its community partners relocate to the Princess Centre.

1994-95

  • SECC implements a new fiscal year, April 1 to March 31, which is consistent with government funders.
  • South Essex Needs Assessment is completed.
  • Meals on Wheels and Security Check/Friendly Visitation expand to 7 days per week service.
  • The South Essex Shuttle Service is initiated, providing daily transportation for target populations with identified mobility barriers.
  • Community Information Centre extends service to Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
  • Youth Employment Counseling Service employs an additional employment counselor.
  • The South Essex Social Planning Committee hosts a Community Information Fair attended by 3,000 people.

1995-96

  • SECC, in partnership with Human Resource Development Canada, launches the Community Employment Initiative.
  • SECC, together with the Alzheimer Society of Windsor-Essex and the Sun Parlor Home, develops a continuum of Seniors Day Programming in South Essex.
  • The Child Nutrition Program is launched in partnership with the Essex County Board of Education.
  • The South Essex Community Council: Kingsville Office opens.
  • The Volunteer Action Service, in partnership with the United Way of Windsor-Essex County and Human Resources – Development Canada, is initiated.
  • The South Essex Community Health Centre proposal is completed.

1996-97

  • The SECC: Membership Association approves the corporate name change to South Essex Community Centre Incorporated to better reflect the service delivery model of SECC.
  • SECC partners with Mennonite Central Committee through a Voluntary Service Project for Immigrant Services.
  • The Kingsville Gosfield South Community Food Bank becomes fully operational at the SECC: Kingsville Office, in partnership with the Kingsville Ministerial Association.
  • The South Essex Community Health Partnership is created in October 1996 consisting of Leamington District Memorial Hospital, Leamington Mennonite Home, Leamington Nursing Home, Sun Parlor Home, Victorian Order of Nurses and Windsor-Essex Health Unit.
  • SECC becomes the designated deliverer of the provincial Summer Jobs Service, which creates and supports summer employment for youth.
  • SECC in partnership with SECC Corporation, delivers the federally funded Youth Entrepreneurship program.
  • Agencies joining the SECC facility include Children’s Aid Society of the County of Essex, Credit Counseling Services of South Western Ontario and Family Service Windsor: APSW.

1997-98

  • SECC is designated the corporate sponsor of HRDC: Opportunities Fund.
  • SECC successfully implements the newly created Job Connect Program funded by the Ministry of Education and Training.
  • The South Essex Social Planning Committee facilitates the federal Canadian Policy and Research Network Consultation for the Communities of South Essex.
  • Youth 4 Youth, a partnership program of SECC and the Sherk Complex, expands to provide programming on Thursday and Friday nights.
  • A Facility Review Committee is struck by SECC to assess facility and program delivery needs of the community sector and to make recommendations regarding a facility model and site plan.

1998-99

  • SECC moves to 215 Talbot Street East, along with HRDC, and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. Partners in the Community Services Centre include: Shalom Counseling, Canadian Mental Health Association, Legal Assistance, Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
  • Youth Drop-In Centre opens, offering youth services after school hours.

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 2000s

2000

  • Several programs of SECC achieved unprecedented levels of service delivery, in particular, Erie Shore Community Transit, Immigrant Services and Job Connect programs.
  • SECC redesigned its corporate emblem. The design incorporates interlocking outstretched hands – people helping people, community helping community.

2001

  • New initiatives, including Youth Incentives, Homeless Initiative, Seniors Quality of Life Study, and Bridges Through Bicycles, were introduced at SECC.

2002

  • Co-founder of SECC, JoAnne Fillimore, is recognized with a Government of Canada Volunteer Medal.
  • SECC’s Social Planning Council gives way to a planning committee inclusive of Kingsville and Leamington.

2003

  • The Leamington Chamber of Commerce grants SECC the Chamber’s Choice Business Excellence Award in March 2003.
  • In April of 2003, the SECC website was launched.
  • SECC celebrates its 30th anniversary as a service provider.
  • The Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities honours SECC with the Award for Service Delivery Innovation in October, 2003.

2004

  • A process to enhance the organization’s infrastructure in the areas of risk management, security, and program development was embarked upon.

2005

  • With the support of the Municipality of Leamington, SECC purchased a new bus for the Erie Shore Community Transit Program.
  • The SECC corporate emblem, developed in the year 2000, is incorporated into a sunburst image that is branded in all communications.

2006

  • A strategic planning process was begun that resulted  in the development of new Mission, Vision and Value Statements for SECC.
  • The Job Connect Program received the Minister’s Bronze Award from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for Excellence in Programming and Service delivery.

2006-07

  • Employment Edge signs a two-year agreement for the first time with the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Until this time, Employment Edge had been a federally funded employment service. With this change came a program that was much more client focused and based on the individual needs of clients.
  • The Job Connect program is able to assist not only youth, but unemployed adults as well, with the introduction of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ “no wrong door” approach.
  • A 7-week literacy course was offered to greenhouse workers through year-end funding.
  • SECC receives the Minister’s Award of Excellence in the delivery of Job Connect.
  • This was the inaugural year for Diamond’s and Denim, SECC’s signature gala fundraising event.

2007-08

  • The SECC Community Education Centre at 94 Talbot Street East, Leamington, officially opened to the public on September 24, 2007. This was made possible by the generous assistance of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • The SECC LINC Classes expanded significantly to include 2 day time classes, along with expanded childminding services which also included infant care.
  • SECC begins offering settlement assistance through Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Immigration Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP).
  • A $71,000 Trillium Grant was received to provide additional classes and services in the SECC ImPACT program. The grant also allowed SECC to pilot small groups for Spanish and Arabic speaking women.
  • A Transit Advisory Committee was formed to gain input from the community and help establish a comprehensive plan for vehicle replacement.
  • 2007-08 marks the 10th year that SECC delivered the Summer Jobs Service. Since 1997, SECC assisted nearly 1,200 students secure summer employment and provided nearly $750,000 in hiring incentives to local employers.
  • The Government of Ontario introduces Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) and the Aging at Home Strategy.

2008-09

  • SECC purchases 2 new transit vehicles to add to the fleet.
  • More than 200 adults participated in literacy and language training and more than 100 pre-school aged children participated in SECC childminding programs.
  • The Government of Ontario introduces the Second Career Strategy and SECC’s Employment Edge delivered the new programming, assisting 24 clients to return to school for re-training.
  • The Newcomer Settlement Program saw 840 new clients and set a record for the number of client visits—3,963.
  • The SECC Immigrant Advisory Committee is re-established.

2009-10

  • SECC undertakes an extensive review of its strategic plan and unveils a new mission, vision and values for the organization.
  • Funding for Community Information Services from United Way was discontinued and re-organization took place to ensure that clients would still receive in-person service over the phone and when presenting at the front desk.
  • The Leamington and Kingsville offices underwent some much needed face lifting and minor renovations thanks to year-end funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

2010-11

  • SECC, along with its Windsor-Essex Transit partners, receives the “Own It 2010 LHIN Valuable Award” for its cooperation with other service providers in the development and implementation of the Erie St. Clair Dialysis Transportation Initiative.
  • SECC tried a pilot Frozen Meals on Wheels program.
  • The new Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework was introduced across the province, requiring SECC to make some adjustments to implement the new framework.
  • SECC partnered with the Multicultural Council of Windsor-Essex and the Windsor-Essex YMCA to deliver 2 Income Tax Clinics to 100 newcomers in their own mother tongues.

2011-12

  • SECC partners with Canterbury College’s Eldercollege to provide computer training classes to seniors.
  • CIC introduces the “modernized approach” to delivering settlement and SECC adapts its service delivery model.
  • The SECC Foot Care Clinic exceeds its projected annual targets by more than 50%, providing 3,064 treatments.
  • SECC introduces on-line learning to Literacy learners through the provincial program, The Learning Hub.
  • SECC partners with Leamington United Mennonite Church to offer some of its Literacy classes in its new Education wing.
  • SECC introduces the Welcoming Communities program to its menu of Settlement Programs.
  • SECC establishes a Social Justice Committee to raise awareness of the effects of poverty in the County.
  • The Diamonds and Denim Gala sells out for the first time.

2012-13

  • SECC completes a Community Needs Assessment and Report to identify gaps in service and potential areas for service growth.
  • SECC secures additional CIC funding to provide additional language classes and youth programming.
  • The SECC Social Justice Committee launces the “Change for Change” campaign, an initiative to raise awareness, as well as funds, about youth poverty and homelessness. The committee raised $875 and assembled 75 personal care kits which were distributed amongst the local high schools.
  • The Windsor-Essex Accessible Transportation Network, of which SECC is a part, begins working towards an integrated transportation service delivery model.

2013-14

  • SECC celebrates its 40th Anniversary by hosting 2 community Open Houses in Leamington and Kingsville in September 2013.
  • SECC transitions from delivering the provincially funded Job Connect Program, to being an “official” Employment Ontario Employment Service
  • Windsor Essex Community Transit becomes a reality and all 5 service providers have the new logo placed on all of their vehicles.
  • SECC launches a pilot project to take students from Leamington, Kingsville and Essex to St. Clair College for classes.
  • SECC reviews the 2011-14 Strategic Plan and establishes a new one for 2014-17.
  • The SECC Board appointed Fundraising Task Force delivers its report and recommendations to the Board of Directors for review.
  • SECC partners with the Alzheimer’s Society of Windsor Essex and VON to offer enhanced health and wellness services in its day program through a shared nursing services pilot project.
  • Windsor Essex Community Transit launches a toll-free number and purchases new scheduling software through financial assistance of the Erie St. Clair LHIN.
  • SECC partners with The Multicultural Council of Windsor-Essex and The University of Windsor in a research project on welcoming communities.
  • SECC partners with Staples and The Salvation Army to assemble 120 school kits for local children in need of school supplies.
  • SECC works with Tim Horton’s Wendy’s, Meadowbrook Fellowship and CIBC to purchase supplies for 125 personal care kits for at-risk youth. UMEI’s Faith in Action Group, Leamington United Mennonite Church and SECC’s Newcomer Youth Program work together to assemble the kits.

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