Timeline Stories

SIRCH started a community consultation process to develop a way of housing and supporting women experiencing abuse. At the time a woman who left an abusive partner would have to go to Peterborough to find the nearest shelter – which meant taking the children out of school and missing work. The model developed was called Women’s Emergency House and would be the first of its kind, using trained teams of volunteer women to staff the House 24/7.

That year, SIRCH also welcomed Sir Sanford Fleming College Social Service Worker students, as they did their practicum training with staff at SIRCH.

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SIRCH participated in a LHIN driven integration process (over a two year period) to look at ways to improve access to health care programs. Transitional planning began for a model in Haliburton County that: 1) merged Community Care and Haliburton Highlands Health Services; 2) transfered SIRCH’s Hospice Services and VON’s Adult Day Program to that new organization.

SIRCH was awarded “Not for Profit of the Year” by the Chamber of Commerce.

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The much anticipated Fourth Annual School’s Cool Conference was held, with Charles Coffey as our Keynote speaker.

School’s Cool was piloted as part of the kindergarten curriculum in the Trillium Lakelands District School Board. There were pros and cons to incorporating it as part of kindergarten rather than as a summer program – many teachers said it allowed them to know the children in their classroom by December at a level that they normally wouldn’t reach until June.

SIRCH authored “Raising the Bar,” a report for the Ontario Coalition of CAPC & CPNP Projects. The report was presented to the federal government.

The Telecare Distress Line finally closed as many other help lines were now available.

SIRCH Consulting also worked with Trillium Lakelands District School Board to develop and pilot a program to reduce girl bullying in Grade 8. Power, Popularity & Peers used positive local female role models throughout a semester to work with teams of girls as they prepared a presentation to younger girls on bullying.

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A book, “From Dream to Reality,” written by Lon Duncombe about the Women’s Emergency House model, was published and launched in Toronto.

Recognizing the need for credit counselling, and the difficulty people had getting to the service in Peterborough, SIRCH partnered with Peterborough Credit Counseling to bring free financial counselling services to the residents of Haliburton County.

Parent Support Services, SIRCH’s very first program, was divested to the newly formed Family Services of Haliburton County. That amalgamation process was driven by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and included Case Coordination, Kinark Child and Family Services, Infant Development Program, and SIRCH’s Parent Support Program.

SIRCH developed and delivered a 26 week, full-time Special Needs Worker training program and a 30-week full-time Facilitation Skills program.

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SIRCH successfully applied for funding for a Pregnancy Support Program, a federally funded program called the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program. It focused on helping ensure healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes for women facing conditions of risk. The program included Birth Companions, a Special Delivery Club (group support) and a phone in “Baby Line.”

CAPC (Community Action Program for Children) added on community support to assist people on low or fixed incomes. There were clothing exchanges, and lots of supports to help people budget, shop on a budget and get supports from other organizations.

Haliburton County Counselling Centre was divested to Haliburton Highlands Health Services, an organization that had recently been incorporated to oversee health services in Haliburton County.

The Crisis Assistance Program was devolved, pending the arrival of provincially-funded Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service for Victoria County and Haliburton County.

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Three years before Big Brothers & Sisters would move into Haliburton County, SIRCH identified the need for supports to children of single parents who didn’t have relatives or friends nearby, and started “Big Buddies.” It matched screened men and women with girls and boys who needed support, mentoring and a male or female role model.

SIRCH also continued its collaborative approach and partnered with the CNIB to provide “Talking Books” (in the days before DVDs and Audible) to individuals with vision impairment.

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SIRCH started the Haliburton County Counselling Centre, an adult mental health centre. Therapists were hired who did individual and group counselling at the Haliburton site. Previous to this, there was no local mental health counselling available in the county. (This program was later divested to Haliburton Highlands Health Services and is currently celebrating 20 years with that organization. But it was started by SIRCH!)

In 1991, SIRCH also assisted with the development and implementation of a Telecare Crisis Line in Haliburton County, offered (through Peterborough Telecare). Anyone could call 24 hours a day to get immediate support and referrals. Before this toll free number, most crisis lines were operating out of a city, and were long distance for Haliburton County residents.)

SIRCH also developed and delivered a 9-month full time Crisis Support Respite Worker training program.

The summer Special Needs Program, started in 1990, developed into a year-round venture.

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Recognizing that parents who raise children with special needs (for example autism, developmental delay, serious illness or disease), need a break every once in awhile, SIRCH set up a “Volunteer Host Family Program”. It gave children with special needs the opportunity to stay for an overnight, weekend or longer in a warm family setting – really to many the host families became like extended family. It gave the parents (often single parents) an opportunity to … shop, sleep, catch up, visit. In addition, during the summer the Special Needs Program offered one-to-one workers to take children out, or do activities with them in their homes during the busy summer months.

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This was the year SIRCH (Supportive Initiative for Residents in the County of Haliburton) became incorporated and the year it started Parent Support Services Program. This program provided counselling, support and advocacy to parents with children up to 18 years of age. The underlying philosophy was one of encouragement and support – you can do it!

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