2023 is a special year for Summit Community Services Society — that is 50 years of operation since it was founded as the East Kootenay Child Care Society in 1971.
Since then, the Cranbrook-based non-profit society and a registered charitable organization has been dedicated to promoting community well-being by providing a continuum of quality, accessible, client-centred support, childcare, and intervention services.
Summit (SCSS) marked the half century of helping vulnerable people in the community on Saturday, May 27, with a special cake cutting ceremony in front of its offices on 10th Avenue South, in amongst the first Farmers Market of the year.
Mike Carey, Summit’s building on 10th Avenue South is named after Mike Carey, who had the vision behind the creation of the East Kootenay Child Care Society in 1971. That organization was incorporated in 1973.
“It morphed, and grew, and we accepted more challenges along the way,” said Deb Saffin, Chair of the board of directors for Summit. “The programs have changed, and increased tenfold.
“In 2002 we became Summit Community Services Society — and we’re still climbing that summit, and growing as we climb along the way.”
Summit has grown considerably since 1973, providing community programs for the Cranbrook and Kimberley area for half a century.
“We’re steadily growing in our services so we can reach more vulnerable populations,” said Sarah Jacklin, Executive Director of Summit Community Services.
“We are often telling people about what we do, because our services tend to be ‘behind closed doors’ — there are some vulnerable people that are being helped. We really want to get out more in the community so people know where to come.”
As well as child care programs in Cranbrook and Kimberley, SCSS also does other work that doesn’t receive a high profile due to the nature of the clients served.
In Cranbrook there is Stopping the Violence Counselling, Police Based Victims’ Services, Community Based Victims’ Services, and Men’s Group Counselling.
“These programs all assist people who have experienced significant trauma, and our experienced group of Counsellors is able to assist with either group or one-on-one counselling,” Jacklin said.
In Kimberley, SCSS also runs a Seniors’ Helping Seniors’ Program and a Seniors One-Stop program as well as both the Community and Police Based Victims’ Services.
SCSS, and the people they provide services for, face a host of new challenges in these challenging times.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in our need in our community [over the course of the Covid pandemic],” Jacklin said. “Most service providers have. During that time we had to change our services. Some of our counselling services went online. Other services had to be done virtually through that time.
“That’s why we’re trying to grow our services — because there has been an increased need in the community.
“And there are always challenges to face, in terms of funding, in terms of increased need. When you have a increase in need for services but you don’t have an increase in funding, you’re always trying to bridge that gap.”
Nonetheless, as SCSS moves forward into the future, Jacklin says the Society is looking to expand many of those programs.
“We just want to keep on growing and reaching more vulnerable people.”
To reach Summit Community Services, go to www.summitfamily.ca/