The Community and Social sector is not defined so much by the type of services they offer, but by the catchment area they serve. Essentially, the mandate of an organization within this category seeks to serve the people of their community. Some of services can include foodbanks, shelters, community centres, language courses, vocational training, counselling or programs for people with physical or mental disabilities or disease.
Organizations that provide services for their local community tend to be small, fairly uncomplicated in structure and not too well known. However, there are two organizations that stand out within this sector. They are the YMCA and the United Way. The YMCA Canada is part of a larger international network, but has regional offices. Their goal is to improve communities by connecting with individuals through programs. Although the YMCA is most commonly known for their fitness and child programs, they offer a lot of other services including courses for newcomers, shelters, employment training and even international programs.
The United Way Canada also part of a larger, international network, but works in Canada through regional offices. They also seek to improve communities by working on an individual level. However, they connect with individuals by funding and offering training to community and social services. They fundraise on their own and then redistribute the money. It is a great way for small organizations to get funding without having to raise their own money. The United Way also tends to be a popular choice for employee giving programs because they reach so many different types of people across the country.
So, where should you go if you are looking for help? If you live in Ontario, the best place to look for information about what is happening in your community or how to find specialized services is 211Ontario. They have information on over 56 000 agencies and services and provide the information in an easy to access format.
Some of the community or social services that Services in Action works with are:
Pathways for Children, Youth and Families of York Region
If you want to get involved in a local fundraising event, there is a great opportunity tomorrow, April 25, 2012 with A Taste For Life.