On June 27th, KPMG hosted the ACO’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Toronto. For the ACO, the AGM is a time when we invite our friends, families and partners to join us in a ‘look back’ on the year behind us. We also take this time to renew our commitment to our mission and vision in the year ahead, including a special presentation about our newest initiative: the Developmental Trauma Action Alliance.
In general, the meeting itself is meant to show that our organization is demonstrating that we are accountable and complying with legal requirements, such as the presentation and approval of the audited accounts, election of directors and appointment of auditors for the new accounting term.
We are always excited to see the familiar faces of our old friends and welcome the new faces in the room. Together with the support of our staff, our Board of Directors and our funders, we continue to build our programs with the guidance of adoptive families, the voice of our youth, our Children’s Mental Health and our Child Welfare partners. This year our AGM was attended by over 50 people from across the adoption and child welfare community!
Grace Li and Karen Serblowski led the ACO Board of Directors as chair and vice-chair in the past year along with Marino Felice, Amy Diaz, Sheryl Ederman, Breann Kirincich, Susan Watt, Lisette Gelinas, Nancy Dale, Sherri Kinch and Valerie D'Paiva.
During the event, the Board of Directors of the ACO were pleased to formally acknowledge the remarkable contributions of some of our most active supporters over the past year:
Pat Fenton Award
This award is given to recognize the hard work and dedication of an individual volunteer, or group of volunteers, who have made an outstanding personal contribution to ACO. This year’s award was presented to Chloe Hockley. Chole has been working with the ACO on a number of different initiatives, and has shown dedication and commitment in all the work she has completed. Her perseverance and hard work has resulted in the advancement of the ACO's programs to help Ontario's children, youth and families. Thank you, Chloe, for all you have accomplished!
This award recognizes an individual/donor who has made a significant and meaningful volunteering and/or financial contribution to the ACO. This year’s award was presented to Susan Watt. As both a member of the ACO's Fund Development Committee and the Board of Directors, Susan's tremendous commitment to the ACO was reflected last year in her corporate fundraising efforts. She singlehandedly raised in excess of $100,000.00 in support of the ACO! Her efforts have shown that the ACO is a viable organization worthy of the support from major corporations within Ontario. Thank you Susan for your time and efforts supporting the ACO!
Corporate Leadership Award
This award recognizes a corporation that has made a significant and meaningful contribution to building an ACO program. This year’s award recipient is BlackRock Canada. For two consecutive years, BlackRock has provided ACO with specific program funding and hosted employee volunteer events, such as making blankets that are provided to children and youth as a welcome gift after adoption. Eleanor McIntyre from BlackRock Canada accepted the award on behalf of the company. Thank you to BlackRock Canada for supporting Ontario families!
The stars don’t always align for kids and families with Developmental Trauma. Sometimes we have to make them align. - Kathy Soden, ACO staff and member of the DTAA
This year, our special presentation was presented by members of our new Developmental Trauma Action Alliance (DTAA), Kathy Soden, Dr. Charlie Menendez, Mary-Jo Land and Susan O'Quinn. The Alliance, which is made up of professionals from a variety of sectors and people with lived experience, are striving to raise awareness and share knowledge about Developmental Trauma in the short term and drive systemic change in the longer term to help prevent and heal it.
During the presentation, panel members discussed why this work is important to the ACO and its families, what Developmental Trauma is and how best to tackle the issue going forward. Attendees were provided with information about this need, including a discussion on how adverse early life experiences can impact a child's brain and body, potentially keeping them on a "survival loop" of "fight, flight or freeze". Panelists provided attendees with examples of Developmental Trauma's effects on themselves, their family, their friends and their clients, before a question and answer period.
Thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for providing the Alliance with funding to do this important work!
The ACO is proud to be a part of the Developmental Trauma Action Alliance (DTAA), working on a collective impact approach to healing childhood trauma. For more information on this new initiative, click here.
Finally, we here at the ACO would like to say THANK YOU to our funders, volunteers and donors. All of the work that the ACO does would not be possible if it weren’t for the donors who believe in the work we do; the Board and the volunteers who generously donate their time; and the staff who bring the organization to life! Below are just some of our generous sponsors:
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