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COMMUNITY SERVICES | Working with Scarborough residents to build strong and healthy communities

Board of Directors

Bryan Heal, Chairperson

“It is a pleasure to serve on the board of directors of an organization that has had such a profound impact in the lives and fabric of Scarborough. A number of years ago I was studying and working part time, while living in a Dorset Park area building where there had not been a great deal of interconnectedness among neighbours.  And then I attended a local Jane’s Walk.  Organized through ACSA’s Action for Neighbourhood Change and resident leaders in the community, the lasting memories are of different people coming together to share, learn, meet their neighbours and forge lasting connections. Inspired by the passion of others, the range of initiatives I found myself connected to included future neighbourhood events, food programming and tax clinics, civic engagement initiatives around safety, infrastructure and community need, and planning for the Dorset Park Community Hub. ACSA staff, residents, volunteers and partners are what helped bring every idea to life, impacting countless lives in the process - as a bridge to neighbours, a bridge to networks, a bridge to civic engagement, a bridge to opportunity.”

Jay Paleja, Vice Chairperson

“ACSA serves as my bridge to Agincourt, connecting me to the community where I was born and raised. ACSA doesn't just connect us to critical services, it connects us to each other and makes Scarborough a better place to live. This sense of community and its contribution to home is the reason I joined the Board three years ago. I'm honoured to contribute to the Board which makes sure the foundations that keep the bridge standing stay strong.”

Doug Brown, Treasurer

“Every volunteer gets involved with an organization because they hope to make a difference. ACSA retains their volunteers because you can see you make a difference. Being involved on the Board in the past, I saw first hand the incredible work ACSA does, and the people that are impacted. When Lee reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in rejoining the Board, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Stanley Szeto, Secretary

Stanley is a Senior Accountant at Staples Canada with a Bachelor of Commerce (H.B.Com.) from Laurentian University. Stanley joined the Board of Directors of Agincourt Community Services Association (ACSA) to be involved in a non-profit organization in his backyard that helps address the issues facing his community and to develop personally and professionally. Born and raised in Toronto and living in Agincourt for the past 15 years, it was important for him that organizations like ACSA existed and to provide the bridges and pathways to programs and services that help the community emerge from being isolated and marginalized. This past tax season he volunteered at the tax clinic, a program that served over 2,500 clients generating over $9.8M in refunds and benefits. This and the many programs and services provided by Financial Empowerment and Problem Solving (FEPS) team helps community members build the knowledge to manage their finances.

Carol Cunningham, Director

“I  have been an active and engaged resident of the Scarborough community for 35 years. My passion is serving the  most vulnerable populations in the area. As co-founder and Director of the not-for-profit organization Caring Community Connections, which developed and implemented initiatives for underserved community members with a focus on youth programs, I became more aware of the needs of youth in the community. Our small organization did not have the capacity to meet the crisis many of the young people were facing. ACSA , an agency that serviced adults, was interested in getting more involved with youth. I was honored to be asked to be on the board of this vibrant organization to help develop a focus on at risk youth.

Recently, my desire to serve has grown from a focus on youth to include any person struggling with the demands of daily life. I returned to the board hoping to engage local faith communities and private business to take an active role in helping members of our community.”

Paul Rook, Director

As a resident of Scarborough for over 40 years, I have taught in four collegiates in the ACSA area (Agincourt, Macdonald, Pearson, Thomson) served as Vice-President and President of the Scarborough District of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers and been a political activist and campaign organizer. In these roles I developed many connections throughout Scarborough and became aware of the growing needs and problems in our community

When I retired I wanted to continue to use the skills I had developed by volunteering in our community to help deal with its needs. Fortunately I had become aware of ACSA because of a connection that was created as a result of Agincourt C. I. donating its Christmas Cheer money to ACSA. This connection and ACSA’s excellent programs and outreach for youth and children inspired me to volunteer at ACSA. Since being on the Board I have been impressed by the many bridges that ACSA has built within Scarborough both through its programs and its strong ties with other agencies. As a teacher, I am I am pleased we have reached out to youth at risk through innovative initiatives such TAGGs. When the Syrian immigrants arrived we reached out to this community and provided them with an array of services that helped them to connect to jobs, education, and language training. ACSA has built other bridges into local communities through its programs to empower people to promote their own concerns and solve problems. Through Scarborough Civic Action Network (SCAN), which ACSA is part of, I have been able to use my political and organizational knowledge to assist in this initiative. The strength of the connections that ACSA makes is shown through the fact that myself and three other current Board came back to join the Board after serving our initial 6 years.

Naeema Tharani, Director

“Passion. Dedication. Commitment. These three words can be used to describe the tireless efforts of ACSA's staff and volunteers. It is due to these three words that ACSA has consistently and continuously demonstrated success in bridging the residents of Scarborough with much needed services and supports. It is also due to these three words that I continue to serve on ACSA's Board of Directors. I truly believe ACSA is making a difference in the lives of Scarborough residents and I am proud to support their efforts in working towards a brighter future.”

Lois Williams, Director

“Bridges.  They connect people with others, with resources and to essential needs while overcoming barriers and physical challenges.  I have seen the importance of bridges.  Not just the big steel structures but rope bridges and small walking bridges over deep rushing rivers and ravines.  This is what I saw was so critical in the nearly ten years we lived in the remote areas of Nepal.  The provision of these small yet critical connectors made a huge impact on people, health, villages and travellers.

Now I have the privilege of being on the ACSA board building bridges right here in Scarborough.  While I don't live in Scarborough I have been coming here for many years to various parts of the area to visit friends, attend a local church and to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter who live in Scarborough.  ACSA gives me again the opportunity to set policies for building bridges among those who are desperate for a way across the chasm of poverty, illness and hunger and more.  ACSA –is a bridge building service that does this. “

Vinitha Gengatharan, Director

“ACSA serves as a bridge to many new comers to the region and provides a hand up to lead newcomers to chart their path in Canada.  Over the last 40+ years, ACSA has been a consistent advocate on behalf of the marginalized and vulnerable people in our communities. I have been involved with ACSA for the last 7 years and was the former Chair of the Board of Directors.   Having arrived in Canada at the age of 11, and experienced what it’s like to be a new comer and an immigrant, I have spent my time engaged in activities that provide settlement services to newcomers, and promoting their integration and success in our communities.  I was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and grew up in Flemingdon Park and Scarborough, and am aware of the needs, challenges and the dreams and aspirations of the community that surrounds ACSA.   I chose to be involved in ACSA because of its multi-service agency model, their range of services, the professionalized staff who offer much needed services with community engagement and community based solutions as a core value.” 

Yasser Lone, Director At Large

"I am honoured to serve as a Director of ACSA. Growing up and now practicing law in Scarborough has provided me with insight into the diversity of the people who live in the area and a unique perspective on the needs of the community.  I have always tried to give back to the Agincourt neighborhood from hosting mock trials at local schools to presenting legal seminars at the library. Joining the ACSA Board allows me to continue giving back to the community through an organization that has dedicated and experienced staff committed to working with the most vulnerable people in Scarborough. I look forward to assisting with reinvigorating the legal services program provided by ACSA and broadening our fundraising efforts to ensure the organization’s financial future."

Chi Tran, Director At Large

"My family and I immigrated to Canada in 1979 through the sponsorship from a family in Canada.  We first arrived and settled in Kingston, Ontario.  Eventually we moved to Toronto.  I grew up near and lived in Scarborough for close to 20 years.  You have pockets in Scarborough that are vibrant and areas that are underserved, that’s where ACSA plays an important part in our social fabric by providing the needed services to these underserved communities.  I was excited when I was chosen to be a part of the board on ACSA because I truly believe in their work and I’m committed to help in any capacity required of me.  I believe in paying it forward, to help others as others have helped my family and I when we first came to Canada.  I truly believe that our transition in Canada would not have been as smooth without the help from the sponsoring family, of which I owe a great debt of gratitude.  The services that ACSA provide have helped many families in similar situations and I’m proud of being part of this great organization."


Community voices

“Having no other family in this country other than my children, the community hub became my second home.”
Fatima Abdille, Steeles-L'Amoreaux, June 2015

United Way Member Agency

United Way