Epic Opportunities held its 2014 Annual General Meeting on Tues., June 17 at Maranatha Evangelical Church in Winnipeg.
A crowd of nearly 70 people, including members and their families, staff and board members attended the meeting, which provided those in attendance with a recap of the past year as well as a look ahead to 2014-15.
One of the highlights of the evening was a moving presentation by Todd, who has been supported by Epic Opportunities for the past year, and his mom Brenda. Brenda spoke about how it had always been Todd and his family’s desire for him to one day live in his own home and some of the early frustrations they encountered in helping him to achieve that goal.
Brenda said her family’s “whole life changed when we walked into Epic” because they had finally found someone that they could trust to help Todd achieve his goal of living independently. “It felt like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. It felt like magic.”
Last August, Todd moved out of his family’s home and into a place of his own with roommates David and Nathan. Brenda said the change her son has undergone since moving out of his family’s home has been nothing short of remarkable.
“His whole life has changed for the better,” she told the crowd as she stood side-by-side with Todd. “He’s eating and sleeping properly. He visits with his friends. It’s been just an amazing journey. I haven’t had a night where I couldn’t sleep because I was worrying about him.”
Todd’s journey was one of several positive stories that were shared during the course of the evening.
Board member Ralph Guy spoke about the growth of the Epic Opportunities Foundation, the primary fundraising body for Epic Opportunities, and how encouraging that has been for the organization as it looks to raise its profile and increase awareness of its activities in the community.
Guy said one of the ongoing goals of the foundation is to establish an endowment fund to provide long-term support to Epic Opportunities. As part of that mission, the foundation began to disburse funds for the first time earlier this year. It provided financial support for the purchase of several iPad minis which will be used as learning tools as well as well as a rights project booklet to help empower individuals supported by Epic Opportunities.
Epic Opportunities board chairman Timothy Nyhoff welcomed several new members to the board of directors. He also praised a glossy new edition of the organization’s annual report featuring the personal stories of some of its members and said it will help it raise its profile in the community.
Executive Director Ruby Reimer thanked everyone in attendance for sharing Epic Opportunities’ vision and helping to increase community awareness of the organization. She said 2014-15 is shaping up to be a significant year for Epic Opportunities, adding one of the highlights will be the construction of an accessible home for the first time. In the past, the organization has had to retrofit existing homes to fit the needs of people it supports.
Human Resources Coordinator Kristen Oswald spoke about ongoing efforts to recruit new employees and highlight the rewarding careers available with Epic Opportunities. Oswald said initiatives such as an employee referral program and regular appearances at career fairs have resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of resumes the organization has received during the past six years.
The evening concluded with a tribute to Sally, who had been supported by Epic Opportunities for many years and died earlier this year following an illness.