DP World Community Kinship brings attention to B.C. non-profit organizations that aid in our communities and show how corporations and individuals can support their work. One such organization is Options, a Surrey-based non-profit with a very wide range of services. It’s one reason why last year Options assisted more than 200,000 people in our community.
Two Entities Come Together
The Surrey Community Resource Society, founded in 1969, and Options Community Services, founded in 1979, merged in 2009 to form Options. Both founding organizations offered wide reaching programs. These covered services for women and children experiencing domestic abuse, crisis lines and counseling services, youth-specific shelters, and transportation services for seniors and people with disabilities. With the merger, the newly formed Options’ reach and range of programs became even greater. Presently more than 80 programs for people of all ages, abilities, and circumstances are offered in Surrey, Delta, White Rock, and Langley.
The Roots of Options: Children’s and Family Services
While Options has many programs, those provided for children and families were the original mission of both of its founding organizations and remain a core part of their services. Options provides housing and support to people leaving or considering leaving an abusive partner. Families experiencing food or housing insecurity can look to Options for assistance with finding subsidized housing, groceries, and household necessities. Families also can connect with each other and early childhood professionals for parenting advice, or with professional counsellors. Parents of a child with developmental or physical disabilities have access to one-on-one support outings, which offer enriching activities while teaching community involvement, communication skills, and appropriate behavior. Several programs offer comprehensive support to specific populations, such as immigrants, teens who are homeless or at risk of losing housing, and families in acute psychological or financial crises.
People experiencing homelessness also have resources with Options. Options has shelter options for all season, including protection from the cold and hot temperatures. They also provide outreach services for those who are interested in housing and work opportunities. Among their services are job centres where clients can create resumes and access the internet to apply for jobs and receive communications from employers. Options also offers mental health and addiction services.
Just a Little Help Made a Big Difference
Clients find Options in a variety of ways. They may be referred by social workers, or they might be seeking a specific service like affordable childcare. Here’s one such situation as an example of how Options’ wide range of services are put to use by those in need.
When she was introduced to Options, Nobu was a teen mother who wanted to finish high school. she found Options through their childcare program, Growing Together. She also found safe and affordable housing through Options’ subsidized housing program, which helped her, and her child, have a stable home while she studied. After high school graduation, Nobu continued her education at the University of British Columbia, where she utilized Options’ subsidized housing and university housing. Now a university graduate, Nobu is a professional engineer with a bright future and the ability to provide an enriching and supportive life for her child. Nobu’s story illustrates the wraparound care and services that Options offers, giving their clients the tools needed to meet their needs so they can focus on their life goals.
Every Effort Makes a Difference
While Options has 600 employees, they also have 250 volunteers, including a volunteer board of directors, who donated more than 30,000 hours of time in 2020. It is not uncommon for long-time volunteers to eventually become employees. Options’ volunteers and donors make the work they do possible, and a variety of volunteer and donation opportunities are available, from larger or smaller commitments.
This year marked the launch of Options’ first capital campaign, Women of Options. The $1.5 million raised will be used to build affordable housing on land purchased by Options in 2015. The campaign is named for 50 women who pledged to raise $25,000 each for the effort.
In addition, cash or in-kind donations from individuals and businesses help Options offer their services, and provide food, clothing, and other necessities. For example, donors can sponsor a family for Christmas. In 2020, Options ensured gifts were provided for children from 150 families during the holidays.
Join DP World and Help Options
DP World recently joined together with partners CERES Terminals, British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA), GCT Global Container Terminals Inc, and Western Group to support Options with a total donation of $35,000. But given the range and scope of programs Options offers and the chaotic two years we’ve all experienced, more donations, of time or money, are always needed and appreciated. Connect with Options at their website, on Facebook, on Instagram, LinkedIn, or follow them on Twitter, and learn how you can help today.