Chair’s Message

September 2022

The past year has been a time for renewal at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre, following the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.  While we’re not yet out of the woods, with sporadic outbreaks of Covid-19 variants, we’re learning to adapt to these situations.  This is through the tremendous leadership of our CEO, Laurie Cerqueti, our senior management team and the staff and volunteers who care for the Centre’s residents.  Their dedication and hard work are greatly appreciated by members of the Board, and I’m sure by the residents, their family members and friends.  We also have amazing support from members of Winnipeg’s Jewish community, as well as the larger community.

There have been times, in the recent past, when residents spent extended time in their rooms due to the pandemic, but these are now the exception.  It’s been encouraging to see family members and residents visiting together in the Atrium, enjoying the warm weather together outside, and seeing residents listening to music or playing bingo together.  Residents, for the most part, are now eating together in their dining rooms.  They’re also able to participate in events like the very successful Simkin Stroll. 

On a sad note, on October 27, 2021 we unveiled a memorial to the residents who passed away due to Covid-19.  The monument, along with the engraving, were donated by Larsen’s Memorials.  It can be found adjacent to the Centre’s front entrance.

One result of the pandemic was awarding two Shem Tov awards to worthy recipients for 2020 and 2021.  They went to Brenda Greenberg, a long-time and dedicated volunteer involved in many facets of the Centre and to Selma Gilfix, the current Past-Chair of the Board, a ten-year Board member, and an avid Centre volunteer.

From the Board’s perspective, all of our meetings in 2020 and 2021 were held virtually, and almost all committee activities were put on hold during this time.  We just recently began having our Board meetings in our Boardroom, which, until a few months ago, was packed wall-to-wall with medical and other supplies.  It was great to be able to actually meet with Board members in person.  Our committees are also beginning to meet again this fall.

In addition to the ongoing activities of the Board, we are currently producing a report to help us chart future directions for the Centre.  It is called Best Practices in Long-Term Care: a Holistic and Integrated Approach, and it is being written by Rudy P. Friesen.  The work of the writer was overseen by a committee comprised of members of the Centre’s Board along with the Simkin Centre Foundation Board, chaired by Don Aronovitch in conjunction with Karen Leggat, along with a committee of nine Board members and Centre managers.  We are also undertaking a Board self-evaluation to gauge, in part, how Board members feel about their involvement on the Board, and it’s composition and roles.

As I complete my term as the Chair of the Board of the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre, I want to thank the members of the Board for their support, commitment and tenacity during this challenging period.  I’m thankful to Laurie Cerqueti and all of the managers, staff and volunteers for their never ending commitment to providing our residents with the best care possible.  Finally, I want to acknowledge, with gratitude, our funders and benefactors; the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, the Asper Foundation, the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre Foundation, as well as the generous contributions we’ve received from the community, for their ongoing support.  It has been an honour for me, both as a member of the Jewish community, as well as the son of a resident of the Centre, to serve in this capacity.

Sincerely,

Gerry Kaplan, MSW