MCIS is a not-for-profit organization, which means that our goal is language access not profit and we are accountable to the community not shareholders. So the question becomes: how do we get feedback about how we’re doing? We get feedback from our service providers and from our language professionals, but it doesn’t give us the full picture about the needs of the end users and communities we serve over time. We can do more surveys, but what if we make the wrong assumptions about the questions that need to be asked? That’s why we believe that the best information comes from forming long term relationships, and having meaningful conversations, with community stakeholders.
As such, we take seriously our responsibility to be in the community, seeking to understand trends in the needs and concerns of end users and service providers. One of my responsibilities is to serve on advisory councils and community working groups across the Greater Toronto Area on issues including immigration, domestic violence, and human trafficking. At these meetings, I have the opportunity to learn about new community initiatives, provide information about our own trainings and programs which might benefit them, advocate for the needs of language minorities, and get feedback on how we can more effectively work together.
And MCIS does more than just talk, we get our hands dirty! Whenever I can, I assist and consult on the initiatives of these community organizations. For example: MCIS is lending some of my time to York Region’s Take Back The Night to help them promote the event and develop their outreach capacity. It’s important to us that we are all pulling in the same direction for the people we serve! That means making sure everyone has access to the information and services they need – through language access or otherwise.
By engaging fully with these types of groups, we make sure that we are on the cutting edge of community service. This helps us understand where and how we should be dedicating resources, and it gives us a large group of people to whom we have access to ask questions, get honest answers, and form productive partnerships.