CORNWALL, Ontario - When Counselling and Support Services of SD and Gopened its doors in the late 1930s the Great Depression was still front page news and things like the Second World War and space travel were unthinkable.
Fast-forward 75 years and the agency has grown from humble beginnings - it was known as the Social Service Council and came about because a group of women volunteered their time to create an agency that helped local families grappling with severe social problems sparked by a poor economy.
Today people requiring help for addictions, financial problems and domestic violence visit Counselling and Support Services of SD and G.
"Over the years we have added a lot of specialized programs," said Ray Houde, executive director, adding domestic violence cases have become a focal point for service delivery.
Not only are victims helped, but counsellors often spend time with attackers, helping them to work through their anger and guilt.
"When I started here in 1977 we didn't even talk about domestic violence," said Houde, suggesting things like support services and shelters didn't become a reality until the 1980s. "Now, instead of facing the possibility of going to jail (attackers) can complete a 16-week program here.
"They need to understand the impact of what they did on kids and family."
Senior levels of government are realizing the need for such programming. As much as 80 per cent of the funding the counselling agency receives comes via Queen's Park.
The balance of its funding comes from the local United Way, and fees it charges for services.
The agency's budget sits at about $3.2 million, a far cry from the $175,000 Houde worked with when he became the executive director in 1984.
Counselling and Support Services of SD and G has also been told it has met all the requirements to be certified by the Canadian Centre for Accreditation.
The agency has evolved over its 75 years to offer counselling services during the Second World War, as well as during the economic pitfalls that have plagued the city in the past.
Counselling and Support Services of SD and G is hosting a banquet Nov. 8 at the Cornwall Golf and Country Club to mark its 75th anniversary. Tickets to the event can be purchased at the agency's office at 26 Montreal Road.