Jessica Caplan has been with Community Reach for 9 years and is President of the Southern Georgian Bay Network of Community Groups.

She said it used to be called Community Link for 15 years and has recently gained charitable status.  It has 3 areas of interest - volunteerism, transfer of patients and housing.  Jessica is the Volunteer Co-ordinator and the Centre Co-ordinator and she works to locate and place volunteers in programs of interest to them and for events and program.

There are 23 other Community Reach volunteer centres in the Province and they have all been working on a program - 6 years now - called Change the World which tries to engage youth as volunteers.  It offers interested young people a 6 week introduction to programs through 57 events across the area.

Transportation includes the Accessible Transit service which is an extension of Midland Transit, and also driving, by volunteers, of North Simcoe People, especially lower income people, to hospitals and appointments as far away as Toronto.  This service is free and operates 24/7 because some equipment, like the MRI in Barrie, operates around the clock.  They also help some clients with shopping trips and have combined the volunteer aspect with that by providing assistance.  Wheelchair accessible vehicles are driven by trained personnel, is open to anyone who has limited accessibility and can't use regular transit.  It covers Midland and Penetang and operated Monday to Friday between 9 and 5.  There is a charge of $2.50 per ride.  They have 400 registered clients and run about 400 trips and month.

Housing is a growing need as costs increase and the economy stutters.  They offer emergency financial assistance, access to provincial housing, emergency shelter and they run a housing registry.  They can direct people to food help, they partner with Ontario Works to introduce people to financial literacy and also work with youth who are still in school but need help with shelter and life skills.

Now that they have their charitable status they are organizing some fund raising efforts, including a golf tournament and the Georgiam Bay Thunder ride was part of the events of Bike Week at Little Lake Park.