NDGSCC evolved out of a workshop on the “lives of retired persons” which was offered as part of a seminar on the Quality of Life in NDG during the Fall of 1972. It was initially created to provide a forum for older people in NDG to discuss common concerns as well as share information. The NDG Community Council initiated the seminar and created a Conference Advisory committee which focused on the needs of the vulnerable old living in the area.
During the summer of 1974, a federally-funded Student Community Service Project was developed to survey the needs of the isolated and shut-in seniors living in NDG. Based on the results of this project, it was recommended by the Conference Advisory Committee that a local, volunteer-based information&referral/advocacy center be created to address the problems of the elderly living in the area. Operation Contact was officially launched in January 1975. It expanded the following year to include Montreal West, and eventually became an integral part of the pre-CLSC known as “Les Services Communautaires Montreal-Ouest/NDG”.
NDGSCC continued to grow by leaps and bounds over the next ten years. A dedicated team of volunteers and a slowly-expanding staff worked diligently to develop a highly-credible and respected organization that stood up for the rights of all older people, regardless of their circumstances. NDGSCC exposed gaps in public policy and in services, all the while maintaining an informal, flexible and non-bureaucratic approach. Over the years, many programs have been initiated, developed from a real understanding of the needs of the older population. In 1985, NDGSCC became financially independent from the NDG Community Council, establishing itself as a separate Centraide-funded agency. It was awarded the Agnes Higgins Award by Centraide in 1988 for its progressive approach to respite, known as the Day Away program.
In 2007, NDGSCC undertook a comprehensive, Centraide-funded strategic planning exercise. This led to the development of a greater emphasis on governance, planning and evaluation, all of which are deemed to be critical to organizational management in the current context. The 2006 census results have shown that the percentage of those aged 65+ had dropped to 14% from a high of close to 20% some fifteen years earlier. Those aged 50+ with low-income are now part of our new initiative to promote citizen engagement and participation. NDGSCC has evolved dramatically over the past four decades, but one thing has never changed – we represent the voice of those who are marginalized and unable to speak out against ageism in its many forms. Volunteers, Board Members, and staff find common ground by focusing their energy and skills on helping members of our community who are struggling to meet their daily challenges.