By Brian Worrall
(CHATHAM-KENT, ON) – Congratulations go to Marsha Millar, Director of Children’s Services, on receiving the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (OMSSA). Millar received the award at the 2014 OMSSA Learning Symposium in Sudbury on June 24. OMSSA is a group of professionals working in social services in 47 municipalities across the province. The association has approximately 500 voting members. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the long-standing contribution of exceptional OMSSA members who have recently retired or who plan on retiring in the year in which the award is given.
Marsha Millar has been Chatham-Kent’s champion for children’s services since her early days as an Early Childhood Educator in 1976. Millar led the integration of city and county child care programs when Chatham-Kent was formed in 1998. She served as the Local Champion for the Ontario Early Years Centres and, as Chair of the Best Start Network, she promoted the integration of early learning and child care services. Best Start Hubs were placed in neighbourhoods across Chatham-Kent.
Among her other accomplishments, Millar developed the STEP Ahead Program, a twelve week placement for volunteers at municipal child care centres for Ontario Works participants. She established the A.L.L. For Kids program (Activities, Lessons and Leisure) that helped with the cost of providing recreation for children. She also developed strong partnerships between municipal culture and recreation programs and the YMCA and the WISH Centre.
Lucy Brown, General Manager of Health and Family Services, said of Millar that “Her focus on achieving results, combined with her warm personality and disarming approach has been instrumental in creating an expansive network of collaborative relationships and strong partnerships with community organizations. Throughout her career in the early learning field, Marsha has always remained focussed on the big picture – better outcomes for families and children.”