Mark Creedon, retiring executive director of Catholic Family Services Peel- Dufferin, stands in front of The Honourable William G. Davis Centre. A part of Creedon’s legacy, the building brings together social services in Brampton under one roof. Photo by Michael Swan

A career spent acting out his Catholic values

By 
  • June 27, 2013

BRAMPTON, ONT.  - More than 20 years ago, Mark Creedon walked into a tough situation. The new executive director of Catholic Family Services Peel-Dufferin was looking at year-long waiting lists for services and a tiny $750,000 budget.

On his first day, Creedon received some sound advice. Therapist Sharon Mayne Devine told him the staff worked hard and if he acknowledged their effort and let them know he was proud to be their executive director, he would be a big hit.

“That’s exactly what I did,” Creedon said. “And it worked.”

After 38 years in social work, Creedon is retiring on July 4. He leaves behind a very different agency than the one he inherited in 1989.

The number of people served each year by the CFSPD in Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon and Orangeville has increased 300 per cent. Yet waiting lists are the shortest they’ve been in 20 years. The agency has more staff and a budget of about $3.6 million.

Creedon also has no doubt he leaves behind an agency that knows its Catholic identity and roots.

“There are other Catholic agencies here in Peel, but we’re the only one that provides clinical counselling from a Catholic values perspective. And we don’t just serve Catholics, we serve everybody, true to the Catholic mandate we have from Catholic Charities.”

Another important Creedon legacy is that social services in Brampton have been collected under one roof at the The Honourable William G. Davis Centre. With CFSPD as the landlord, the Davis Centre houses 17 agencies in the business of social services, clinical social work, addiction, mental health, legal services, child welfare, youth services, domestic violence and trauma. Bringing all these agencies together was a huge challenge.

“Try opening a building with no money in your bank and something ultimately — between the purchase of the building and the renovations — (that cost) $7 million. That’s a challenge,” he said.

CFSPD under Creedon is also responsible for opening The Safe Centre of Peel. Operating in the Davis Centre, it is a partnership of nine agencies, including Catholic Family Services, that is focused on aiding victims and family affected by domestic violence. The close proximity of partners makes it easier for agencies to communicate with each other and, with the permission of clients, provide a better level of care.

“It’s a lot easier to make a referral across the hall than it is across town,” said Creedon. “We truly believe that people get better service if they get the right service from the right people. That’s why we work in partnerships.”

Creedon hopes the agency will evolve to one day become a $7- million organization with more staff.

“We manage to keep reinventing ourselves — to not only provide quality services, but to keep pace with the actual demand,” said Creedon.

“One of the major reasons for the demand is because we really do good work. When people come here, they tell their friends or their family.”

His legacy is a spirit that promotes partnerships with a purpose — “that all the different organizations focus on the needs of the women, men and children to a greater extent than the needs of the organization.”
Because that’s what a Catholic social agency does.

“It really makes me proud that I was able to spend most of my professional life acting out my Catholic values. Not many people get to do that in their job,” he said.

Creedon is retiring to write fiction based on real-life events and his years of experience, to spend more time with his wife and friends, and to play more hockey.

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