Caribbean African Canadian Social Services here to make a difference


By Lincoln DePradine

Floydeen Charles-Fridal

In the years since the Caribbean African Canadian Social Services (CAFCAN) – formerly the social services arm of the Jamaican Canadian Association – was incorporated in 2015, it has “moved up and is continuing to move up’’, according to Floydeen Charles-Fridal.

CAFCAN, from having a meagre amount of cash, is now approaching $4 million, Charles-Fridal said at a May 4 event of the organization, where she serves as executive director.

The Scarborough event, which included dinner and entertainment, was titled, “Minding Our Minds: INDABA KARAMU’’. It was held as part of the observance of Canadian Mental Health Week.

CAFCAN says its commemorative activities were designed to share “evidence-based culturally centred Africentric mental health practices with caregivers, service providers and mental health practitioners’’, with a goal to “better support the mental health needs of African-Caribbean Canadians’’.

As part of its programs, CAFCAN offers mental health counselling in a stated mission of providing services “that enrich the lives of the African, Caribbean and Diaspora communities in the Greater Toronto Area’’.

In order to be “effective’’ and “impactful’’, CAFCAN only needs people “with the right stuff, doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right purpose, on time’’, Charles-Fridal said to the audience that included representatives from Toronto and other parts of Canada.

She expressed CAFCAN’s interest in forming greater partnerships and in striving “to be the agency that’s providing evidence-based African-centred work; not looking at Eurocentric models or the research, but doing it for ourselves, leading it for ourselves, understanding it for ourselves’’.

“We’re here to make a difference, to be leaders, to fight and continue to fight, and to agitate, and sometimes say, no. Because sometimes when people offer you things, even for free, it doesn’t mean you should take it,’’ Charles-Fridal said.