Sylvia Haines

Sylvia Haines has lived outside Westminster since the early 1980’s. Sylvia majored in American Civilization at Goucher College.


SAM PIAZZA: This is Sam Piazza, and I’m interviewing Sylvia Canon-Haines or November 15, 2008.

Good morning, Ms. Haines.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Good morning, Sam.

SAM PIAZZA: Um, ma’am, where are– where do you live?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I live outside Westminster.

SAM PIAZZA: And how long have you lived there?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: In that house, um, about a year. In Westminster, I lived in the, right outside the city of Westminster since the early ’80s.

SAM PIAZZA: And where were you born?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I was born in Mississippi.

SAM PIAZZA: And how long did you stay there?


SAM PIAZZA: Well, then, where’d you go after that?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Washington, DC is where I grew up.

SAM PIAZZA: And, uh, tell me a little bit about your education. Where’d you, where did you go to high school?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I went to high school in Washington, and I went to college at, uh, Goucher in Towson.

SAM PIAZZA: And what, uh, what was your major at Goucher?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I majored in American Civilization.

SAM PIAZZA: And, and you’re going to celebrate your 50th anniversary? Or you just did this year.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Did this year. 50 years ago.

SAM PIAZZA: Now, um, when did you move to Carroll County?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: In 1971 we came to Carroll County.

SAM PIAZZA: And it was you and your husband?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: My husband, me, and two children.

SAM PIAZZA: Two children. And were your children educated in Carroll County?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yes, they were.

SAM PIAZZA: And where’d they go to school?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: They went always to school in Westminster. They came, they went to our district schools, because I worked in Westminster.

SAM PIAZZA: Now when you came here in 1971, where did you start working?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I worked for Carroll County Department of Social Services.

SAM PIAZZA: And why that, why would you go to Social Services based on the major that you had in college? It seems like a, a change in careers.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Well, I worked for Baltimore County Social Services, and I just transferred within the state system to Carroll County.

SAM PIAZZA: What got, what got you into the social service profession?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I just wanted to work with people.

SAM PIAZZA: And that was a good way of doing it?


SAM PIAZZA: How long did you work for Baltimore County Social Services?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Mm, on and off since 1965, I guess.

SAM PIAZZA: And then when you came to Carroll County in 1971, you’d, you would start working for, for the Carroll County Social Service Department?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Mm-hmm. That’s right.

SAM PIAZZA: Um, and what did you do for them when you started in 1971?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Uh, 1971 in Carroll County, I was, um, an emergency services case manager.

SAM PIAZZA: And what did an emergency services case manager do back then?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Case managed, uh, people with problems such as being evicted, no food. Helping them solve their problems, emergency problems.

SAM PIAZZA: How long did you, uh, stay with the Carroll County Department of Social Services?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I was with, uh, Carroll County Department of Social Services ’til, oh, I guess 1989, maybe.

SAM PIAZZA: And what, where’d you go after that?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: To human services programs.

SAM PIAZZA: Is that when you started, um, human, the human services programs?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: HSP started in 1987. I worked with HSP while I was a state employee for a couple years. And then I resigned from the state and went to work altogether for HSP.

SAM PIAZZA: And that was in 1989?


SAM PIAZZA: Um, what made you create HSP? What, what was the need in Carroll County that you thought was not present back then?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Well, it, the need has always been present. We, um, got an RFP, request for proposal, from the state of Maryland for, um, money to run a homeless shelter for women and children. And at that time, I was running Carroll County DSS’s Emergency Services Center.

So we responded to the proposal request, and the state awarded us a grant to establish a shelter for homeless women and children. And we did.

SAM PIAZZA: Was that, was that the first shelter in Carroll County?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yes, it was. Um, after a while, the state realized they were contracting with themselves, and, uh, that wouldn’t do. So we all sat down together with the county and the state and DSS, and, uh, the consensus became, we should start a nonprofit. So HSP was born.

SAM PIAZZA: And you, you worked with who to actually found it? It was you– you were the executive director?


SAM PIAZZA: And who else was involved in, in that at that time?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Oh, Lowell Haines. Um, from the county it was Steve Powell. Uh, from the state, Linda Heisner was, um, director of women’s services. We all worked together. I did the, the grunt work of, of, uh, completing the documents and writing the bylaws. And that called a, a board of directors. And please don’t ask me who was on the original board.

SAM PIAZZA: No, I won’t ask you that.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I don’t remember. But, uh, some good people came together.

SAM PIAZZA: Where were you located at first?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: At first, when we started out, we were at 532 Baltimore Boulevard, because that’s where Social Services was. And then Social Services moved to 10 Distillery Drive in March of ’86, I think. Maybe ’87. Um, and we moved with them.

Uh, we were there in borrowed space for a time. And then, uh, the county, we asked the county to give us space, and they did. They gave us space on the ground floor. And that’s where HSP is today.

SAM PIAZZA: Now at first when you– how much space were you occupy? Was it one room at first?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Oh, it was are a couple rooms, uh, at first in DSS. I think maybe we had first two rooms and then three rooms, and then, um, when we moved to Distillery Drive we ha a bigger space. But, um, as we took on more work, we got more employees and needed more room. So we ended up on the ground floor with, uh, enough space for all the employees and to deal with the public.

SAM PIAZZA: Now how long were you the executive director of, of HSP?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: From 1987, when it started, until 2001, when I retired.

SAM PIAZZA: Let’s talk about the, the growth of HSP over that time period. Because it started as a fairly small organization.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yes, it did. We were, there were, um, oh, let’s see. How many? There were about five of us working together. We were various, uh, employees. One of us was a county employee stationed at DSS. I was a state employee stationed at DSS and HSP. And then, uh, we had money to pay, I think, three hourly employees to run the women’s shelter. And they were HSP employees then.

SAM PIAZZA: Was it just one, uh, homeless shelter when you first started?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: When we started, we, our first program was, um, the shelter for homeless women and their children. We also ran the, uh, for the state, Maryland Energy Assistance Program.

SAM PIAZZA: And what was that? Can you explain that program?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Mm-hmm. That provides financial assistance to low income families and individuals for winter heating costs and, um, utility costs.

SAM PIAZZA: Where, where was the financial support coming from at the beginning?


SAM PIAZZA: Yes, ma’am.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Um, well, from the state. The, um, state gave us a grant. And, uh, Department of Social Services received our money and paid our bills. So it was the state sending state employees money, and the state employees sending it out, uh, on our behalf.

SAM PIAZZA: But over time, of course, this grew to be a large organization. Can you explain how it grew and what other, uh, responsibilities HSP took over?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Sure. Um, my position with the state was paid for by the county. The county government paid the state the money they paid me, and the state collected an administrative fee for that. Um, after a while, we convinced the state to– I mean, excuse me, the county to give the money directly to HSP and they would save some money.

And they bought that. So they gave us money, um, for my salary, for the, the, uh, person that was a county employee. They gave that money to us. And, uh, we got the grant from, uh, to run the women’s shelter.

In the meantime, the state put out other RFPs, and we responded to those as well. We had a, um, homeless men’s shelter. Uh, the county was very helpful to us. It was, um, back in the days when, uh, Jeff Griffith was commissioner. And, uh, he helped us with community meetings in the south Carroll area, which was his home area.

SAM PIAZZA: So what that, about what time are we talking about now?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I guess that must have been maybe in the early ’80s, Sam.

SAM PIAZZA: Now, what, what was the need back than for a men’s shelter?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: We had a lot of homeless, um, men that, um, didn’t have enough really money to rent any place. Rents are pretty high in Carroll County and the vacancy rate is very low. So it was hard to find a place to live. We had, uh, we used to call them the bridge club, the, the group of guys that lived under the bridge. And we were, uh, always concerned about them, that they, you know, in bad weather there was no place for them to go.

And lots of times, uh, these folks have problems with alcohol abuse, and so forth, so. And mental problems. So sometimes it’s hard to get anybody to want to rent to them. Um, so they’re homeless. And we started out small in south Carroll, um, with, um, the Antlitzes.

They had a, um, a– I forgot what you call it back then. Now we would call it an SRO, single room occupancy, home. But that’s not what we called it then. I don’t remember what it was. But they, I think we had 13 beds.

And we provided meals and, um, case management and, uh, support for those 13 guys. Um, it was always full. Um, lots of times, Mr. and Mrs. Antlitz would let them stay on after their time in shelter was over. It was a time-limited shelter. They could stay 12 weeks.

SAM PIAZZA: Mostly in the winter time?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yeah. Uh, well, that goes all year round. Cold Weather, which came later, operates in the winter time and is temperature triggered. Um, operates from November to March, basically. So it’s a, a combination of date and time during the cold months.

SAM PIAZZA: I didn’t mean to jump ahead, but– so you had, you had the women’s shelter and then the men’s shelter.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: And we got a shelter from, for intact families, that is, mom, dad and the kids are sheltered all together.

SAM PIAZZA: What was the name of that? Was there a name for it?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Carroll County Shelter for Homeless Families.

SAM PIAZZA: Homeless families. And when did that– what time did that, about what time did that start to operate?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Mm. That was after the men’s shelter, so it was early ’80s, but I, I don’t remember the date exactly.

SAM PIAZZA: And, uh, where was that located first?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: At, uh– when it first started, it was in an apartment in town here on Main Street. Um, it, it now is not there. It’s, uh, in a building that HSP owns on Green Street. Um, the county commissioners gave us space for a women’s shelter, an expanded women’s shelter. Because it, women’s shelter, at its original site, had five bedrooms. And they were always full, and we always had a waiting list a mile long.

So they gave us space in the distillery building on the top floor. And their employees helped us configure that. It was a great big empty room, um, and they helped us with the plan and the plumbing and the walls and the painting and the installation of a kitchen and bathrooms and so forth.

SAM PIAZZA: So they donated all these services to HSP?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Um, really– I mean, we served their citizens, so it’s the government serving its citizens. Um, so we moved the women’s shelter from Green Street to, um, Distillery Drive, which freed up that space for intact families. And that’s–


–where they are. I’m sorry.

SAM PIAZZA: Um, the, um– and then you, but you continued to produce and create other programs.


SAM PIAZZA: And can you tell me about some of the other programs?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Our other, uh, some of our other programs are the, um, family support center. Uh, that serves moms, young moms and their children up to age four. It, um, teaches them– it’s a developmental daycare. It, uh, teaches moms about the milestones of development, when you could expect your child to sit up and, um, how to be constructive about all that.

It also provides some training for the moms in not only parenting skills, taking care of the baby, giving the baby a bath, uh, but getting their GED if they don’t have it, some computer learning. There’s some counseling. They bring in outside people to, as resources for various subjects.

Um, then we added Dads Works, which teaches young dads, whether married to mom or not. Usually they’re parents of the children that are served by the family support center, but not always. It teaches young dads how to be a father.

SAM PIAZZA: What was– why, why did you perceive the need for these parenting skills? What made you say that we really need a program for both moms and dads?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Well, there are state– not the state, excuse me. The Friends of the Family, which is a nonprofit that has a lot of state and federal money, is, um, a statewide organization that likes a family support center in each local jurisdiction. They put out an RFP to provide these needed services in Carroll County, and we got the grant. Um, they’re still the funding source, I’m sure.

Um, the Family Support Center seeks other grants to augment their services. Um, it’s, I think a general fact that young people, young parents, don’t always know what’s normal for a baby. You’re not born knowing how to be a, a mom. And many of them are young themselves. That, uh, so they, they’re really trying to provide the skills that they need.

SAM PIAZZA: Would you get referrals from like school systems and, uh–

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yes. The, uh, court systems sometimes refer young dads. Um, the schools provide, uh, referrals. You can be a self referral if you want to. Um, some of our, uh, participants bring their friends. Because they, they have a lot of fun. They do fun things too.

SAM PIAZZA: Did, did you also do any type of drug rehabilitation programs?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: They do drug testing now in, um, the men’s shelter, I know. I don’t know whether they do it in other shelters now or not, but I know they do in the men’s shelter.

SAM PIAZZA: Is that court-ordered drug testing? Is it–



SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: That’s, that’s all. We’ve learned the hard way that that was a problem with homeless people. Particularly men frequently have substance abuse problems. And we, uh, prefer that they get the treatment from an appropriate place. We’re not a drug treatment facility.

If they will get the treatment, we’re glad to help them with their post-treatment plan and to integrate back into society, help them get a job and connected to other services they might need.

SAM PIAZZA: Would HSP, would they be an advocate, or were they, are they an advocate for, uh, the mothers and fathers in the court system in some way?


SAM PIAZZA: And then how, how– how’s that? What would they do as– as to that?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: If that’s what they need, that’s what they get. There, um, there isn’t any canned plan, Sam. It’s, it’s an individual tailored plan according to what’s needed. There’s, um– each participant has, uh, benefit of a case manager, who talks one to one with, if they, if they’re, both parents are involved. Both parents.

And they make out a needs assessment, a plan to get those needs met. And then they reevaluate that plan, mark their progress. And they decide on goals and so forth together. Because it’s their life.

SAM PIAZZA: Sounds to me it’s almost a, it’s similar to a, a social services, private social services department.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Kind of, yeah. Kind of like that.

SAM PIAZZA: Because they have case managers and they follow their, uh, their patients or their customers through, uh–

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Kind of like. Kind of this– we’re all in the same business.

SAM PIAZZA: Now you said the cold shelter was the other one. Uh–


SAM PIAZZA: Cold Weather Shelter, I’m sorry.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: That provides a warm place to be overnight.

SAM PIAZZA: How– when did that start?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Oh, back in the ’80s. That was an exciting time. We got, we– a lot of things happened during that time. They, um– we didn’t want anybody to freeze to death in Carroll County. And we, we had to find a place for folks who– to get in off the street. Not everybody had such a place, so. A warm place to stay, um, a meal. Dinner, breakfast.

And in really inclement weather, like if it’s snowing, they can stay during the day too. There’s, there’s not much program there, not many requirements. Uh, behave in a socially acceptable way with other people that are there. Um, and just– it’s a warm place to stay overnight. Uh, we have a place for women, a place for men. Um, basically, it’s dormitory style. They have cots that they get out at night and put away during the day.

SAM PIAZZA: Is there a place for families also?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: There would be, but we would divide them, men and women. If there are children– uh, I don’t think we’ve ever had a child in our, in the Cold Weather Shelter. Not while I was active at HSP. But we would make some plan for them.

SAM PIAZZA: Well, it seems like you were very successful getting all these programs at HSP. Were there are other organizations trying to get the same programs–


SAM PIAZZA: –at the time?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: No. Not, not the same programs. Because, um, I don’t know if you know how special it is in Carroll County. The nonprofit community really is very good at networking. They will hold hands and work on the big picture. If, um, somebody has a specialty, and I have a piece of that solution, I supply that piece. And they’re not competitive at all. They’re, they’re just absolutely good at networking and working together, uh, to get the needs met.

SAM PIAZZA: Was HSP the beginning of the nonprofit community in Carroll County back in the, back in the ’80s?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Not really. No. There’s always been a lot of little nonprofits. But it was an exciting time where, um, Food Sunday was young, and they were in a space that was legally HSP space. Um, HSP was given a walk-in refrigerator, and we, we didn’t need it, so of course, Food Sunday did, so they got the refrigerator.

It’s that kind of thing, where if I have something you need– HSP was frequently heir to a lot of used desks, and any nonprofit that needed a desk would always come to HSP. And if we had it, they could have it. And that’s, that’s just the model that has been around so many times.

SAM PIAZZA: Who act– I mean, does this, this model just, uh, rise from the ashes, so to speak? Or was it a–

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: It just happened.

SAM PIAZZA: It just happened. So it wasn’t some formal creation of, uh–


SAM PIAZZA: Is there a council in Carroll County of nonprofits that meet?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: There is a, um, council of social agencies. And that’s had, that’s had, um, oh, lots of manifestations in and out over the years. It’s been, um, waxed and waned, as, as they say. Right now it’s very active, and they meet once a month. They, um, they talk about what’s happening with their own organization, their own agency. If there’s an event, they’re liable to support each other. If there’s a need, they state the need. If they have a job, they state the job. Um, whatever.

SAM PIAZZA: And each of the nonprofits, or many of the nonprofits, have a representative at the council?


SAM PIAZZA: Including HSP?


SAM PIAZZA: Now they’re all, when– there’s a building now, can you talk about the, it was a building created or built or, for all these nonprofits.


SAM PIAZZA: Can you speak about, a little bit of how that came about?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: The nonprofit center is one of two in the United States. And that’s right here in little old Westminster. We have one of two. And I think that came about through some, um, foundation money that was connected to one of the cable TV providers. I’m not, I’m not real sure about that. That was sort of during the time when I was not in Carroll County.

Um, but they have this wonderful building that has offices for new, small nonprofits. Um, I can’t remember how many square feet, but a generous room. They provide support services, such as, uh, phones. I think the nonprofits are there basically rent-free. They pay their own phone bills. Um, there’s copiers. There’s a, um, access to the, uh, foundation library– [COUGHS] Excuse me. –where they might, uh, find funding.

SAM PIAZZA: How long has that been around? Do you know?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I’m sorry. I can’t tell you when it opened.

SAM PIAZZA: Oh, OK. But HSP’s not in that building?


SAM PIAZZA: Because that’s much lar–


SAM PIAZZA: Too big for that.


SAM PIAZZA: Because they have about what, about 100 employees now?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: HSP, yes, has about, just under 100, I think.

SAM PIAZZA: Did you– during your time at HSP, did you see the needs of the community change in any way as, uh, as the years went by?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Well, I think, um, the needs have always been the same, Sam. It’s still people we’re dealing with. But the, um, tools to meet those needs changed. And, uh, society took a different interest. It, uh, homeless became, uh, the popular issue back in the ’80s. Read a lot about it, heard a lot about it. They made a lot of noise about it. And I think that’s why the state got together some money to offer for the proposals.

Uh, it’s not necessarily homeless is the big issue anymore. Um, for a while it was, um, teenage pregnancy. I think during that era the family support centers came into being. Uh, right now, I think it’s workforce development. Because that’s where HSP’s new development is happening now. They have a new workforce development training program in conjunction with DSS.

SAM PIAZZA: Well, tell me a little bit about that. When you say workforce development program, there are actually, people train people on computers, for example, and other, uh, career paths that they can take.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Right. And how to interview, and supporting job interviews. Um, increasing their skill set. Um, you know, job skills. They’re trying to work with them people referred by Department of Social Services.

SAM PIAZZA: Assisting people in actually getting jobs in the community?


SAM PIAZZA: How successful has that been?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I don’t know. It’s a fairly new program, and I’m sorry, I’m a little bit out of the loop now about, about the day-to-day things. Um, I think it’s, it’s a needed program. You look at the want ads and it won’t take you along today. Uh, the– I, I, uh, remember a time when the want ads were just pages and pages. Now I don’t think it’s one page. So the, uh, employers can be very choosy about who they hire.

SAM PIAZZA: This is a way they give some people a heads– a leg up on getting those jobs.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yes. If they don’t have a high school diploma, for instance, they will help them get a GED. And perhaps there’s some college courses involved. I really don’t know the full particulars of it, but that’s basically the outline of it.

SAM PIAZZA: Even though you retired, you still, you still volunteer for HSP on occasion.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yeah. I like to do it in the background.

SAM PIAZZA: And what do you do for them now that you no longer have the responsibility of running the organization?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Well, I did some data entry this week.

SAM PIAZZA: Oh, you did? Ha. But you enjoy doing that?


SAM PIAZZA: Um, just changing course a little bit. You’ve been in Carroll County all these years. Have you seen changes in Carroll County that, uh, that you think are for the good and for the bad, or–

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: A lot of change. A lot more people now than, uh, when, when I came. A lot more traffic. Now, part of the good, the good change, uh, there’s a lot more places to rent. I remember the time when I used to, my eyes would light up and I’d screech my brakes if I saw a “for rent” sign because they were so rare. But now, it’s not that way now. You’ll see a lot “for rent” signs. And rents are high. When, uh, I first came, you could sometimes find rent for $200 or $375 and so forth, but now–

SAM PIAZZA: It’s probably $1,000 now.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yeah. That’s right. Um, HUD came, and that helped with that situation a lot. They don’t build many new apartments, but they built some. Um, while I’ve been here, they’ve built, um, the Willow Woodbrook, or whatever they are, across from the high school. I think they built Middlebrooke and some of the high-dollar ones out of New Windsor Road.

And if you, uh, you’ve heard of trickle-down economics, well this is trickle-down housing. The folks who can afford them live there, freeing up the less expensive apartments for people with less money. HUD, of course, has been wonderfully helpful to, uh, supplement, you know, the money that low-income people have for rent.

SAM PIAZZA: Other than the housing issue, and, uh, of course, the population has increased dramatically since the early ’70s. Have you seen any other changes that you’d like to talk about?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Well, the community college has come. And that’s made that a lot more accessible. It used to be Catonsville Community College. But when I first came, poor people didn’t have any way to get there. And therefore, it was out of reach. Um, but with a community college right here in town, practically, it’s within everybody’s reach.

SAM PIAZZA: And most people’s affordability.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yeah. And I just can’t believe they wouldn’t, uh, work out some plan for somebody who desperately wanted to go there, whether they had any money or not.

SAM PIAZZA: Would, would HSP actually pay for people to go to, to college?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: They have done that. They, um– not necessarily to go to college, but to take some courses. Um, generally it’s directed for a particular job, and it’s a requirement, but they have, they’ve been known to do that. Yeah.

SAM PIAZZA: Now. I might have asked this. But HSP, do they receive any private financing, or is it all governmental financing?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: They don’t take anybody’s money, Sam.

SAM PIAZZA: Oh, they don’t take anybody’s at all?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: No. They get federal money, state money, county money, and, um, they get United Way money. Um, they have some private financing. They take donations of money and stuff. They have, um, a place they call Second Chances, which accepts donations of clothing and household goods. Couches, beds. Dressers are particular treasures. Um, chairs. And recycle those within the community at no cost to the people who receive them.

They, um, like to favor graduates of the shelters because they have nothing. Somehow homeless people are always separated from their stuff. They, uh, they have clothing but no beds. So when you go out to establish a house, you have to have furniture. Beds and dressers and tables and what. Dishes. So that tries to supply those.

SAM PIAZZA: Let’s talk about the acknowledgement of your, all your hard work over these years, the Sylvia Canon award. Can you tell us how that came, came to be?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: That, uh, that’s, that’s just, um, a terrific honor for me, that the Community Services Council wanted to, um, choose a person each year who, um– they call it the Humanitarian Award. Well, I certainly don’t think of myself as a humanitarian. That’s their words. But that’s– I just can’t tell you what a profound honor that is for me.

SAM PIAZZA: Oh, I’m sure it is. And what’s the criteria for the person who gets this award?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Well, they need to be nominated, usually by their peers. And, uh, they just have to do what they do real well. And they’ve had, uh, various winners from, uh– Ron Schroers from the City Department of Rec and Parks has won it. Karen Blandford from the City Department of Housing and Community Development has won it. Um, Karen Feroli from Hospice has won it. Laura Rhodes from, um, Granite House has, has won it. Um, there– I can’t even name all of them.

SAM PIAZZA: How long has it been around? Since your retirement?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Mm-hmm. 2001, I think, was the first year.

SAM PIAZZA: Do you participate in any aspect of that?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: If I’m in town, I go to the awards ceremony. They usually ask me to say something.

SAM PIAZZA: Did you go to the last one?

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: I did. They don’t tell me in advance who’s winning, though.

SAM PIAZZA: Oh, so it’s, it’s actually like, like the Academy Awards, so to speak, that you find out when you’re there.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Yeah. I don’t participate in the choosing.


Well, thank you for coming in today.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Well, my pleasure.

SAM PIAZZA: Nice speaking to you.

SYLVIA CANON-HAINES: Nice speaking to you. Thank you.

SAM PIAZZA: Thank you.