By Angelica Ingram
Published June 14 2016
When Austin McGillion was in high school he had difficulty with going out in public and speaking to strangers.
Now McGillion has graduated from his first year of college and is able to speak in front of large crowds.
On June 6 McGillion shared his story to a full house at the annual general meeting for Point in Time Centre for Children Youth and Parents.
Diagnosed with autism McGillion moved to Haliburton County in 2012 from North Carolina to live with his grandmother.
He attended Haliburton Highlands Secondary School before moving to the Adult Education Training Centre (AETC) graduating last year.
“The chaos of transitioning from one classroom to the next left me feeling anxious and mentally exhausted” he said. “And I wouldn’t communicate these feelings to anyone which just made it even worse.”
While in high school McGillion did a co-op placement at the HHOA Fish Hatchery and The Highlander which turned into writing a regular column and realized he wanted to pursue a career in journalism enrolling at Loyalist College in Belleville.
Now having completed his first year of a two-year radio broadcast program McGillion is working at local radio station Canoe FM for the summer doing promotions.
“My story is one of success thanks to Point in Time and the community of Haliburton” he said. “The help I received from Point in Time has given me the confidence and coping skills I need to pursue a job and achieve my goals.”
McGillion is also writing a book about his experience as a child with autism hoping to help people dealing with the same disability.
“Please continue your valued work here in our community” said McGillion.
Held at the Haliburton Curling Club the AGM provided the opportunity to reflect on Point in Time’s past year and all the achievements of the organization’s staff and volunteers.
The meeting included presentation to individuals who have made significant contributions both to the organization and the community.
Joan Wilson who is a manager with the organization was recognized for more than 30 years of service to Point in Time which was known as Browndale when she started in 1981.
Executive director for Point in Time Marg Cox reflected on Wilson’s range of skills calling her an asset to the organization.
“It’s been a wonderful rich experience for me” said Wilson.
Outgoing board director Liz Boxall was also recognized for her six years on the board as well as spearheading an annual backpacks for kids fundraiser.
Boxall facilitated the fundraiser with the help of Jim Winn of Bell who was also recognized for his contribution.
Cox made a special presentation to 4Cs treasurer Judy MacDuff who has been with the local food bank for 22 years.
Cox referred to how MacDuff goes above and beyond the call of duty referring to her as a “pillar in this community.”
“Thank you” said MacDuff “I really enjoy what I do down there.”
Point in Time president Marie Gage presented a review of the past year and told guests she was completing her last year as president but will continue serving as past president.
Vice-president Sandy Adams is stepping into the role as president.
Cox praised the work done by Gage which included taking the organization through the first round of the accreditation process.
Cox described Gage as someone who wasn’t afraid to jump in and do the heavy lifting.
“We are grateful for her” said Cox.
The incoming board of directors for Point in Time includes: Sandy Adams as president Gwen Scriven as vice-president Ann Harrop as treasurer Joyce Pruysers as secretary Marie Gage as past president and Peter Sanderson Barry Hicks Susan MacInnes Bessie Sullivan Patti Tallman and Miranda Marles as directors. Dysart Deputy-reeve Andrea Roberts is the municipal representative.
An annual report provided at the AGM showed the organization to be in a strong financial position.
Point in Time which provides mental health services family support youth justice and more helps hundreds of families and youth through Haliburton County.
Go to haliburtonecho.ca for more photos.