A familiar face has joined the team at Chilliwack Community Services. Diane Janzen was appointed as the organization's new executive director.
She has spent the last two weeks learning more about Community Services' 43 programs, meeting staff, clients and rekindling community connections.
"I had the feeling like I was home," she says.
Janzen already has a good foothold in this community, having served as a school board trustee for six years (2002-2008) and as a city councillor (2008-2011). She also served as a board member at Chilliwack Community Services for a few years, and has volunteered for their various programs in the past.
"Through those positions I just have had such a privilege of getting to know the community," she says. "So many communities have sort of lost a sense of community, but Chilliwack hasn't."
But even as she settles into her new role, she's learning just how deep that sense of community is.
"What I've been struck with is the commitment that the staff and volunteers have," she says. "They are committed to making Chilliwack a better place."
It's that essence that will remain at the core of CCS, as they continue to offer services to more than 10,000 people within this city. Community services has a broad mandate to serve everyone from young children and youth, their families, seniors, workers and new Canadians. They've been providing services in Chilliwack since the 1920s.
As they move forward, Janzen says they will continue to look at homelessness here, along with addiction and mental health.
"What we're going to be doing is ending off our current strategic plan, then identifying priorities for the coming year," she says. "Then over the next few months, we will be looking at engaging the community and starting new discussions."
She says any organization is "constantly reinventing" itself and adjusting their mandate to the current needs of the community.
"We are already working in the area of youth and homeless, and I think we have a lot to offer over and above what we already are offering," she adds.
Janzen replaces James Challman, who was ED of the organization for the previous five years.
To learn more about Chilliwack Community Services, their programming, or how to volunteer, visit them online.