Executive Director Scott Manjak (left), board chair Mary Malerby and board member Barbara Keith celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Family Resource Centre after the annual general meeting Sept. 11. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Family Resource Centre marks 25 years of service in Vernon

Programming evolved over the years to fit needs of community

It has evolved over the course of its quarter-decade life, but they remain committed to building a resilient community through empowering families.

The Family Resource Centre is celebrating 25 years of service in the community this year.

Scott Manjak, executive director of the non-profit Centre for the past three years, said that the 21 personnel staff and the eight-member board of directors remain as committed to the cause as the original team, but have continually evolved with the changing needs of the community.

“The incubation was they wanted to create a place where families can get resources and support,” Manjak said. “Over the years, it has gradually evolved from that. It’s really evolved in the community as a mental health counselling agency and we provide very specific counselling for men and women who are victims of sexual abuse.”

Mary Malerby, board chair, said she has seen how the Family Resource Centre has evolved and expanded in her 11 years with the Centre.

“I think we’re opening up in that we just started a program for LGBTQ,” Malerby said.

According to the 2017-2018 annual report, the FRC was one of the lead agencies in the development of the LGBTQ/S2 Youth Group in Vernon and have formed partnerships with other agencies and School District 22 to accommodate that service.

Other programs through the Centre include the Community Counselling Program, Sexually Abused Male Program, Women Victims of Violence — Sexual Abuse and Trauma Recovery for Women, Postpartum Depression Counselling Program, Children’s Services — Sexual Abuse Intervention Program, Children’s Services — Therapeutic Counsellor Program, Children’s Services — Family Support Worker Program, Community Services Project Initiatives, Volunteer Services — Community Support Volunteer Training, Community Support Volunteer Program, Senior Support Volunteer Program and more.

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Malerby and Manjak hope to see the number of available programs and services grow to fit the community.

“I think our community has a lot of need. I would like to see the Family Resource Centre open up more programs to allow that to happen,” Malerby said.

Manjak agreed.

“The agency has to be receptive and responsive enough to adapt to the needs on the ground,” he said. “The community’s need for our services is increasing exponentially month by month.”

About four years ago, the Centre saw approximately 45 people per month. Manjak said that number is now closer to 65.

“There is a big need in the community,” Manjak said, adding that the FRC helps about 700 people per year.

Manjak said that there is no difference in service between the Family Resource Centre and other organizations, either governmental or private in nature and that all counsellors are master’s prepared.

“Our policy is we will never turn someone away based on lack of income or too much income,” Manjak said. “We provide a space for all that’s free from judgment.”

However, Manjak said the Centre deals primarily with mental health, sexual abuse and children’s services and doesn’t provide counselling for addiction or gambling.

“If we can’t help them, we make every effort to ensure everyone is directed to (someone) that can help them,” Manjak said.

And it’s a service that wouldn’t be possible without community support.

“The Family Resource Centre really values our partnerships in the community. We all work together,” Manjak said. “The board and myself are very grateful to our funders. It truly is a partnership.”

Manjak said the term non-profit doesn’t fully encapsulate all that the Centre does. A more accurate description, he said, is social profit.

“We increase quantity and quality of life in the community,” Manjak said. “We want to provide a place where we not only build a resilient community but build hope. That’s a social profit.

“We all work together to make Vernon and the North Okanagan a better place to live.”

For more information about the Family Resource Centre, located on the second floor of the People Place, visit vernonfrc.ca.


@VernonNews
parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

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