Marlene Mydske has been vocal in improving conditions for families and seniors and that has earned her the respect of an entire community.
Mydske, the outgoing executive director of the Enderby Community Resource Centre, was presented with the city’s lifetime civic merit award Wednesday.
“I was just taken by absolute surprise,” she said.
Mydske was nominated by Abby Pavelich, an active community volunteer.
“She’s the guru of Enderby for children and the less fortunate,” said Pavelich. “She’s saved people. She’s spent hours on her own time talking to people and helping them get into a safe place.”
The decision to bestow the inaugural honour on Mydske was unanimous among city council.
“She’s been a real driving force and she has done a lot of innovative things,” said Coun. Earl Shipmaker. “When the program started, the number of children at risk in Enderby was double the provincial average and now it’s below the provincial average. That’s in a large part because of her.”
Mydske joined the resource centre 10 years ago, and one of her first steps was creating the Family Place.
“We needed a place where families could go one day a week. It would be free and there would be food,” she said. “Families coming to the program can access nursing expertise.”
A calendar was developed to provide information on early childhood education, and a committee was formed to focus on the specific needs for developing toddlers.
Concerns around food security have been addressed through the Good Food Box program and community kitchens.
Branching out, Mydske has been increasingly concerned about the number of seniors living by themselves in Enderby.
As a result, a new Sunshine Line program has been created. It sees senior volunteers phoning other volunteers to see how they are doing.
Mydske’s vision for the centre has included it being responsive and viable and she says that wouldn’t have occurred without strong public support, particularly through financial donations.
“This was a huge community effort with volunteers. They gave of themselves,” she said.
Mydske’s last day at the centre was Wednesday and she is moving to Vancouver to work with immigrant families.