A well-respected North Okanagan advocate for youth and marginalized people for more than two decades is the new executive director of Vernon’s Upper Room Mission.
Nicole Makohoniuk has been named to the position.
“I am big on supporting people and accepting people, no matter where they are at,” said Makohoniuk. “I’m going to listen. I am here to listen and support the staff and clients to meet the needs of the community and individuals. I am not going to be the type of person who sits in the office; I’ve never been that way. I am going to get to know the guests. I am going to get to know the amazing community around the mission, including the businesses.”
Makohoniuk brings to the URM an associate’s degree in not-for-profit management from BCIT, 29 years of experience as an early childhood educator, 12 years of experience as both president and vice president of the District Parent Advisory Council and Parent Advisory Councils, plus two-and-a-half years experience as the program coordinator with Teen Junction Youth Centre.
“Nicole’s work with Teen Junction was incredible. That kind of experience is invaluable. Nicole’s past experiences, passion, and love for the community will be a real asset to the Upper Room Mission,” said Sandra Simao, URM board chairperson.
Makohoniuk will be providing hands-on leadership as she works to support the goals and ideals of the Upper Room Mission.
“This is my dream job,” she said. “The Upper Room Mission ties in my faith, which is important to me, along with giving back and supporting people where they are at. We have to build a community and we need community support. We need support from business, other social services and from the individuals, including the church community. We need to bring everyone together. That is my focus.”
Since 1980, the Upper Room Mission Society has provided respite to whoever is experiencing poverty or scarcity of food or lack of community.