Jan Shumay becomes executive director of the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society as John Belfie retires April 1.

Jan Shumay becomes executive director of the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society as John Belfie retires April 1.

Familiar face takes reins at society

A smooth transition is underway for a non-profit agency that provides stability for local families.

A smooth transition is underway for a non-profit agency that provides stability for local families.

John Belfie retires April 1 after 29 years as executive director of the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society. Taking on that duty will be Jan Shumay, who has been with NOYFSS since 1981.

“Jan was here for three years before I got here,” said Belfie.

NOYFSS provides counselling and support services to individuals and families through a variety of programs

It also provides housing for vulnerable children and operates a street nurse program for people who are homeless, drug addicted or suffering from mental illness.

“We want to reflect the changing needs of the community,” said Shumay, who is currently director of community-based services.

The agency helps between 1,000 and 1,300 people annually, and while there is some government grants, community support and fundraising are also critical.

“We’re constantly looking for funding sources to keep programs going,” said Shumay.

When Belfie joined NOYFSS, there were just a handful of programs and 17 employees. There are now 60 individuals on staff.

“There’s been an opportunity to expand and grow,” said Belfie.

“There wasn’t a day that I got up and struggled to go to work. I’ve loved every day of it.”

Shumay considers Belfie a mentor.

“He’s taught me the things that are necessary to operate an agency and provide the quality level of service we have,” she said.

Belfie is confident NOYFSS has a strong future.

“There’s an incredible group of trained and experienced people here (staff) as well as the volunteer board of directors,” he said.

“Jan is totally capable. The traditions she’s been involved in will continue.”