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A Good Place to Be

When Kathy Doerksen contemplated semi-retirement, there was one thing of which she was certain: she’d have to find a stimulating way to keep herself occupied. Doerksen has always worked and although she was content to retire form a 9-5 daily routine, she wanted to find ways to keep engaged.

“I am not a knitter or a gardener and while I love to bake, you can only eat so much,” she says.

She and her husband help provide childcare for their grandchild and she is also part of the Soroptimist Club in Abbotsford. She works part-time from her home with the BC Association of Community Response Networks, which supports the development of a coordinated community response to adult abuse, neglect and self-neglect. Doerksen worked for Abbotsford Community Services and before that she developed and managed the Abbotsford Community Law office. Social justice and care for those in our society who are vulnerable or marginalized has been a passion for her entire career, having developed and managing the Abbotsford Community Law office and having worked with Abbotsford Community Services. So it seems natural that she would find a home on the board of Communitas Supportive Care Society.

“I’ve always been aware of Communitas and its work with people who have developmental disabilities,” she says. “I’ve appreciated the way that Communitas works to empower people.”

Another observation that Doerksen made was the thoughtful way in which Communitas transitioned from its founding chief executive officer, Steve Thiessen, to its current CEO, Karyn Santiago.

“I know what it’s like when an organization makes this significant transition. I thought the board at Communitas did good work in terms of discernment, they had a very good process,” she says.

It was this same thoughtful approach that informed the way in which she was invited to consider joining the Communitas board. She first met with Santiago and then had opportunity to engage with other board members, allowing her to ask questions and learn more. She was also invited to take part in the organization’s strategic planning sessions earlier this year.

“That was really good because I got to see the whole management team and the board and saw how they work together,” she says. “Sometimes there’s a real disconnect between a board and its staff but I don’t see that at Communitas.”

She joined the board in June and has appreciated the experience so far.

“There’s been lots of good conversation and I feel that there’s a strong sense of where we’re at and where we’re going,” she says. “I feel like this is a good place to be.”

Communitas Supportive Care Society will hold its Annual General Meeting at our provincial office in Abbotsford on Thursday, November 19th. Contact our office for more information.