LRCA Executive Director named volunteer of the month

Oct 2019: Volunteer of the Month: Christy Wood, Ladysmith CRN*

Last year, Christy Wood became both the executive director of the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA) and the coordinator of the Ladysmith community response network. Through LRCA, she works with all populations in the community, including seniors. She has also has been based on the central Island for 16 years, and a proud mom of four. We are very pleased to be profiling Christy as our volunteer of the month.

A Tri-City Kid, Island Bound

Christy grew up in Port Coquitlam and went to school in Coquitlam. She pursued post secondary education in Toronto, and studied criminology. After that, she decided to come home and do a post baccalaureate at SFU in social policy and research development.

“I’ve always worked on the Island,” she says. “I was a social planner for the Cowichan region in my previous role, and have also done a lot in community development and research. Community safety is a specialty.”

Navigating a Challenging System Helped Define a Career Path

Christy’s personal experience with the province’s social support system informed what she wanted to do after university. “I was raised by a single mom, who is also deaf,” Christy adds. “I’m also a former foster kid. I noticed a lot of challenges in the system because I had to navigate them myself. This really drove my decision to do the type of schooling I did. I’ve witnessed situations where people are disadvantaged, and how tricky the system is to work with.”

Chance Meeting with BC CRN

Christy met Jane Osborne, BC CRN Regional Mentor for the Central Island, by chance at a committee meeting.

“I first met Christy at an age-friendly committee meeting in Ladysmith. This would have been before she became the executive director of the Ladysmith Community Resources Association,” says Jane. “We were both members of a cross-sectoral team2 brought together to talk about how we address some of the transportation needs of Ladysmith to make it more age-friendly. We worked together on a project to assess the walkability of the town. The survey was conducted by Social Planning Cowichan where Christy worked.”

Overseeing Programs for All Ages

As the executive director of the LCRA, Christy oversees programs that serve the age spectrum. “We provide service for people ages zero to 100: early years programs, parenting support services, pregnancy programs, community food programs, cold weather programs,” says Christy. “For seniors, we offer monthly information sessions on aging, weekly coffee drop-ins, shopping support, and facilitate a senior peer support group.

We hold many service agreements with a variety of government Ministries and funders, so we’re fortunate to also be able to provide free counselling for seniors, restorative justice programs, and victim services. Our seniors’ office can help with filling out government forms, and navigating the government online system. We do a lot: if you walk in here, we will be able to help with some aspect of your life.”

Summers are for Inter-generational Work

“Every summer, we try to do inter-generational work,” she says. “Last summer, we had the Students Helping Seniors program. This program was funded by BC CRN. We were able to connect local students to seniors who needed yard work, housework, or snow shovelling done. The amazing thing is several students continued their relationships with the seniors beyond the summer program. Many of them now volunteer to help the seniors.”

In addition to payment, students build their resumes and gain valuable job experience – they were required to go through interviews, expected to show up on time, and learned how to communicate with customers.

Why Christy is our Exceptional Volunteer of the Month

“Christy has a wealth of experience in community development, restorative justice, and social planning that serve both the LRCA and BC CRN extremely well,” says Jane. “She is able to take on complexity, including building relationships with local First Nations communities. Christy has a way of facilitating conversations that bring people together to collaborate on solutions. Her skillsets and experience make her the ideal person to support the community to really make change.”

Taken directly from the Oct. 2019 BC CRN E-connector

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