Recent History – 1999
April 9, 1999
In 1974, the province decided that Resource Boards to manage the contracted social services of the community would not be continued. A group of community members, headed by Sheila Welsh believed that communities should have input into social service spending in their area.
A Board of Directors was established and the South Peace Youth Resources Society was incorporated. The contracts for service included James Paul Alternate School, now Grandview Alternate School, Community Service Hours for young offenders and Special Services to Children.
The administration office was located upstairs at 10420 – 8th Street. In 1981 a group of concerned mothers lobbied for funding to establish a Family Center and the Society was moved to the little church at 1500 – 111th Avenue. The name of the Society was changed to broaden the focus of service from youth to the community at large and the first executive director was hired.
Molly Henney invited community members to identify needs and applied for funding for services that addressed these needs. The Rotary Group Home for youth came under the direction of SPCRS. The first new contract under Molly’s direction was Mizpah Transition House. This required a large residential setting so the duplex on 95th Avenue was purchased and the offices moved into the west side while Mizpah occupied the east half.
In 1984, the province began its movement to close all institutions and privatize the services previously provided directly by government employees. The Tranquille Institution for children and youth with intellectual challenges [in Kamloops] was closed and children were returned to their home communities. South Peace Community Resources Society was invited to provide care for three youth returning to Dawson Creek.
This began our involvement in the community living sector and required that again the administration offices move — this time to the basement of the old library building next to Centennial Pool. During our stay at that location our second executive director, Hazel Plumbley took over after Molly’s retirement. Hazel’s direction improved our strategic planning, policies and procedures, and increased accountability systems.
Increased services required more room for Victim Services, Family Counseling and new residential programs for youth so we moved uptown to the MacKay’s Insurance building at 10218 – 10th Street. Hazel moved to a warmer climate and Harry Oswin became the third Executive Director.
Growth again caused the Society to look for a larger space and our current location in the McPhail Hutchison Building became home. Programs were added, some services were discontinued and many clients and employees passed through the doors.
In 1996, Jane Harper became the new Executive Director. This era began with the unionization of the employees. Consistency of practice and staff training became a priority. The need for space resulted in major renovations to the Administration building.
The society began to be recognized for the years of service. The United Way and Social Planning and Review Council of BC (SPARC) included the society in its book of ten resilient non-profit agencies in BC.
The Violence Against Women in Relationships Committee was recognized as a front runner in the coordination of services to women escaping violence. Mizpah Transition House became known throughout the province as a leader in the field and the Community Living department became known for promoting the total inclusion of people with challenges into the life of the community.
The society had grown from two programs to 20, the number of employees had increased from five to more than 100 and the annual budget had risen from $25,000 to $3 million.
Funding is provided through contracts with the Ministry for Children and Families, Ministry of Attorney General, and Ministry of Women’s Equality.
The Board of Directors continued to be strong, to have an understanding of service needs and business practice, to represent the community and to ensure that the services were delivered in a valuing and accountable manner.
In 1999, South Peace Community Resources Society continues to listen to the needs of the community. Through the Board of Directors and the Administration department, individuals and groups are encouraged to bring forth ideas, concerns and solutions to today’s problems.
The society wants to be responsive to the needs of Dawson Creek and welcomes input.
The management, the employees and the Board of Directors thank the community for the years of support and financial assistance that make the 25th anniversary a celebration of success.