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New Castlegar Community Services director lays out goals

Reidun Rossi has taken the reins of Castlegar’s largest community services agency
Reidun Rosi has big plans for the Castlegar and District Community Services Society. Photo: Photography by Larissa

With a few months under her belt, Castlegar and District Community Service’s new executive director is ready to forge ahead with a list of goals and priorities for the organization.

Reidun Rosi became the executive director for the society back in June. CDCSS handles many of Castlegar’s community service programs and contracts, employing 19 full-time, part-time and contract workers.

With a background in housing and homelessness work, most of Rosi’s experience comes from working in the non-profit sector in the Toronto area.

Rosi wants to see CDCSS stepping up to play more of a regional role and working on building inter-agency and community relationships is at the top of her to-do list. She believes by working together, agencies across the West Kootenay will be able to fill in more of the gaps missing in current services.

She says developing regional strategies is a key to success.

“We have to be on that plane or we won’t survive as an agency. We are all wasting resources trying to do our own thing. Let’s all work together … in the end it is better for our clients.”

Rosi plans to work with other agencies to compare notes on what kind of services are being requested by clients, what each agency has to offer, and determining how they can help to support each other.

She sees this attitude as a catalyst for future growth and funding.

“There are always proposal opportunities to take advantage of,” says Rosi. “It is a standard requirement now of all proposals to report on how you are working with other agencies and what kind of partnerships you have.”

Rosi would also like to increase the agency’s involvement in meeting housing needs. She is hoping to develop partnerships with federal and provincial housing funders and bring a co-ordinated access program to Castlegar.

Another big goal is to have CDCSS accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities or another similar accrediting agency.

Rosi says this will help to access funding and make the agency eligible to administrate more government-sponsored programs.

Her long-term dreams include a youth house, more seniors programs and more mobile services.

“Really meeting people where there are at,” says Rosi, “making sure we are really meeting the needs, looking at the community and assessing the needs of the community.”

Rosi has also started to work on changing the culture of CDCSS and focusing on building relationships within the organization.

“The staff are amazing and great, but having everyone working together is new for the agency,” said Rosi, explaining that programs and employees were mostly working in a siloed manner in the past.

“It has to change for all of us to move forward,” she explains.

“My leadership style is to try to be as collaborative as I can be, so that means a lot of discussion — even uncomfortable discussion.

“My goal is for all of the staff members to feel psychologically safe, to participate in everything, to challenge my opinion and perspective. I am not going to know everything all of the time — my goal is to create that inclusive environment.”

Rosi realizes that she has great assets in the agency’s staff and intends to glean from their knowledge.

“The staff have worked here for many, many years and they know the community very well.”

The agency also saw a major board of directors change this last year, and Rosi says the new board is preparing to enter into a strategic plan update in the new year.

She says that once that is in place, it will really solidify the organization’s vision and give a focus for moving forward.

“It’s all about serving the clients better.”

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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