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Sicamous and Malakwa non-profits working together to serve their communities

‘From the moment a problem is mentioned, somebody is looking for a solution’
From left: Donna Helgeson, Janet McLean Senft and Pam Beech, members of the Malakwa Sicamous Interagency since its inception in 2006. (Zachary Roman/Eagle Valley News)

Non-profits in Sicamous and Malakwa are working well together to support their communities.

The Malakwa Sicamous Interagency is co-chaired by public health nurse Donna Helgeson and Eagle Valley Community Support Society executive director Janet McLean Senft.

The interagency is a group of people in the non-profit sector who meet once a month to network, share information, provide updates on their work, help each other out and find solutions to better serve their communities.

McLean Senft said the group has been meeting monthly since 2006, with the occasional summer off if things weren’t busy.

“Pretty much every body that runs anything, any type of service… in any sector, has gotten involved in the interagency and most have expressed that it’s hugely valuable to them to be able to connect with others and know what’s going on,” she said.

“From the moment a problem is mentioned, somebody is looking for a solution.”

Interagency meetings used to be held in-person until the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Now, they’re held on Zoom. Due to this, attendance has actually increased as people who couldn’t normally drive out to every meeting are now able to attend virtually.

Helgeson said a benefit of the interagency is it ensures no one duplicates work. If a person or non-profit who wants to help is new to the community, they can attend an interagency meeting to see if the service they want to offer already exists, or how existing services can complement their new one.

“If somebody has a problem, or a client has an issue, bring it forward to this group and let them brainstorm…” said Helgeson.

“You may come out with some fabulous, really easy ideas…”

McLean Senft said the interagency has “grown and grown and grown” since its inception and she’s proud of it.

“Its impact on the community is huge.”

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