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Fort Langley woman named executive director of MFRC

On June 6 Louise Smith  became Executive Director of the B.C. Military Family Resources Centre. The national program helps military families during the various stages of placement and deployment. - Ashleigh BEAUDOIN/Langley Times
On June 6 Louise Smith became Executive Director of the B.C. Military Family Resources Centre. The national program helps military families during the various stages of placement and deployment.
— image credit: Ashleigh BEAUDOIN/Langley Times

At the heart of every soldier there is a strong family, and at the heart of every military family in Canada there is the Military Family Resource Centre.

In keeping with the Fraser Valley and its roots, while still finding a new challenge for herself, Louise Smith has been selected as the new executive director of the Mainland B.C. Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC).

A Fort Langley resident for more than 15 years, Smith has enjoyed the pace of the Fraser Valley and the work that she has done both in her professional life and with non-profit organizations like the Fraser Valley Women’s Resource Society.

“It’s a pace that allows people to get to know each other,” she said.

Having worked closely with families for the past seven years at Abbotsford Community Services, Smith will be working with a new set of families with new dilemmas and stresses.

“I felt like I was ready to move to something a bit more challenging,” Smith said.

The MFRC is a not-for-profit, national organization that helps Canadian military personnel and their families by providing programs and services to help them cope with the military life.

More than 1,500 families in the Lower Mainland receive a monthly newsletter from the MFRC and an intensive level of support is offered to a wide range of these families, as well as others deployed from all over Canada.

To deal with the constantly changing times, the staff and team at MFRS will constantly have to adapt their strategies to help families cope with their placements and the military life. As executive director, Smith will work with the two Lower Mainland centres, one in Chilliwack and another in Vancouver, with the intent to create two cohesive working environments.

Of the staff that Smith will be working with, 50 per cent will come from a military background, which will work in Smith’s favour. Because she does not come from a military background, she will work to understand military operations through working closely with other members of the staff, using their feedback and networking with other centres to help establish a new dynamic.

“It’s going to be a lot of conversations, and observations,” Smith said.

The programs offered by MFRC help children and families feel more normal in what can be a very hectic military life by offering group, peer and community support.

“Their families are really such a key piece of keeping things positive.

“We have to be aware of what’s needed out there,” Smith said.

MFRC offices are open in Chilliwack and Vancouver, open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For more info go to http://www.familyforce.ca/sites/MainlandBC/EN/Pages/default.aspx.

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