A familiar face has taken the helm as the new executive director for Stettler and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS).
Shelly Potter, a 17-year veteran of the local FCSS office, accepted the role at the Community Support Centre on a permanent basis effective on Monday, Jan. 19.
She had been filling the role on an interim basis since the former executive director, Wendy Rhyason, tendered her resignation last November.
Potter, who previously served as the centre’s program manager, said that despite the changing of the guard, there are no major changes on the horizon for the local office.
“It’s business as usual,” she told the Independent last week. “We’re looking forward to moving forward and continuing to serve the community.”
That said, Potter said that Stettler FCSS is always on the lookout for new opportunities to serve and help by filling in gaps that exist in the services offered locally.
Stettler FCSS receives 80 per cent of its funding annually from the provincial government, while the remaining 20 per cent comes from the town and the county of Stettler.
Board chair James Nibourg explained that the aim of the FCSS is to address the needs of the communities it serves through running or funding programming or, if it can’t do so directly, to refer people to other agencies that can.
“People come to us every year for proposals,” said Potter. “We direct the money out to those groups that offer community programming.”
For instance, she said the office has just received a $50,000 grant from the provincial government for an additional aftercare program that will run for the next two years.
The office also has plans to host workshops for those affected by changes in the energy industry. Those events will be free of charge and the first one will be held March 19.
FCSS offers family and individual counselling through registered psychologist Kerbi McKnight, as well as supporting a variety of other programs, ranging from the Stettler Regional Child Care Centre to Caring Companions, a recently-introduced program through which volunteers reach out to visit senior citizens in the area.
Other services include a life skills coaching program, information referrals and assistance in filling out government forms.
For seniors and persons with disabilities, FCSS offers homemaker services, Meals on Wheels and a handyman referral program.
The Stettler FCSS office also co-ordinates the annual Christmas hamper program and was responsible for starting the Superfluity thrift shop as a pilot project 35 years ago.
Potter was raised in the Stettler area and originally studied at Concordia University College in Edmonton to become a career and employment counsellor.
She is currently continuing her education in Addictions Studies at Mount Royal University; her daughter and grandchildren also live in the Stettler area.
Potter said she finds she is learning something new every day through her work at FCSS, adding, “It’s very fulfilling that way.”
“It’ll take a while to get settled and figure out the job,” she continued, encouraging the public to stop by and learn more about what FCSS offers. “The door is always open, and we’re always here to help.”
For more information, call 403-742-2337 or visit www.stettlerfcss.com.