A naturally social person, Pam Fletcher, the Community Living BC (CLBC) facilitator in Port Alberni loves connecting with people in her community. She actively participates in the biannual Port Alberni Fun Fair, Tag Days to raise funds for Operation Trackshoes and Special Olympics, the Alberni Valley Community Stakeholders Initiative to End Homelessness and other community events and committees. It’s her way of helping others, and building networks to better support individuals and families.
“Port Alberni is an extremely connected community that takes its responsibility for its citizens seriously,” says Pam. “It’s a small town. We all shop at the same stores and we know each other.”
Pam moved to Port Alberni from Nanaimo when CLBC was formed in 2005. An Island girl (her mother worked on BC Ferries where as a child Pam often accompanied her) Pam requested the move to Alberni for a chance to work in a close-knit community. Prior to starting to work for government in 2001, Pam had positions at AimHi in Prince George as a community inclusion and employment support worker, as a seniors’ activity coordinator with a focus on horticulture, and in Nanaimo as an advocate for individuals and families.
“My learning curve was sometimes steep in the work roles I have taken, particularly in the advocacy role,” says Pam. “However, these experiences inform and add to the work I do today, and I am thankful I had the different opportunities prior to joining the CLBC team.”
Pam also brings life experience to the work she does with individuals and families. Born with hearing and speech challenges, at school Pam was put in the resource room with other children with special needs. It was through a family connection that she was enrolled in a community centre program where she received support for speech and language (at that time in Nanaimo, these services were delivered through the local centre). These supports allowed her to overcome communication challenges, and to participate more easily in the community.
“I think my personal experience helps me in the work I do. I understand the face people give to the world often does not reflect their full history. I have a natural curiosity about people, about their stories and their backgrounds. When I am able to foster opportunities to help people grow, it is those successes that motivate me and keep me doing this work.”
Pam has served the community of Port Alberni, as well as Tofino, Ucluelet, and 14 First Nations communities for eleven years. About this experience she says, “I believe it is all about relationships and connections. The colleagues I work with from other organizations are collaborative – and we watch out for each other and help each other. Our families are amazing too. Some of them have come from very challenging places and I am so impressed with their resiliency. I am happy I am part of this community. Port Alberni is a special place to be.”
CLBC staff near you
If you are a family member who is new to CLBC, and are interested in learning more about other services and supports, or resources in the community, please don’t hesitate to contact local staff near you.