Joanne Schroeder’s involvement with the Comox Valley Child Development Association comes as no surprise to those who know her. She’s been working with children her entire professional career.
Prior to accepting the position of executive director at the CVCDA, Schroeder was at a child development research centre at the University of British Columbia.
Even before the child development area, children were always at the forefront.
“I started with the child welfare and child protection system,” she said. “I quickly discovered that I was more interested in things like prevention and early intervention in young children. As I learned more about the science of early child development, I realized that to be intervening early on in children’s lives was our best chance to have an impact on them.”
She worked at the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC, where she did a lot of research into what communities could do to support children’s development.
“I did that for about 10 years,” said Schroeder. “Then when I came back to the Valley, it was a really nice opportunity to be at the Child Development centre and practise what I had been preaching all of those years. We had worked with a lot of communities, discussing things they could do differently to support kids. So now I work with an organization that… we do that.”
Schroeder said the jump from child protection services to child development services is not as severe as it sounds.
“A lot of times, when you talk about child abuse, the real issue is that those families have never been able to access the support they needed when they were little, and even as adults.”
Schroeder is a lifelong Vancouver Islander and has lived in the Comox Valley for the past 25 years.
“I’ve always been an Islander,” she said. “I’ve lived in other places, but I always think of the Island as my forever home.”
A testament to the adage “you can take the girl off the Island but you can’t take the Island out of the girl,” Schroeder did not even let her job at UBC interfere any more than possible with her Island ways.
“All the 10 years that I worked at UBC, I commuted,” she said. “I came home every weekend, and always had my eye on coming back to work here full-time.
“As much as I loved the job I did at UBC, it was wearing a little thin. There was a lot of travelling involved. It’s good to be home full time and working at the Child Development Association.”