Joanne Schroeder, the executive director of the Comox Valley Child Development Association (CVCDA), has been awarded a $100,000 per year fellowship from the Max Bell Foundation to help tackle issues related to child services in British Columbia.
The fellowship will be based out of the University of British Columbia. It will begin in September and last for two years.
Schroeder will be hosted by the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), a research network based out of UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. Schroeder previously worked for HELP before joining the CVCDA as executive director in 2014.
“It’s really about developing a tool kit that people will be able to use to strengthen their leadership,” Schroeder said of the fellowship. “One of the ways we could do a better job is to have all of the child-serving organizations working more effectively together because there’s a lot of fragmentation across the organizations.”
According to Schroeder, the fellowship’s focus will be to develop a framework for best practices to strengthen leadership throughout child-serving organizations in the province, including ones like the CVCDA.
“The underlying premise of the project is that there are still lots of concerns for children in our society and our culture,” said Schroeder. “In fact, in the Comox Valley, we’ve been part of a provincial research project that shows we have some of the poorest statistics in the province in terms of how our kids are doing.”
“[This fellowship] is a great opportunity for the organization and for the community because we’ll be able to bring lots of stuff back to the Comox Valley,” she said.
Schroeder said she will continue her role as the executive director of the CVCDA throughout the two-year fellowship. The CVCDA offers support services and programming to children and youth in the Comox Valley with developmental delays and special needs. The non-profit society started in 1974.