Update: Downtown Community Centre

New Hire, New Beginning at Downtown Community Centre

By Donna McKenna, Coordinator, Downtown Community Centre

I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of a response when we put our posting for the Assistant position out into the community. We advertised on our web site, on Craigslist and on a few campus notice boards. I wanted to open up the competition to people with lots of experience as well as individuals just starting their career. Even in our list of background preferences we expanded our range to include social work, therapeutic recreation and leisure studies, child and youth care, as well as mental health and addictions. All I knew at the start of the recruitment process was that the decision would come down to complementary skill sets and great energy.

We received dozens of applications. So many talented and skilled individuals applied and whether that reflects on the economy, the great reputation of the agency, the opportunity for program start-up, the population group we serve and/or any combination thereof it was a truly humbling experience. And after waiting nearly six years for funding to be available to hire an Assistant the responsibility to our clients, the agency, our community partners and funders, including the Victoria Foundation, felt immense. Yet despite this ‘immensity’ the experience could be filed under the category of ‘positive stress’. I was excited and exhilarated to be at the starting gate.

After reviewing the applications, re-viewing them, comparing and contrasting one resume to another, the selection of who to interview came down to cover letters. I haven’t hired anyone in over half a decade since moving to Victoria for this position and feel that I have learned a tremendous amount from this process of how to write an effective cover letter. I was looking for an interpretation of the job posting, to see reflected what we were asking for and what someone had accomplished – the transferability factor. I was also looking for a glimpse of personality, a chance to look beyond those accomplishments to see what someone’s values were and why they were interested in the position.

With the support and guidance of our Manager of Human Resources, Melanie Clarke and my direct supervisor, John Crean, Manager of Housing we were able to whittle the interview selection down to five talented candidates. The interview panel consisted of the three of us and we were confident that of the five selected, one would be our new Assistant.

It is with great pleasure we announce that Miranda Lane is the new Assistant of the Downtown Community Centre. Miranda has just completed a very successful internship at the Robert Lee YMCA in Vancouver as their Family Development Center Coordinator. She was tasked there to evaluate existing programs, determine areas of need, and then create, develop, promote and implement new programs to address those needs. Miranda was also responsible for recruiting, training, and organizing volunteers and managing and scheduling staff. In the words of her recent supervisor, ‘if she wasn’t so determined to return to Victoria we would’ve done whatever was necessary to keep her here. Hire her, you’ll never regret it.’ Miranda completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, volunteered for the Needs Crisis Line and completed a practicum with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.  We have a terrific two-week orientation planned for Miranda beginning in mid-May and in the months ahead we will update you as our evening and weekend hours and new programs unfold.

The last words are hers:

“I feel honoured to accept this position and become part of Cool Aid’s great history here in Victoria. I am excited to be working to create opportunities for youth as this is a true passion of mine. Although I am a native to Vancouver, I fell in love with Victoria while I was studying for my B.A. and felt a strong connection to this beautiful city and its people, who are committed to social action. I look forward to being a part of this expansive network of community spirit.”