Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake has a new, young and deeply passionate executive director in Angela Kadar.
Kadar is a recent university graduate, who attended university in Kamloops to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology after receiving her human services diploma at TRU in Williams Lake. A Cariboo woman born in Victoria and raised in Anahim Lake before moving to the lakecity, Kadar got her start in the organization as an intern on her practicum and later on as a summer student a few years ago.
Growing up in Anahim Lake, Kadar said when she moved to Williams Lake it was like moving from the woods to the big city and was quite the adjustment. She attended school at Chilcotin Road Elementary and said she loved growing up in the lakecity.
“It was just a really cool way to grow up. Williams Lake is a small town, so you feel like you know everyone. As a kid that’s a really secure feeling to grow up in a place like this, I always loved it and I thought if I was to raise my kids anywhere it would be here,” Kadar said.
The tight-knit nature of the community that places a heavy focus on the youth is very appealing to her, as growing up she remembers all sorts of different organizations and events to be a part of. You could join BBBSWL as a little brother r sister, got to the Boys and Girls Club of Williams Lake and District, take part in soccer, hockey and rugby, Kadar said, all of which made her fall in love with Williams Lake.
The number of outdoor activities and lakes surrounding town also were appealing to her as a child and continue to as an adult. Rather than be glued to phones or iPads, as many kids are today Kadar said, she’d spend weekends and day camping in the bush or by lakes with her family, playing Lord of the Rings with friends and families. Williams Lake, Kadar feels, can still offer a childhood like that to the youth of today.
Nowadays, when not working or pursuing higher learning, Kadar is a big proponent of yoga, the gym and getting out and active in the community. She’s also an entrepreneur always looking for innovative ways to help people, like an app she’s currently helping to develop in Kamloops.
Kadar’s journey to becoming an executive director was an unplanned one, but a welcome one. When she had about a month left of school, she heard through a friend who was applying to be the organization’s summer student, who has since obtained the position, that BBBSWL was looking for a new executive director following the departure of Melissa Newberry. As they chatted, her friend started listing off all the requirement to be executive director which Kadar began mentally checking off as certifications and skills she already had. At the encouragement of a mentor of hers, Chelsea Corsi, who she’d been working with in Kamloops, Kadar decided to take the leap and apply.
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“I had all the educational requirements that they needed but experience-wise, zero,” Kadar laughed. “I applied, I got an interview and got so excited. Just to be interviewed felt like such an honour, so I came to (the office) did the interview, felt like it went really well and then, sure enough, they gave me an offer. Everything just came together so perfectly, I was finishing school that month and then wanting to move back home and (then) I had this opportunity to move back home.”
A big part of the reason Kadar ended up pursuing this opportunity was thanks to her time at the TRU campus in Williams Lake. She had developed a passion for psychology early on but knew that in the four years of education a psych degree would take she could have little practical experience. So when she chose to obtain her human services diploma she used the over 200 practical hours working with BBBSWL and youth to get a real sense of community service that helped her realize that is what she wanted to do with her life.
Personally, Kadar feels that the work BBBSWL does for the community is really important for the youth of the community which she now has the honour of being at the helm of.
While it can be daunting at times, most of all Kadar wants to expand the programs and services they offer to be able to reach as many children and youth as they can.
“There is a lot of pressure because it’s all about the kids. Everything we do, we do for the kids. That’s something that is a mantra in this office, at the end of the day what work did we do to actually help a kid,” Kadar said.
Currently, across all their programs and initiatives, Kadar said they directly support and work with 150 children and youth in the lakecity area. They’re looking to expand this number, however as Kadar is currently looking into working directly with more classes in the schools.
So far Kadar’s biggest hurdle to meeting these goals is the amount of office work she tackles on a day to day, like writing grants and other paperwork.
However, she said her six years as a professional student has conditioned her to be able to sit down and work for eight hours at a time, making her ready and willing to tackle this challenge.
Another is that, while their core programs remain strong and well known, Kadar wants to add new core initiatives and programs to the mix, while ensuring they are properly advertised and adhere to the organizations standard of excellence.
“My vision is to expand our programs, basically. Whether that’s through running groups but also expanding and getting more mentors for our in-school mentoring program, we’re working really hard on that. We want to create events, like the Backwoods Try-athlon that are new and fresh,” Kadar said.
“Creating good core fundraising events people can get behind as well.”
Kadar invites any community groups interested in partnering with BBBSWL to reach out and talk with her at any time. Likewise, anyone interested in becoming a mentor in any of BBBSWL’s programs is also always welcomed to come to make a difference in a child’s life.