BC CRN’s team of Regional Mentors helps communities establish Community Response Networks (CRNs). Mentors provide ongoing support in the coordination of responses to abuse, neglect, and self-neglect, and community development initiatives.
Marian Anderberg was campaigning to be the next school trustee in her district when we interviewed her. “It’s hard work!” she says. “While figuring out how to be a politician is one thing, putting so much of myself out there in a public way is another. It’s a first for me and it feels scary!”
Marian is a registered social worker and seasoned educator, with her previous job at Thompson Rivers University lasting well over 10 years. Marian was also one of the original mentors to be hired by BC CRN in the organization’s earliest days when it received its first provincial contract in 2012. Her career and her family have always been based on the traditional lands of the Secwépemc people, which is known today as Kamloops, BC.
People – children and youth, families, and individuals – have always been at the centre of Marian’s career, which currently spans 23 years, and have included several roles in the Ministry of Children and Family Development, health, First Nations societies, and academia. Her passion continues to be social work, and Marian’s private practice, active since 2012, supports children and families in crisis, people experiencing legal difficulties, and systemically marginalized individuals navigating difficult life changes. She counsels individuals, couples, and families, connects people to community support, and supports community initiatives.
Presently, her practice primarily supports mandated adults.
“I believe in the opportunity to transform and to evoke change,” she says. “The majority of my clients are parents and have families. They are daughters and sons, aunties and uncles. They also may have addiction issues or have experienced abuse or violence. Social work, for me, is about helping people reclaim their dignity, and to help them step away from the shame that burdens them so they can set a new path forward. It’s a privilege to be able to do this work and to contribute to the wellness of the community in this way.”
“I joined the BC CRN as the mentor for the region originally covering the Cariboo, Thompson, Nicola, Shuswap, and Columbia communities in 2013 after working in government for a long time,” Marian recalls.
She was one of the first mentors recruited by the organization outside the original five who were in place to first pilot the Community Response Network (CRN) model for the province.
“Supporting the development of localized CRNs to meet the needs of the unique populations in the Interior Region of BC and connecting with individuals needing support and professional organizations alike are things I was used to doing.,” she says. “BC CRN was also one of the few places at the time that offered opportunities to do true prevention work. It still does.”
This Fall, the name “Marian Anderberg” will appear on the ballot next to other school trustee candidates.
Marian’s political platform is based on her values of equity, inclusion, diversity, fairness, and justice. “Everyone has a voice and deserves to have it heard,” she says.
One of her focus areas is positive mental health.
Marian decided to run for school trustee because of her teenage son, who is in grade 10. “I was always interested in governance. I often joked that I would try my hand at politics when I retired,” she jokes.
Last winter, a friend encouraged her to run sooner, especially since her son is in the school system.
“I was difficult to convince. At first, I thought I didn’t have time. Second, I wanted to protect my son’s privacy, which is something I have always done because of the nature of my work,” Marian says. “I turned a parenting corner and realized my son is an independent teenager. I couldn’t use the lack of time as an excuse. I also asked if he was okay with me running and he was.”
“If the community elects me as school trustee, I can try to make a difference in the school system now. Everyone in the system – my son, his peers, and all of Kamloops youth – will benefit from any change we foster,” she adds. “The school board trustee role is also an opportunity to do prevention work: there are strong parallels with BC CRN.”
“Prevention work is the most effective at the child and youth levels. This is where we can make inroads,” she explains. “Homelessness, crime, drug addiction…these issues can all be prevented if we are able to intervene when kids are young, so they can be taught how to get support and feel good about asking for help.”
When she is not in practice or campaigning, you can find Marian working out in her local Pilates studio or pool in the early mornings. She also spends her off-time cooking and sharing food, listening to CBC Radio One over a cup of tea, or visiting Shuswap Lake when it’s warm outside.
As with many people, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic compelled Marian to focus on self-care. “I’ve had heart issues since my 20’s,” she says. Last December, her recovery from a surgery pushed her to concentrate on her overall health.
“At the onset of the pandemic, I chose to focus on my own health. In preparation for my surgery and post-surgical recovery, I concentrated on my physical and mental wellness,” she says. “It was an opportunity to think about living to an older age for myself and my son. So far, I’ve lost over 150 pounds. I guess I’m transforming and changing too!”
Written by: Debbie Chow, Links Communication Solutions. Follow Debbie on LinkedIn @debbiechowabc.
(Photos: M. Anderberg)