Jennifer Lazenby loves the Vancouver Island life. Since moving to the Island to attend the University of Victoria in 1996, she never left. Upon earning her degree at UVic, she met her husband and soon after established a home for her family in the Cowichan area in 2005.
She has volunteered and worked with many local organizations connected with her personal and family life in the Duncan/Cowichan region over the last 25 years, from community events through her job with the ScotiaBank, early learning programs and sports leagues with her children, to community engagement work with various organizations.
Her passion for working with seniors and vulnerable adults began through an invitation to help at a ground-level position with Volunteer Cowichan in 2013 after previously serving as a board member. When Jennifer began hearing first-hand the challenges and concerns of aging adults in her community, her innate sense of caring created the desire to protect the dignity and independence of aging adults through education and resources, which has continued to guide her life’s work to date.
Jennifer’s experience includes serving as Executive Director of Volunteer Cowichan, in addition to being the Better at Home coordinator from 2013-2022, during which time she completed her It’s Not Right training and was part of many projects and events, including the development of advanced care planning rack cards and bringing the Aging Well Seniors Expo to the area.
She went on to serve as the Cowichan Representative for the United Way BC-Central Island’s Reaching Home program where she oversaw the government granting stream process. After the completion of that contract in the spring of 2023, she saw an opportunity posted with BC CRN and her interest piqued. Her role at the UWSVI did not include being part of community engagement anymore and she missed connecting with the people she wanted to help.
Through a series of conversations and events, Jennifer applied for the role of Regional Mentor for Central Northern Vancouver Island which became official July 1st this year. Jennifer is very excited to be back with BC CRN and currently oversees 10 CRNs on the Island, up the eastern coast from Cowichan to Port Hardy and west to Tofino. She also currently serves as the Manager of Community Engagement and Fund Developer for the Canadian Mental Health Association-Cowichan Valley Branch which she feels gives her greater insight of working with a vulnerable population and the unique position to create new opportunities for collaboration between the BC CRN and the CMHA.
Jennifer speaks highly of the CRNs in her region and is looking forward to the great things planned for this upcoming season. Her vision is to connect the Community Coordinators with each other and help them see a bigger picture that facilitates better practices, collaboration, expertise and resources between and within their communities. One of her goals is to travel to each CRN, take stock of the strengths and needs of each one and assess how to best support them. Another goal is to expand and nourish cultural relationships with the First Nations communities in the Central, Northern Vancouver Island region through exploring in-roads of truth and reconciliation within the program.