Rona Park is retiring as executive director of Nelson Community Services. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Rona Park is retiring as executive director of Nelson Community Services. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson Community Services executive director retires

Rona Park has led the organization for seven years

Submitted by Nelson Community Services

Nelson Community Services bids farewell to Rona Park after seven years as executive director and welcomes Kathleen Newson into the role.

Rona leaves a legacy as a dedicated and tireless community activist and advocate for families, youth, and individuals in crisis. During her tenure, she has made many contributions to the agency and the community, especially the creation of the Street Outreach Program, which Rona has taken from a pilot project to now a fully funded service for the community.

Kathleen will begin her new role on Oct. 5. Kathleen has a Master’s Degree in Voluntary Administration and a Bachelor Degree in Communications. She brings more than 20 years experience in the not-for-profit community sector with a passion and compassion for the needs of other people, especially those experiencing difficulties. Kathleen served in leadership roles in the United Kingdom at national, regional and local levels. Prior to joining NCS, Kathleen worked for Interior Health. She lives in Nelson with her husband and two children.

During her last month, Rona will focus on supporting the transition of Kathleen as the new executive director. While COVID-19 has certainly made Rona’s last year at NCS even more memorable, it has been just one more challenge in her long and varied career.

“NCS has served the community for almost 50 years and is well respected by its stakeholders and clients. As the outstanding professional that Rona is, she has continued to champion the legacy of quality services for the community. Her breadth of knowledge and experience aligned with her deep compassion for serving the community has allowed the agency to grow and has enabled NCS to fulfill its vision,” says board chair Cathy Leugner.

“As difficult as it is to say farewell to Rona who brought so much of her heart and soul to the agency, we are excited to hand over the reins to Kathleen whose passion lies within the social public sector and brings a wealth of varied experiences and competencies to the agency.”

Over 37 years, Rona has been a visionary leader, having served as executive director at both Nelson CARES and Castlegar and District Community Services. She was also a founding member of the Kootenay Boundary Community Services Cooperative, the Nelson Street Culture Collaborative, and Nelson at Its Best, a community development and poverty reduction organization.

She was also part of PRISM (Partners in a Regional Integrated Service Model), which continues to seek service alignment for families and individuals across the West Kootenays. For the past three years, Rona has been an active board member of the Federation of Community Social Services of BC. The staff and board of directors thank Rona for her commitment and professionalism to the agency and the community.

“Rona’s service to the region has marked a movement to deep and meaningful collaboration that has benefited countless individuals,” says Jenny Robinson, executive director of Nelson CARES.

The celebration day for Rona will be Friday, Oct. 2nd. For well wishes and info, please email:

affordable housingopioid crisisPoverty reduction

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Dr. Cori Lausen, bat specialist, has questions about logging in an unusual bat habitat near Beasley. Photo: Submitted
Kaslo biologist questions logging at unique West Kootenay bat site

Dr. Cori Lausen, a bat specialist, studies a population of bats above Beasley

Robbie Campbell lost his livelihood when the pandemic shut down Shambhala Music Festival. Instead, he spent part of 2020 working on a children’s book called Tulip that is now available. Photo: Submitted
In a lousy year, a Kootenay man was saved by a pink T-rex

Robbie Campbell became a children’s author after the pandemic cost him his livelihood

Community mental health workers are in high demand, and a new program at Selkirk College will provide opportunities in this field. File Photo
Selkirk College to train community mental health workers

Twelve students will complete two courses enabling them to work in health and human services

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Most Read