New executive director for Little House

Recently arrived Debbi McKenzie also serving as substance abuse and addiction counsellor

There is a new face at the helm of the Little House Society in Tsawwassen.

Debbi McKenzie was hired as the new substance abuse and addiction counsellor late last year and in January was also named executive director.

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McKenzie assumes this dual role after former executive director Elena Murgoci left the society at the end of last year to pursue other counselling and home-based business opportunities.

McKenzie previously worked in an administrative role at the Avalon Recovery Centre in White Rock.

“I met the president and the executive director at the time during an event in the fall and they expressed they were looking for a counsellor,” McKenzie recalled. “It was great to work with the women at Avalon, but there was no counselling, so this became a great opportunity, a great fit.”

McKenzie specializes in family addiction and support, providing counselling for individuals, couples and groups.

“My life purpose is to help people struggling with substance abuse and their families face and uncover their issues and begin to heal. In doing so, I become a supportive place of refuge for them, assisting them to come out the other side,” she said. “It’s exciting for me to be able to offer help and support to families. Most of them feel that they would like to see their loved one achieve sobriety, but then they realize that they need support as well and that’s not an easy thing.”

She said she became a counsellor due to personal experiences.

“I was in a relationship with someone with an addiction,” she recalled. “When I went for help I found there was not a lot out there. I attended a session at the treatment centre where he was at the time and realized I need as much help as he does.”

In addition to her work as a therapist, McKenzie visits recovery facilities and shares her story.

“I know how powerful self-disclosure can be when done in a safe environment. Through my work as a registered therapeutic counsellor, I demonstrate empathy, compassion and understanding for the clients I work with,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be here. Little House is so well known and supported by this community.”

Little House Society is a community non-profit group dedicated to promoting and advancing education related to substance use, abuse, addiction and recovery.

McKenzie said she hopes to raise a greater awareness of the role of Little House, provide outreach, workshop opportunities and create better connections with the City of Delta, Delta School District, police and the Tsawwassen First Nation.

One form of outreach is Heart of a Family, set for Saturday, Feb. 24, a one-day workshop for family members, caregivers or friends worried about someone’s substance abuse. Scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the $100 fee includes lunch and materials. Those interested can email debbi@littlehousesociety.ca or call 778-434-3119 to register.

Little House is at 5061-12th Ave., Tsawwassen.

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