Skip to Content


This infographic is a timeline that gives 9 highlights of the Fernie Women’s Centre’s history. The Centre was founded in 1979. Shortly afterwards, Dandy Lion Daycare, it’s first non-profit childcare centre, was opened. That was followed by the opening of the first Safehomes network in the Elk Valley, which provided emergency shelter for women and children fleeing abusive situations. In 1998, Chrysalis House, an 11-unit second stage housing program, opened. It was managed by the newly formed Elk Valley Family Society. Four years later, in 2002, the Columbia Basin Family Resource Society was founded to further support community services. The years that followed saw FWC work with the MLA and Municipal politicians to start a public transit system in the Valley. FWC also helped with the development of the City of Fernie’s Official Community Plan and became the founding members of the Affordable Housing Partnership working to develop an affordable accessible senior’s housing complex. Later, FWC began offering programs for food security and the exchange of clothing and household goods. Overall, FWC celebrates over 44 years of being a resource for community investment, advocacy and engagement in the Elk Valley. Over 1000 community members benefit from the 11 programs they oversee. Current information about these programs can be found on their programs page.

A Word From Our Community 2

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

– Jess Finway

A Word From Our Community

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

– Jess Finway

Meet Our Team

Headshot of Kat Boag Munroe

Kat Boag Munroe

I am honoured to bear witness to such powerful stories of survival. I am continually amazed by the creativity and wisdom of the people I work with. I love to garden and to try out growing new produce. This year’s challenge is melons!

Headshot of Sue Clarkson

Sue Clarkson

It is a privilege to work with families as they begin their parenting journey. I love seeing new skills develop and confidence build in parents throughout their baby’s first year of life. I enjoy spending time outdoors being active, spending time indoors playing ukulele, and being a mom to my 2 teenage sons.

Headshot of Nicky Benzie

Nicky Benzie

I love our team of amazing people working together to improve the lives of the individuals and families living in our community! I love to spend time outdoors whether it’s hiking, paddling, snowboarding or just sitting by the river. I also love pottery, reading, and most importantly, spending quality time with my cat Phoebe.

Headshot of Anie Hepher

Anie Hepher

Meeting new parents, grandparents and families of Fernie babies and seeing all ages connect through music. Being outside by water is one of my all time favourite ways to reset. If my dog is there, even better!

Headshot of Rachel Kelsey

Rachel Kelsey

I love being part of a program that truly benefits many people in our community. For fun I like to play tennis, sew and go for forest adventures with my daughter and dog.

Headshot of Andy Coe

Andy Coe

I love my job because I get to connect with different families throughout the Elk Valley and watch them grow. Children bring such joy and everyday is always different and fun! I love to cook. I have been cooking since I was a child and I love finding new ingredients at the store and making something yummy. I recently started baking too, it’s more challenging than cooking but I have a big sweet tooth so it’s very satisfying.

Headshot of Diane Lightburn

Diane Lightburn

I love my job! Spending time with the kids and watching their imagines at work, teaching them, as well as learning from them is so rewarding. In my time away from work I enjoy as much family time as I can as well as golfing and gardening.

Headshot of Jodie Parker

Jodie Parker

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to work with parents and their babies as they embark on this journey. I also love any chance I can get to cuddle with babies! I enjoy running, x-country skiing, hanging out with my husband and 2 teenagers. I am grateful everyday to live in beautiful Fernie.

Headshot of Mirey Faema

Mirey Faema

I am passionate about building connections with and providing support to individuals who have experienced complex trauma, relationship challenges, self-esteem challenges, and gender transitions. Outside of work you will often find me talking to or about my 3 rescue cats, camping or snowboarding.

Headshot of Stephanie Ferrarelli

Stephanie Ferrarelli

I am a preschool teacher for the South Country Preschool, what I like most about my job is getting to watch the children develop in their social learning; seeing their friendships form, watching and listening as their play evolves, and being amazed by their imaginations. When I’m not at the preschool you will find me at the Western Financial Insurance office, but for fun I like to ride horses with my daughters and work in my garden.

Headshot of Natalie Carruthers

Natalie Carruthers

My name is Natalie Carruthers. My favourite thing about my job is when I’m able to help people begin to truly love themselves. There is nothing more rewarding then seeing someone begin to treat themselves with the same kindness and compassion they treat others with. Outside of work I love to spend time with friends and family- whether that’s on the ski hill, bike paths, or just hanging out by the river.

Headshot of Layne Leskosek

Layne Leskosek

I love that I am able to give back to the community that I live in. I enjoy skateboarding and hanging out with my dog Charlie.