New Desert Sun executive director Marieze Tarr hopes to raise awareness of organization’s programs

By on January 9, 2018

Marieze Tarr was named last week as the new executive director of Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre. (Richard McGuire file photo)

The newly appointed executive director of Desert Sun Counselling and Resource Centre, Marieze Tarr, wants to raise awareness about the programs her organization provides.

Desert Sun’s board of directors announced Tarr’s appointment last week.

She replaces Roxie Van Aller, who left the position at the end of the year.

Tarr is best known in the Osoyoos and Oliver communities for her role with School District 53 – serving several terms as chair.

Recently she stepped into the position of school board vice chair, a position she plans to continue in until October when new elections take place.

But she’s also been active in other organizations and projects both in Osoyoos, where she lives, and in Oliver.

“What I’m most looking forward to is learning more about the wonderful work that Desert Sun Counselling is doing,” said Tarr. “And advocating more. I know there’s not a lot of awareness amongst our community members of all the programs that are being run.”

The non-profit agency, which serves both Osoyoos and Oliver, offers crisis help, counselling, parenting programs, a community kitchen program and assistance to seniors through Better at Home.

The South Okanagan Safe Home program provides a confidential and free 24-hour women’s shelter and help line.

Tarr has been active with the Rotary Club of Osoyoos, serving in the past as president, and she’s been involved in several programs directed at school children.

Among these is a backpack program through Rotary, in which children in disadvantaged families are provided with a backpack for the weekend containing nutritious food.

Another program Tarr has led is Roots of Empathy, in which elementary school children learn about empathy for others – in part by interacting regularly with an infant brought to their class.

“When I went for my interview with Desert Sun Counselling, I did tell them I was not going to be willing to let that (Roots of Empathy) go, especially halfway through the year,” said Tarr. “They felt that that meets their mandate too, so I’m going to be able to continue my work with Roots of Empathy for this year and hopefully next year.”

Tarr, who is originally from South Africa, came to Osoyoos 18 years ago after living in Redvers in southeast Saskatchewan.

She has a Masters degree in medical sciences and in the past as worked with Healthy Communities, an initiative of Interior Health.

She was involved in starting the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative (CYMHSU), an initiative for child and youth mental health, in both Osoyoos and Oliver.

RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

 

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