The Salmon Arm Observer presents Jayne Buitinga, one of 20 young community leaders recognized in Salmon Arm’s inaugural Top 20 Under 40 program.
It’s difficult for a person to imagine moving from Australia to B.C., especially in the winter, but that is exactly what our next Top 20 Under 40 recipient, Jayne Buitinga did.
Seven years ago, Buitinga travelled to Canada for a winter ski holiday and never left. With a degree in registered nursing and an engineer husband by her side, the couple eventually settled on Canoe as their new home. Buitinga took a position with the North Okanagan-Shuswap Brain Injury Society (NOSBIS) two years ago and has made huge impacts within the community ever since.
It was 11 years prior when Buitinga’s father was in a serious accident, leaving him with a brain injury. The family dynamic shifted instantly under the weight of his injury, and the experience in navigating support for both her father and her family has guided Buitinga in her career.
The first-hand understanding combined with her genuine desire to help others has made her an ideal advocate for families facing a similar fate.
In her current role as a rehabilitation services coordinator, Buitinga assists people with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) who are struggling to rediscover themselves. She and her team are the helping hands many need to reconnect to the community and live a full life again. By shedding light on ABI and the struggles that go along with it, she provides desperately needed support for survivors and their families.
Recently, NOSBIS was absorbed by March of Dimes Canada, a national charity providing service and support for over 70 years. Throughout the past several decades, March of Dimes has transitioned from a fundraising effort to help find a cure for polio to being Canada’s leading service provider, resource and advocate, for empowering people with disabilities. The change has been a positive step forward for our area, as it allows for stabilized funding and has enabled Buitinga and her team to expand services so residents can live and thrive.
Like all non-profits, the past 18 months have been challenging. Continuing to offer services throughout a pandemic has required a new approach, but Buitinga and her team managed to pivot and expand program offerings to the community.
The small team has been able to navigate a transition to online services through Zoom, to enable greater food security through food hamper deliveries and coordinate vaccination appointments.
Building relationships with other community service groups has been the key to success, and Buitinga is thankful for other groups who are dedicated to work together for the best interests of their clients.
The work Buitinga does can be emotionally exhausting, and she understands that both mental health and selfcare is so important. With the lake out their front door and the trails out the back, Buitinga takes every opportunity to reconnect in nature, but also in person within the amazing community she has found here in the Shuswap.
To learn more about the March of Dimes organization, visit www.marchofdimes.ca.
Salmon Arm’s Top 20 Under 40 program was launched this year by Dustin Serviss, of Serviss Wealth Management, in partnership with the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society and the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, to acknowledge outstanding individuals, role models, mentors and community builders over the age of 18 and under 40.
The top 20 were selected from individuals nominated by the public. Visit salmonarmtop20.ca.