Since 1988 families in Golden have had a familiar face in the role of Infant Development Consultant, but after nearly 30 years Rhonda Smith has announced her retirement.
“I still have a few jobs, so I’m not fully retired yet,” said Smith, who gives her time to multiple roles in child development in Golden and Area A. “But it will be nice to spend a little more time at home, working on the farm, and with my family. I have eight grandchildren, and soon to be three great grandchildren.”
As many families and parents in Golden can attest to, Smith was born to work with children. After growing up in Vancouver, and receiving her education at the University of Victoria, Smith found herself and her family living in rural Golden. Among other things she ran the Cookie Monster children’s group in Parson, under the College of the Rockies. Then two community members gave her an amazing opportunity.
“In 1988 I was hired in this role by Dr. Robert Wilson, and our well-loved public health nurse Anne Younger,” said Smith. “I just love working with little children.”
She feels grateful to have been able to spend her career doing just that.
Among all of the children and families Smith has had the good fortune of working with, she says there is one group that has always particularly inspired her.
“The parents of children with disabilities are absolutely amazing,” she said. “They’re parents give these children such full lives, and it’s a lifetime commitment. Just amazing. It’s been a privilege to be able to work with them.”
Smith feels fortunate to have worked with so many inspiring families, but it seems that those families feel equally fortunate to have worked with her. During her interview with the Golden Star in a local coffee shop, two people congratulated Smith and remarked on how much they would miss her before she even had a chance to sit down.
“Everyone has been really great about it. They’re making me feel very special.”
It may be a little bitter sweet moving on, but Smith feels very comfortable passing the reins on.
“We’ve hired a super star named Katie Jewitt, and she’ll also have the benefit of all the other consultants in the Family Centre office. It’s an amazing team there,” said Smith.
Humble as always, Smith was thankful to all of the schools and organizations that continue to offer the programs that make Golden such a great place to raise a family.