Thank You to Our Former Board Chair, Mary McNeil!

It was with great sadness that we bid farewell to Mary McNeil, an intrinsic part of our Dalai Lama Center family, this past May. Mary generously volunteered her time as a DLC Board Trustee and Board Chair for over 5 years. A retired Member of BC's Legislative Assembly, Mary formerly served as the Minister for Children and Family Development, where her responsibilities included oversight of Child Protection and Family Development; Adoption; Foster Care; Early Childhood Development and Child Care; Child and Youth Mental Health; Youth Justice & Youth Services and Special Needs Children & Youth.

A mother of 4 and grandmother of 13, Mary knows firsthand how important nurturing a child's social and emotional development is to their lifelong well-being, which is what initially attracted her to the DLC. As witnessed within her role as family matriarch, when given the right tools and support along the way, children grow up to be stronger adults.

During her time as Chair, Mary helped to usher the DLC through the uncertainties brought on by COVID. This period of time has been especially challenging for our children and youth, and the increase in mental health issues for people of all ages has heightened the relevancy of our work and need for an upstream focus on building individual and community capacity and well-being. As we know well, when caring adults are resourced with the information, skills and practices required for nurturing their own and other's social and emotional development, this flows down directly to the children they influence and care for. 

COVID was the catalyst for the DLC to migrate many programs to virtual spaces, fulfilling the need for greater access to services that support the emerging mental health needs of children and families, not only in BC, but in other parts of the world. When asked about what excites her most about the DLC's future, Mary states “Reaching more children and going further afield. Technology allows us to reach beyond our borders, and that is an exciting concept. The health of the world and its people matters to our children here at home.”

Having concluded her 5 year tenure as Board Chair with the DLC, and having been actively involved with many other organizations as a volunteer throughout her career, including as Director of the Mathisen Family Private Foundation, Mary looks forward to focusing on her kids and grandkids during this next chapter of her life. She has since passed the torch of Board Chair to the caring and capable hands of our new Board Chair, Tenzin Khangsar. We wish Mary and her family good health and well-being, and extend our heartfelt appreciation for her gentle, confident, and inspiring leadership and generous service that has guided our collective efforts to educate the hearts of children and youth locally and across the globe.

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