Barbara Coates – Executive Director
Barbara accepted the position of Executive Director at Dan’s Legacy in September, 2016, after four years with the Marketing and Communications team at Variety – The Children’s Charity of BC. Barbara brings a 33-year background in broadcasting and communications to her role, as well as marketing, public relations and fundraising for clients in the health, not-for-profit and government sectors. She is an active and long-time volunteer, serving on numerous business, sports, educational, charitable and government committees and boards in her community of Delta. Barbara is passionate about children’s and mental health issues, and is a past Director with the Canadian Mental Health Association (Delta). She has mentored many young broadcast and communications professionals throughout her career, is a Director on the Board of the CBC 20 Year Association and member of the Surrey Board of Trade Social Policy Committee. Barbara holds a Diploma in Broadcast Communications and a Certificate in Marketing Management/Public Relations (Distinction) from BCIT.
Tom Littlewood – Program Director – M.A. Psych
Tom was first brought in as a consultant with Dan’s Legacy, and, after working with the foundation’s board for four months, was hired to be their Director of Programs and senior counsellor. Tom graduated from Simon Fraser University with B.A. in Psychology in 1985. Over the next six years he completed his Masters in Psychology as well as two years of specialized counselling programs in various universities in Canada and the USA. He developed one of the first diversion programs for at-risk youth while working as a police counsellor and established the original affinity card campaign while being the founding Executive Director for the Selkirk College Foundation. Tom was the founder and Executive Director of the Sanctuary Foundation that for fifteen years provided work and life skills programs, counselling and the first jobs for thousands of at-risk youth in Metro Vancouver. During his last five years with the Sanctuary Foundation he worked with the Cuban Ministry of Education setting up an apprenticeship program in bike mechanics for at-risk Cuban youth. Tom has also worked as a community counsellor for a local First Nation community and as a family support worker and counsellor for a local alternative high school. For the last fifteen years he has managed and volunteered at a local surplus food cooperative.
Amy Mildenberger – Manager, Administration & Special Events
Amy first got involved with Dan’s Legacy as a volunteer while completing her studies at BCIT in Non-profit Management and Business Management. With a background in office and administration support, fundraising and special events, her various experience has made a significant impact in her work. Amy is an active member of the event industry and has worked as an events consultant for various charitable organizations, refining her skills and gaining valuable experience in all aspects of event planning and management. She believes in giving back to the community through volunteering, and is passionate about being involved with an organization that makes a difference in the lives of others.
Linda Vu – Manager, Marketing & Communications
Linda is an experienced marketer of 5+ years who loves to design, photoshoot and manage end-to-end projects with her teams. She loves thinking outside the box and draws on her creative strengths to develop innovative solutions to complex problems and situations. She has volunteered throughout her life since middle school and continues to take pride in providing the best support possible. By joining Dan’s Legacy, she wants to build on her passion for giving back to the community with a focus on children/youth and mental health. Linda has a Diploma in Marketing Management and has launched her own brand of sustainable products to help families reduce the impact of single-use products in homes. Linda loves the outdoors and spends her free time backpacking, camping, dirt biking and swimming.
Stephanie Plourde – Program Manager – Counselling
Stephanie joined Dan’s Legacy in September of 2022 as the Program Manager for Counselling. She studied Psychology and Linguistics at the University of Ottawa and has been working and volunteering with children, youth, and families for over 10 years. She is trained as a parenting coach, group facilitator, and mental health clinical supervisor. As the Program Manager, she’s excited to contribute to the continued success of the Counselling program and support the therapists who provide crucial mental health services to marginalized youth.
Maryanne Kotylak – B.Ed, M.Ed. C.C.C (in progress) and member of the CCPA.
Maryanne has her Masters of Education specializing in Educational Psychology from the University of Regina. She has spent the last 30 years working with youth and their families as a teacher, principal and consultant with various school divisions in Saskatchewan. She brings knowledge and experience in emotional, behavioural, sensory, achievement and cognitive screening and assessment. She has been providing individual and small group support for youth and their families in dealing with trauma, sensory regulation, addictions, and learning needs. Maryanne uses Mindfulness, CBT, and sensory regulation techniques in her therapy and believes in a very individualized client-centred approach.
CJ Fehr – M.A., C.C.C. (Therapist)
CJ has worked for over 10 years supporting children, youth, and families in various roles including as a program director, support worker, outreach worker, and clinical counsellor. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology from Trinity Western University and is currently a registered counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Working as a clinical counsellor over the past 4 years, she has gained experience through Child and Youth Mental Health Services, different community agencies and universities providing individual and group therapy to a variety of individuals and families. Through a collaborative, trauma-informed approach, CJ combines talk therapy with evidence-based practices to build a safe, trusting relationship with her clients. Currently, she is working on becoming certified in Sensorimotor Therapy and integrating somatic awareness into her work with clients to help increase self-awareness of thoughts and feelings.
Victoria Daniel – R.S.W., B.S.W., M.A. (Therapist)
Victoria graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master’s of Social Work degree. She brings over 3 years of experience working with youth and adults with intellectual disabilities including FASD, Down Syndrome, and Autism. She also has experience working with youth, children in care, and those struggling with mental health and substance use. She believes that every person has resiliency within themselves, and each person has their own gift. As a counsellor, she approaches her work from a strengths-based, person-centered, culturally sensitive, and trauma-informed perspective. Her counselling style is actively listening to the person, being compassionate, approachable, and believes we all have a way of healing.
Jessica Sharma – M.C.P., R.C.C. (Therapist)
Jessica completed a Master’s of Counselling Psychology degree from Adler University. She has over a decade of experience working with children, youth, adults, families, and the community in various capacities including schools, recreation, outreach, and clinical counselling. Her integrative approach offers a safe, empathetic, genuine, and empowering therapeutic climate. Jessica believes that individuals have an exceptional capacity of agency, including courage, resilience, and a wealth of insight. Her holistic strength-based approach provides knowledge and tools through mindfulness, attachment, and trauma-informed practices to create meaningful change.
Elaine Kuo – M.Ed, R.C.C. (Therapist)
Elaine graduated with a Master of Education degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of British Columbia. She has several years of experience as a teacher and guidance counsellor for elementary and secondary school students. As a counsellor, Elaine strives to be genuine and reliable so that clients can safely and comfortably tell their stories.
Fatima Ghumra – MA, R.C.C. (Therapist)
Fatima is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who graduated from the Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology program at Yorkville University. Fatima has over 4 years of experience working in mental health with youth and adults. As a mental health professional, Fatima supports clients by providing a safe, non-judgemental space. Within this space, Fatima works collaboratively with the client to assess the therapeutic goals from a trauma-informed lens. Fatima provides culturally aware clinical counselling services, including cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectic behavioural therapy, grief and bereavement therapy and narrative therapy. Fatima thrives to provide an empathic, reliable space to provide mental health guidance.
Nazanin Zarei – MCP , AT (Therapist)
Nazanin has a Master’s degree in Counselling and Art therapy from Adler University and has worked in the mental health field for over 7 years. Throughout her career, Nazanin has worked with youth and adults from different backgrounds with a wide array of challenges and believes in accompanying others in their unique life journeys.
Shana Mansfield – MA , (Therapist)
Shana has worked with young people in her community at home in Ireland for over 6 years. She completed her Masters in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from ICHAS (Irish College of Humanities & Applied Sciences) in 2018, and has been working with young people in various roles since. She has experience in counselling, social care role and in educational settings. Shana has a passion for working with young people and has set up many different projects in her community, one for which she and her team won a national award! Shana understands the importance of building a relationship based on trust, brings a collaborative, trauma informed approach to her work as a counsellor, and is committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for her clients. She is working towards her Canadian Counselling Certification. Shana is genuine, empathetic and passionate, and is excited about her role at Dan’s Legacy.
Darren Nichka – CCDP, MA, R.C.C. (Therapist)
Darren brings over 25 years of front-line experience in a variety of social service settings. He has experience managing men’s shelters and residential homes for youth, as an educator and student liaison officer, as an employment counsellor for marginalized youth, and provider of emergency services for sex trade workers. He is client-centered and effectively applies mindfulness, trauma-focused CBT, motivational interviewing, ACT, and narrative therapy. Through a trauma-informed lens, Darren values creating safe spaces and providing nurturing guidance to clients.
Osato Obaseki – B.S.W, R.S.W. (in progress) (Social Worker)
Osato recently graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary, where he focused his studies on youth at risk and immigrant families. Osato has 10 years of experience working with youth in East Vancouver challenged by mental health issues, low socioeconomic factors, addiction, and trauma. He strongly values anti-oppressive, trauma-informed, culturally sensitive, and client-centered approaches in his practice.
Eugene Semple – R.S.W. (Social Worker)
Eugene received his BSW from Tennessee State University in 1993, specializing in the criminal justice system. He studied the “pipeline to prison” issue, addressing the link between marginalized youth, ADHD and the prison system. Eugene spent four years in the US Navy, where he worked as a religious program officer serving as the liaison between the families and the servicemen and women. Eugene has always been fascinated with the foster system and the bulk of experience that comes with working with youth at risk, as he enjoys engaging with, empowering, and supporting youth. Eugene received his Registration with the BC College of Social Workers in June of 2015. In his spare time, Eugene also enjoys coaching youth in basketball and lacrosse. He is excited to bring his wealth of experience to Dan’s Legacy and loves the culture of collaboration and connection.
Claudia Whitrod (Outreach Worker)
Claudia joined the Dan’s Legacy team in April of 2022. She spent the last five years working as a cooking instructor teaching young mothers and youth connected to the foster care system. During this time, she also coordinated a life skills workshop program and created a grocery hamper service during the pandemic. Having a background in the culinary arts, Claudia understands the value of hands-on learning as a means to acquire useful skills, build confidence and explore creative expression. She is continuously humbled to support individuals develop their recipes for success.
Kailey Halford (Outreach Worker)
Kailey brings forward years of experience working with children, youth and young adults. With a background in special education, Kailey worked for a number of years as an Education Assistant, supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities. This past year, Kailey found her passion working as a Youth Worker, supporting at-risk youth in the care system. Kailey is honoured to be a part of Dan’s Legacy and continue to support youth and help them develop skills and confidence to achieve their goals.
Tanya Wehrens (Outreach Worker)
Tanya has been working in the field for over a decade and brings forward years of experience working with high-risk youth and families. Tanya worked for a number of years as a support worker for Indigenous youth and families in the realm of child protection. Tanya’s passion is working with youth and providing them with the support they need in order to achieve their goals. Tanya is honoured to be a part of Dan’s Legacy and to be able to provide support to youth in a low-barrier environment.
Mazin Hammood (Outreach Worker)
Mazin brings 3 years of experience being a translator for newcomers migrating to Indonesia. He has supported them in obtaining a higher quality of life for his clients. Working in the social services field has always been Mazin’s passion as he aims to provide holistic support to the community by utilizing a client-centered approach. Mazin is honoured to be a part of Dan’s legacy team and he strives daily to make a positive impact in the lives of youth and the community.
Dan’s Warehouse Staff
Andrew Wong – Project Manager
Andrew brings nearly 30 years of business experience to the Dan’s Legacy team. He has owned and operated restaurants in the Lower Mainland including the critically acclaimed Wild Rice. A first of its kind in modern dining and an award-winning eatery, this business allowed Andrew to sharpen his skills in the restaurant industry. Over the years, Andrew has trained many young people who entered his doors to work in the kitchen or in the front house of the restaurants. A number of these young people have thrived in the industry, and have become leaders or opened their own restaurants. Andrew’s approach to business is hands-on and generous. He inserts himself into every aspect of the business while providing others with the tools necessary to be successful. Being passionate about the environment, Andrew was on the ground level of the sustainable initiatives Ocean Wise Vancouver and the Green Table Network. During his career, Andrew has gathered a wealth of knowledge and continues to maintain invaluable business connections.
Luke Willingdon – Chef Instructor
Luke is a graduate of Vancouver Community College’s Culinary Arts program and completed his apprenticeship while working at Bridges Restaurant on Granville Island. He worked in various restaurants, ranging from casual to upscale fine dining. He has led teams executing à la carte restaurant service, buffets, and several styles of catering service including passed canapés, chef action stations, plated weddings and conferences, as well as multi-course tasting menus. One of Luke’s proudest accomplishments was opening a brand-new restaurant – Duke’s Seafood and Ribs in the Cayman Islands. Being a chef has provided him the opportunity to live and work abroad in the Caribbean, lead the kitchen at a remote, luxury fishing lodge in Northern BC, and work as a private chef during Canucks games at Rogers Arena.
James Schaeffer – Chef Instructor
James brings 40 plus years of culinary experience to Dan’s. It started in the first year of a new concept cooking school for Vancouver called the Pierre Dubrulle Culinary School, where he attended a full year of full-time hands-on programme based on classical French cuisine. This year which he recalls with great fondness that took him to Bridges Seafood Restaurant in the early 80s, and then to the hotel and private club kitchens at Mandarin Oriental, Pan Pacific, Shangri-La Hotels, as well as Terminal City Club and Vancouver Lawn Tennis and Badminton Club where he spent many years as Executive Chef. He completed his years as Executive Chef at Tapestry Senior Living at Wesbrook UBC. Dan’s is a natural progression for James. Having spent his career primarily in west side kitchens the concept of giving back to the community in not for profit has been on his mind for several years. He feels honoured as well as excited to be part of the team at Dan’s and is thrilled to work with re-purposed food and the creativity that can come with it!
Claudia Germain – Administrative Assistant
Claudia Germain is the Administrative Assistant for the Intro To Cook Program and a current student in the faculty of Business at Douglas College. After first attending film school and serving primarily as an Assistant Director, she realized she had a strong passion for organization. Much like her personal fictional idol Amy Santiago (Brooklyn 99), what may seem dry and tedious to many, Claudia finds exciting and extremely satisfying. Her favorite days are days where she can sit and create a new binder full of procedures, or organize and create new spreadsheets. Through her drive for networking and strong sense of community, Claudia hopes that her personable and sunny disposition will help nourish the company’s roots and create a solid trunk to help Dan’s Legacy branch out. Claudia believes that there is a place for everything and is grateful to have found her place at Dan’s Legacy. She is eager to contribute in a way that aligns with her beliefs and ambitions, and hopes to be a face beyond the database that helps inspire the many communities which Dan’s Legacy serves.
Dan’s Legacy Foundation Board of Directors
Peter Buxton – K.C. – President
Peter Buxton, K.C. – President Peter is a trial lawyer and mediator. He graduated from UBC in 1980 and is a partner at Panorama Legal LLP. He has served as a Director of Baseball Canada and the President of Baseball BC, the BC Minor Baseball Association and North Delta Baseball. Peter was a Parks and Recreation Commissioner in Delta for 13 years, a former Director of the Fraser Patient Care Quality Review Board and the Delta Police Board. He lives in North Delta with his wife, and they raised three sons who currently live in the Lower Mainland.
Baltej Singh Dhillon – Vice-President
Baltej recently retired from a distinguished 29 year career with the RCMP with a meritorious record of service. Prior to his retirement he was the Officer in Charge of Emergency Preparedness for the RCMP in B.C. and is now heading the Crime, Guns, Intelligence and Investigative Group of the Combined Forces Enforcement Unit. Baltej is known for his resolve, in the face of unprecedented media attention and personal death threats, in encouraging the RCMP to change its policy allowing Sikh Officers to wear turbans, which the Government of Canada formally announced in 1990. Throughout his career, he was involved in a number of high-profile cases including the Air India Crash, Pickton Serial Killer case and numerous other serious crime investigations. Service to family, community and country have always been a proud tradition in the Sikh community. Baltej has offered his support as a volunteer to countless organizations, including: youth camps as a counsellor and mentor; South Asian Advisory Committee for United Way; Past-Chair of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Alumni Association; and as a yoga instructor to participants at the Welcome Home Society who struggle with drug addiction. He currently serves as a Director on the Board of WorkSafeBC, holds an Honorary Doctorate from KPU for his contributions to the community, and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and Diamond Jubilee Medal for Community & Youth Service.
Roberta McArthur – Treasurer
Roberta’s key focus is on team transformation and organizational management. With 30 plus years in various roles across diverse sectors, she has worked across borders with international partners to create harmonious intercontinental partnerships that achieve results. Currently in her work with Deloitte Canada, she is responsible for client engagement, employee engagement activities, leading projects and event management. She is also an inaugural member of Deloitte Vancouver’s Impact Committee, which supported Dan’s Legacy through a year-long project on strategic plan development. Roberta has extensive experience as a community as a volunteer with the Adoptive Families Association, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, World Police & Fire Games, and the City of Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Emergency Assistance Team (NEAT). Roberta is deeply committed to Dan’s Legacy, and wants to ensure it is recognized as being a leader in the non-profit sector focusing on mental health.
Darin Froese – Secretary
Darin has been working in the social services and housing field since 2001 at a senior management level, and is currently the CEO of the New Vista Society. His experience includes Executive Director positions at BC Housing and Income Assistance, managing portfolios in annual funding of over $400M. Darin attended Simon Fraser University and holds a Bachelor of Business degree (Finance). He has also attended the Executive Program in Public Sector Leadership at Royal Roads University, and has been involved in a number of community-based task forces and projects. He has been a Director/Treasurer on three non- profit boards. Darin resides in Maple Ridge with his wife, two daughters and a dog.
Wayne Cousins – Director
Wayne’s advocacy for youth began at the age of 15 when volunteering for the Canadian Red Cross. He went on to represent Canada at international youth congresses, exchanges and summits. Moving on to a lengthy career with BC Hydro, Wayne managed the Crown Corporation’s K-12 Education Sector, responsible for business relationships with 54 school districts and over 2,100 schools across the province. His business management experience with BC Hydro includes corporate communications, external and indigenous relations, media and public relations, strategic planning, and business process improvement. Wayne’s resume also includes CBC television and radio reporting/hosting, video production and narration. His volunteer experience includes serving at Salvation Army’s Belkin House, Harbour Light and Camp Sunrise; The Canadian Cancer Society’s Camp Goodtimes; YWCA’s Crabtree Corner; The Union Gospel Mission; The Greater Vancouver Food Bank; The Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau; Canuck Place Children’s Hospice; and Dan’s Legacy’s Sunday Haven Dinner.
Kelso Kennedy – Director
Born in Nanaimo, Kelso moved to Burnaby as a preschooler so that his mother could pursue an education at Simon Fraser University. At the age of 8 he started his entrepreneurial journey with a door-to-door car wash service and eventually cornered the local lemonade stand market. At 14 he built his first real business that was an immediate success but meant dropping out of high school to manage. Kelso went on to engineer websites for projects including Oscar-winning movies and Grammy-winning artists. At the age of 18 Kelso and his mother established a first-of-its-kind peer-to-peer non-profit organization in the Downtown Eastside. In 2012 he founded Redstamp agency which was recognized by Small Business BC as one of the top 10 places to work, and by the city of Port Moody as the 2019 Business of the Year. Kelso was also honoured as the 2020 Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Young Professional of the Year. Having left school early to focus on his first business, in 2014 he attended Harvard University to fill any knowledge gaps. He’s also continued to help build non-profit organizations, working with Brands for Better and spending the past 18 months as a Director on the board of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, which included establishing the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Stephanie Smith – Director
Stephanie worked for 30 years as an Early Childhood Educator before becoming a full-time officer with the BCGEU (British Columbia General Employees’ Union). In 2011 she was elected Treasurer of the BCGEU, later becoming the first woman elected to the role of President in 2014, a position she holds to this day. She is a passionate advocate for equity, inclusion, dignity, fairness and respect and has worked with a diverse array of organizations in the areas of workers’ and social justice, reconciliation, poverty eradication, mental health and substance use disorders, women and gender rights issues, and more. Stephanie has served on numerous boards and brings a wealth of experience in governance to Dan’s Legacy, and looks forward to leveraging her many relationships to advance its mission.
Tara Sudbury – Director
Tara began her career in Operations at Expo 86 where she oversaw numerous programs, including the development and delivery of department education for volunteers and staff. Following Expo she was recruited to launch the first Children’s Miracle Network telethon fundraising event for BC Children’s Hospital, where she stayed for another 14 years. Seeing an opportunity to close training gaps in the customer service sector, she and business partner Brenda McAllister launched Sudbury-McAllister, delivering its signature thepowerserve™ program to numerous companies including Rogers Arena, Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre, Starlight Casino and the 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee. After serving as the Philanthropy Director at the Victoria Conservatory of Music for three years, Tara returned to education full-time at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) as Manager of Community & Workplace Education. Tara is passionate about eliminating the stigma around mental health and putting her lived experience to work to benefit others.
Rebecca Bollwitt – Director
Rebecca has three main streams to her professional work: writing and publishing on one of Vancouver’s earliest professional blogs (Miss604.com); CEO of her digital agency (sixty4media, established 2008) where she websites for clients and develop their social media strategies; and working with nonprofits around Metro Vancouver, either as a volunteer Board Executive, general volunteer, and marketing consultant. Giving back to her community has always been a focus for Rebecca, and she has been a board member and executive with local organizations since 2016. Over the years she has served as Marketing Committee Chair, Board Secretary, Membership Chair, volunteer, and event sponsor. A long- time volunteer and supporter, Rebecca has supported the Chefs’ Charity Dinner and Chefs’ in the House virtual fundraisers, and other Dan’s Legacy events, as its Social Media sponsor. She looks forward to bringing her special skill set and experience to Dan’s Legacy and furthering her relationship with this remarkable organization.
Kristy Hayder – Director
Kristy has been in the non-profit sector for over 20 years, working both frontline as a youth worker and in fundraising, communications and marketing. She has been searching for the right place to volunteer and feels Dan’s Legacy’s mission fits with her skills and values. Kristy works for Covenant House as one of its senior managers, giving her insight into making strategic decisions and working closely with a Board of Directors. Her background also includes working directly with young people and she has a strong knowledge of frontline, counselling, and trauma-informed work. Kristy is thrilled to volunteer with Dan’s Legacy and looks forward to making a strong contribution.