The People of SWOVA

Janine Fernandes-Hayden – Acting Executive Director

We are delighted to announce SWOVA’s Acting Executive Director, Janine Fernandes-Hayden.  She will be stepping in for Kiran Dhingra who will be taking a 10-month parental leave until August 2019.

Janine holds a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and a BC Teaching Certificate.  She has experience in strategic planning and organizational development, program management, grant writing and reviewing, among other areas.  Janine started her career with the Ministry of Education where she worked for more than eight years.  Since coming to Salt Spring Island, Janine has taught in classrooms, served as the Chair of the SSI Foundation’s Grants Advisory Committee for several years and coordinated communications and projects for Volunteer and Community Resources (VCR) on behalf of the island’s 200+ not-for-profit organizations.

Janine has lived on Salt Spring Island since 2004 with her husband, Richard.  Now as not only an educator but also a mother with 4 children, the work that SWOVA does is incredibly important not only for the benefit of her children and the children of her community, but for all of our children.

Kiran Dhingra – Executive Directorkiran

Kiran is honoured and excited to join SWOVA.  She has spent over 15 years working as an advocate to prevent and eliminate violence against women and children, a social issue for which she cares deeply.  She obtained her Master of Social Work in 2000 from Wilfrid Laurier University and spent eight years working in child welfare in Toronto, where she was a case manager to children and youth in the permanent care of the province.

Subsequently, she moved into a community development role with a focus on initiating and supporting community-based projects aimed at the prevention of child abuse and neglect.  She has also worked within various women’s organizations in India, United States and most recently as Transition House Manager at Island Women Against Violence on Salt Spring Island.   She currently operates a private counselling practice specializing in working with children.  Kiran is a huge supporter of the work that SWOVA is doing in the community and looks forward to offering her skills and experience.

David Norget, R+R Adult Facilitator, Pass It On Boys Project Coordinatordavidnorget bcacc photo

This is David’s second year working with SWOVA. David is an impassioned educator of kids, youth and adults who has worked in the Human Services Field for over 20 years. He has a Masters in Applied Behavioural Science – Human Systems from the Leadership Institute of Seattle (2002) and an economics degree from McGill University (1988).

He has a broad range of experience. He’s worked in daycare in Sweden and, back in Canada, in special education, counselling, business, coaching business and non-profit individuals, human resources management, and organizational consulting within private business. He’s also furthered his education with studies related to counselling and coaching.

He loves learning, spending time with friends and family (his partner and he are the parents of two school-aged kids), being outdoors, writing, reading, travel, good food, and new experiences. He feels inspired by people who are actively engaged in what they love to do and inherently curious about those conditions and practices that help them, as individuals and groups of individuals, thrive and create what they want of life.

He’s been on Salt Spring Island since 1989. Being part of—and of service to—his community is important to him. He is an active volunteer with the Salt Spring Foundation, the Salt Spring Health Advancement Coalition and the Health & Wellness Group of School District #64 amongst other things.


Kate Nash, Pass It On Project Coordinator/Facilitator and Facilitator for The Respect ProjectKate Nash 2016

After being at home with 3 babes in a row I felt re-inspired to work with youth again when I found out about the Pass It On project. I really feel pulled to work and connect with youth, especially young women; communicating and facilitating all the inspiring ideas they have.

There is a need for young women to connect because with this connection (between all the ages involved) comes more understanding confidence and ability that so positively will affect all our futures.  The youth in School District #64 are excited to be involved, especially after all Pass It On’s past success. They are anxious to be mentors but more importantly, to have a place to share and learn and grow with other young women.


Alessandra Naccarato, Facilitator, The Respect Project

Alessandra Naccarato has been working with youth for over a decade, facilitating workshops in creative writing, community-based arts, and gender equality. Alessandra holds a Graduate degree in Community Development from Concordia University and MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, where she was an instructor and guest lecturer. Originally from Ontario, she has had the opportunity to work with school boards, universities and community organizations in the many cities she has called home, including Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. A resident of Salt Spring Island for the past four years, she is excited for the opportunity to work with the unique community at Salt Spring Island Middle School, as a facilitator of SWOVA’s Respect Project, which she joined last spring.


Sharyn Carroll, Project Coordinator Consent ProjectDSC_2233web

Sharyn began working with youth as a teenager teaching dance in the suburbs of Toronto. After relocating to Vancouver Sharyn volunteered as a transcriber for a feminist newsletter and started working as an Educational Assistant. In 2003 she returned to the school system after taking time away from paid work to parent her daughter.

Sharyn holds a BA in Sociology and Woman’s Studies and is a trained midwife. She is the coordinator for Salt Spring’s FireFly Lantern Festival, which is now going into its eighth year.

Sharyn’s passions are closely tied to her strong belief in the power of community.


Katie Watters, Project Co-ordinator Consent Project

Bio coming soon!

Erin Lee, Bookkeeper

Bio coming soon!


SWOVA Board of Directors


Sarah Koelling Belknap, MSSW, MDiv, Board Chair

Sarah BelknapSarah brings to her role as a member of SWOVA’s Board decades of experience in working with young people and leading organizations.  Early in her career, Sarah served as a psychiatric social worker in a variety of settings.  This included working with adolescent girls in the foster care system–preparing them for ‘independence’ from the system.  She trained with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, practicing her method for accompanying people through the process of grieving life’s losses.  In 1989, Sarah was ordained a Priest of the Episcopal Church, USA (member of the worldwide Anglican Communion).  Over the next decades, she served as Chaplain at the University of Southern California, Irvine, and led several congregations in the Diocese of Los Angeles.  More recently, Sarah has served an Anglican congregation in Victoria.


Janet Chantler, B.Sc., Ph.D.

Jaki ChantlerJanet is a retired Professor of Pathology who spent 40 years teaching young scientists and medical students at UBC in Vancouver. She has always been interested in nurturing young minds as well as conducting research into the ways viruses cause disease. Apart from formal teaching she has mentored many graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in how to conduct research, write scientific papers and theses as well as plan for their future careers.

Janet has two sons who gave her a thorough education in childhood and adolescent behaviour as well as in the importance of providing a stable and loving home environment for any child’s development into a healthy and responsible member of society. She also has three young grandsons who remind her of the tribulations along with the joys of early parenthood. She brings problem-solving abilities, empathy and a genuine affection for people in all walks of life to her membership of the SWOVA Board.


Daniel Logan

DanFamilySMALLI was raised in Victoria, BC by very aware parents who instilled and nurtured in my character, a keen sense of empathy. After graduating from high school, I travelled the world and experienced some of its amazing offers. During a High School reunion I met and fell in love with an old friend. We were married on a beautiful beach and decided to move to Salt Spring Island and start a family.  In the summer of 2008 we had our first son, Noah, followed by Benjamin in early 2010. After buying our first home and completing some major renovations, I started working for a local building contractor as a journeyman carpenter and really enjoyed being a part of the building world on Salt Spring. During my experience in building I noticed and seized an opportunity to open a green/eco building supply store.  The perfect location opened up and I jumped at the chance to open Elements Home Design in 2008.

Two Years ago I joined the local Rotary – a volunteer service club that fills my need for giving back to Salt Spring and being part of a larger world wide community of volunteers. I was also invited/elected to be a commissioner on the “Economic Development Commission”, which fulfills my wishes to be engaged in the sustainable development, and the future of this community. I am also part of and very excited about the “Charter of Compassion” – a world wide effort to bring peace and a sense of compassion to every living thing. It is of course a tall order considering the times we live in, but I feel it’s a way to change the world for the better.

I believe that my interests in a peaceful, harmonious community and world are aligned with SWOVA, so being invited to the board is an honour. I very much appreciate serving SWOVA as a board member.

Eric Dempster

I’m married and have two sons. Last year I retired and my wife and I moved from Edmonton back to the BC coast after a twelve year absence.

Before Edmonton, we lived in Vancouver for many years. We have owned property on Salt Spring since 2011 but now we live on the Island pretty much full time.

I’m a Chartered Accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC.  I’ve worked in a few different industries during my career. My last role was as Chief Financial Officer of a fairly large private company with operations across Canada and overseas in Mongolia. I’m glad to be retired but I do miss the people that I used to work with. Having said that we have met so many terrific people here on Salt Spring. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be here and I really appreciate the opportunity to join SWOVA’s Board of Directors.


James Cowan

James grew up on Vancouver Island and moved to Salt Spring with his wife and daughter in 2008. For 20 years James has worked producing concerts and festivals in and around Western Canada (mostly). More recently James has started doing project management for residential construction and community initiatives on Salt Spring. He has also worked as a paramedic with BC Ambulance for over 15 years.

James is active in the community and has produced dozens of fundraising concerts and events over the years, as well as managing the Salt Spring Film Festival. He has been a board member of Salt Spring Gymnastics since 2011 and helps coach and organize the Tsunami Circus program at the Middle School.

James is outside a lot. You can often find him kayaking, surfing, mountain biking, hiking or playing music.

James has been involved with the Sparkfest events since its inception. He’s passionate about SWOVA’s work and goals, and joined the board to support the organization reaching their goals.