250-537-1336 info@swova.org

About SWOVA

EMPOWERING YOUTH FOR A BETTER TOMORROW

 

SWOVA Community Development and Research Society is a nonprofit society and registered charity in Canada.  The society has been working for over two decades to prevent violence in all forms. All of the work of the society is based on solid research and evaluation. SWOVA is an incubator where strategies and solutions for violence prevention are created, nurtured, and shared.

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Our Mission

 

SWOVA fosters healthy relationships in order to promote communities free of violence, bullying, discrimination, assault and abuse.

We do this by delivering innovative, evidence-based social-emotional educational programs for children, youth and adults and inspiring and training others to deliver our programs.

 

Our Roots  

SWOVA has worked for more than two decades to address violence in all forms. Founded as a ‘wake-up call’ for action against gender-based violence, SWOVA has become a champion of information on individual rights/protection and has developed education programs/awareness initiatives to address discrimination/violence based on gender, race, sexual orientation, age, and ability.

SWOVA’s youth programs encourage young people to challenge assumptions and learn skills that foster healthy, equal relationships.

SWOVA believes that all human being should be free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles, and prejudices.  Its vision is for diverse, inclusive, gender-equitable, and violence-free communities.

Our Vision  

We envision inclusive and gender-equitable communities living violence-free. 

Our Team

Janine Fernandes-Hayden

Janine Fernandes-Hayden

Executive Director

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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.

 

David Norget

David Norget

Pass it On Boys Adult Facilitator

David is an impassioned educator of kids, youth, and adults and 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: from daycare, special education, and counselling to business, coaching business and nonprofit individuals, human resources management, and organizational consulting for private businesses. He has also furthered his education in counselling and coaching.

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

Kate Nash

Kate Nash

Pass-It-On Girls Adult Facilitator and Facilitator, the Respect Project

After being at home with three babes in a row, Kate felt re-inspired to work with youth again when she discovered the Pass It On project. She really feels pulled to work and connect with youth, especially young women, communicating and facilitating all the inspiring ideas they have.

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

Daniel Squizzato

Daniel Squizzato

Peace Kids Facilitator

Daniel has been working as a Teacher On Call in School District #64 since 2016, after obtaining his Bachelor of Education from Vancouver Island University. Before arriving on Salt Spring, he worked predominantly in the journalism industry, though he’s also had numerous jobs working with youth, from camp counsellor to soccer referee.

Daniel is actively involved in the theatre and soccer communities on Salt Spring and will take advantage of any opportunity to bring either (or both) of these into the classroom. He’s also pleased, since beginning work with SWOVA in late 2018, to have the chance to bring the message of violence prevention and community engagement to the young people of this district.

Sharyn Carroll

Sharyn Carroll

Program Trainer

Sharyn began working with youth as a teenager while 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.

Erin Lee

Erin Lee

Bookkeeper, Administrative Coordinator

Erin Lee has worked with the SWOVA team for 3 years providing support to financial and administrative systems. Erin has lived on the island since 2010. She enjoys a busy life with her husband, Darren, and three young children. Erin brings an understanding of the needs of our island children and youth through her community involvement with the Co-op preschool, SS baseball, and Fernwood PAC.

Coreen Boucher

Coreen Boucher

Communications and Event Coordinator

Coreen is a communications specialist who is motivated to make communications as clear and effective as possible for nonprofits. She is fascinated by what it takes to reach an organization’s publics in a constantly changing and saturated media landscape.

She brings 25+ years of nonprofit experience, as a volunteer, board member and staff member. Her strengths are in promotions and publicity, social media strategy, communications planning, marketing and campaigns.

Our Volunteer Board

Sarah Koelling Belknap, MSSW, MDiv

Sarah Koelling Belknap, MSSW, MDiv

Board Chair

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Sarah 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.

James Cowan

James Cowan

Vice President

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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.

Eric Dempster

Eric Dempster

Treasurer

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Eric is married and has two sons. Last year, he retired and he and his wife moved from Edmonton back to the BC coast after a 12-year absence.

Before Edmonton, they lived in Vancouver for many years. They’ve owned property on Salt Spring since 2011 but now live on the island pretty much full time.

Eric is a Chartered Accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC.  He has worked in a few different industries during his career. His last role was as Chief Financial Officer of a fairly large private company with operations across Canada and overseas in Mongolia. He’s glad to be retired but does miss the people with whom he used to work. Having said that, Eric and his wife have met so many terrific people on Salt Spring. They consider themselves very fortunate to be here, and Eric really appreciates the opportunity to join SWOVA’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Eric Ellis

Dr. Eric Ellis

Secretary

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After 50 years as a child psychologist specializing in child protection, co-parenting five now adults, and supporting five and soon to be six grandchildren, three of whom brought me to the Island, I recognize implicitly the value of what SWOVA has created and am honoured to contribute to nurturing its development.

Andrea Little

Andrea Little

Director-at-Large

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Andrea moved to Salt Spring from Bowen Island in 2018. Having retired in 2016, she and her husband decided to move to Salt Spring to be near family. Salt Spring has been a wonderful new adventure.

Much of Andrea’s professional work was in the area of community development and project development and management. She has worked for the Vancouver School Board as a community school coordinator and community liaison in the superintendent’s office. As a consultant, she has worked with school boards in Vancouver and the lower mainland as well as with nonprofits. She has worked extensively in the areas of youth engagement and leadership, as well as marginalized and sexually exploited youth. Some projects she has helped to develop are a youth clinic, school-based daycare for teen parents, youth councils, youth programs and supports in community centres and neighbourhood houses, youth volunteer and leadership programs, adult education program for out-of-school youth, pop-up health services, mentoring programs, and supports for sexually exploited youth working in or at risk of working in the sex trade. She is thrilled to serve on the SWOVA Board.

Bill Stedwill, MEd

Bill Stedwill, MEd

Director-at-Large

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Bill is currently Vice President of GloverStedwill & Associates, a consulting firm for not-for-profit associations, along with his partner, Wayne Glover, CAE.  Previously Bill was employed by AssociationsFirst Ltd as an Education Specialist.  AssociationsFirst provided a range of services to not-for-profits ranging from membership database management to running conferences to strategic planning for boards of directors.

In particular, Bill provided education consulting advice to those associations offering certification programs for their members, working with education committees and course instructors in improving instruction and evaluation.

Prior to work with not-for-profit associations, Bill served as an Education Consultant for several boards of Education in Ontario.  This involved curriculum review, development, and implementation with school principals and teachers.  He was also a Team Leader for a family of schools which included curriculum specialists, behaviour counsellors, speech therapists, and social workers.  Related to SWOVA’s work, he was responsible several years ago for implementing the Ontario Ministry’s first resource guide for principals and teachers in identifying students experiencing family violence and the school’s responsibilities in reporting to appropriate authorities.

Support our Work

Your contributions allow us carry out our vital work in our community. Be part of building healthy relationships for now and the future and creating inclusive and gender-equitable communities living violence-free.