CYCABC Board Member Biographies
We are happy to announce our new FULL board as elected at the AGM 2015. We are excited to get started on our 2015/2016 member initiatives.
Check out our membership page to find out how YOU can become a part of the movement!!
Janet Westcott B.A. CYC– Chair
Janet Westcott has served on the CYCABC Board of Directors for since 2009. Most recently, Janet has served as the board’s Acting Chair. Janet’s interests include expanding the Association’s profile and developing a hub for Child and Youth Care practitioners. Janet has been as a dedicated CYC Counsellor for approximately 15 years, and is currently a Residential Program Manager for Hollyburn Family Services, managing multiple programs serving clients with special needs. She has experience working with a diverse population. She was the first supervisor of the North Shore Youth Safe House, a youth shelter aiming to reduce homelessness run by Hollyburn Family Services in North Vancouver. Her past experience includes work in communities such as Squamish and the Sea to Sky Corridor, North Vancouver and East Vancouver and includes duties such as program development, enhancing community profile, fundraising, care plan development and execution, and stabilization of high-risk behaviours. She was an integral member of the committee to open the Squamish Youth Resource Center. Janet has spent the last 11 years working in residential stabilization and assessment programs for children and youth. She has supported people experiencing substance use, high-risk behaviours, mental health issues, abuse and neglect as well as children, youth and young adults with multiple diagnosis including Autism, ADHD and FASD.
Cassandra Gouschuk – Vice Chair
Cassandra works with Hollyburn Family Services as the supervisor of two residential programs. Cassandra has been a dedicated and driven Child and Youth Care Counselor for 6 years and has enjoyed working with youth of all backgrounds. Cassandra has worked in various communities including Squamish, Vancouver as well as North and West Vancouver. Cassandra believes in working to address all emotional, spiritual, mental and physical needs of every youth that she works with. Cassandra is currently working toward furthering her education in hopes of having a greater impact on the outlook and direction of the field of Child and Youth Care Counseling. Cassandra is enthusiastic about being an active member of Child and Youth Care Association of British Columbia and creating a movement for change that needs to come.
Jessica McCallum – Diploma CYCC – Treasurer (Treasurer@cycabc.com)
Jessica is a residential youth worker for Hollyburn family services in North Vancouver. She has her diploma in Child and Youth Care and has been working with youth and families for 7 years. This includes running after school programs for pre-teen girls with the Vancouver school board, supporting teen mothers as they transition into independence and running summer day camp groups for the City of Vancouver. This is her first year on the board but she has been an active member in the Association for over a year. She is enthusiastic about the work that the Association is doing and she is looking forward to being a part of the positive changes that lay ahead.
Duncan Keist – Secretary
Duncan has worked in youth services since 2008, and is currently a youth worker at Hollyburn Family Services. He has had numerous frontline and supervision roles for both the private and public sectors. He has been involved in many programs and services in community centres, daycares, schools, shelters, camps and homes. He has extensive experience working with children, youth and young adults who come from a variety of backgrounds and who have a range of abilities and diverse care needs. Duncan has two degrees in social sciences from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and certificates in behaviour, safety and crisis management. Duncan has a strong passion for working with young people and inspiring them to develop maturity and citizenship.
Ginna Abramovitch – Member at Large (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am a first generation immigrant from the USSR. My parents took risks to come to Canada because they believed in it as a country that upheld human rights and offered opportunities for a peaceful and prosperous life. Since I was 11 years old I have grown up in Canada and had, for the most part, seen my parents’ dream realized. I have retained strong ties to my country of birth (now, once more, Russia) as well as to the vision of Canada that my parents brought with them.
In my 17 years of professional experience, I have been privileged to work within multiple layers of the Canadian systems of social and mental health care: child protection, youth corrections, youth residential care, child and youth mental health (hospital setting), among others. I had chosen a path that took me to the margins of society, which offered an invaluable perspective and opportunities to learn from truly inspirational people.
I am a strong advocate for what I consider to be basic rights of citizenship: affordable housing and childcare; free and accessible medical care and disability allowances; and strong connections with community-based supports.
Through my work, I have developed a conviction: there is a better way to support people who are struggling. Notably, I have seen caring people perform miracles with extremely limited resources. However, this is hardly a sustainable strategy for a comprehensive system of care. I believe that the way forward is through mutual understanding between all parties – governments, service providers, individuals and families – and an openness to working together as equal partners. Such collaboration is possible, because the alternative is unacceptable. There is a way and we will get there, together.
Susan Hunt – Member at Large
I began my journey as a Child and Youth Worker (CYW) in Ontario in 1994. After completing a 3 year diploma in CYW. I relocated to the Vancouver to begin my career. I started working for Hollyburn Family Services in 1997 until 1999 and, in that time, I gained an enormous amount of experience working with youth in one of their assessment programs in North Vancouver before moving into a position of Family Support Worker in another part of the agency. In 1999, I began working for MCFD at the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre where I am still currently employed. Throughout my career at the Maples, I have enjoyed enormous personal and professional growth. I have worked in a front line Child Care role in the Crossroads Program with forensic youth; the Orinoco and Bifrost Programs working from an Attachment Model of family support; the Response Residential and Community Programs completing Child Care assessments as part of our comprehensive Care Plan report; and the Dala Residential and Community Reintegration programs working with youth who are struggling with mental illness. During this time I have also worked part-time for East Vancouver Family Services as a Family Support Worker as well as the North Vancouver School District as an on-call Behaviour Specialist. Over the years I have enjoyed witnessing the growth of the CYC profession and working alongside community partners in multi-disciplinary team environments. I have always enjoyed learning and exploring new paths within the field of Child and Youth Care and I am currently upgrading my education by completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Youth Care at UFV.
Trevor White – Member at Large
Taelor Taylor – Member at Large