Who We Are


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Brooke Oxley, posAbilities

Brooke has lived in Toronto, Guelph, Cortes Island, Victoria and Vancouver – residing in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood since 2004. Other than the mountains and ocean, her favourite feature about this city is the diversity of people and cultures coming together on Coast Salish land to find home and sense of place with each other. Brooke has a certificate in Permaculture Design from Linnaea Farm and a Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting from Douglas College. She enjoys hearing people’s stories, dancing, swimming and puttering in her garden. A lifelong learner with a curious mind, Brooke believes communities really do have the power to nurture change for the greater good, if we all can all just slow down and start listening to each other.


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Francis Heng, posAbilities

Francis is a “Made-in-Singapore” human who moved to Vancouver in 2001. He joined the Building Caring Communities team in November 2013 as a Community Connector. Francis is a visual and performance artist and facilitator who is passionate about social justice and community building. He devotes much of his time engaging in multiple projects surrounding community art, environmental justice, place-making, community development, First Nations issues, gender equity, social inclusion and the new economy. Francis believes in kindness and compassion. He started writing a kindness blog in 2008, raising awareness about the importance of living a compassionate life. Some of Francis’ interests include parkour, eclectic folk music and cat cuddling.


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Katherine Howell, posAbilities

Katherine is native to Alberta, and made the great migration out west in 2005 when she moved to Victoria to pursue a BA of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Island life was blissful and serene, but she was excited to relocate to the big city – that is, Vancouver – in the fall of 2013 with Thomas, her partner in crime. She joined the Building Caring Communities team in November 2013, and has grown to adore Vancouver and its myriad of eclectic communities. She keeps busy with many things – cooking, crafting, dancing, exploring Vancouver’s streets, singing, board-gaming and just generally being a ‘chatty Kathie’. Katherine is a big advocate for the environment, community inclusion and holistic healing modalities. Friends call her passionate, goofy and big-hearted. She believes there is no better job in the world than that of being a Community Connector. She loves meeting new people and lives by the mantra that welcoming, inclusive individuals and communities are abundant, and that every individual we meet has a gift to be shared. She has been busy as of late putting these principles into action in her own community. She can’t wait to meet you!


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Nick Janzen, BACI

Nick joined the Building Caring Communities team in January of 2014 after working for many years as a Community Support Worker. He is an incredibly creative and eclectic person, and is passionate about the arts, music and creative collaboration of any kind as his greatest joy comes from connecting with people. After completing his Bachelor of English at the University of Victoria and relocating to Vancouver, Nick brought his passion for community-building to the Building Caring Communities team. He has worn many hats in his adult life: poet, painter, caregiver, mentor, musician, barista, gardener, student, teacher and bearded guy. But he would tell you the most exciting hat of all has been that of Community Connector. It allows him to employ all these passions and strengths to help others create new and exciting opportunities and connections.


Megan

Megan Haliburton, posAbilities

Megan is a social butterfly who escaped from Toronto to the beautiful West Coast in September 2014. She’s lively and fun, and more than anything else, she loves to laugh. Megan has a diploma in Developmental Services Work from Humber College in Toronto, and loves bringing creativity and art to her work. In her spare time, you may catch Megan watching documentaries on Netflix, hiking a new trail, knitting, board-gaming, trying to garden, creating artwork, or meandering through various community events.  Megan knows first-hand the strength that lies in community connections through her experiences with Katimavik, and loves that her role as a community connector allows her to expand on this. Megan has an uncanny ability to connect with others, and her friends find comfort in her reliability. Megan loves to help out whenever and however she can, and you’ll be sure to see her doing it with a big, bright smile.


Matt Carpenter

Matt Carpenter, BACI

Matt is a creative jack-of-all trades. He ventured to Vancouver from the plains of Alberta in 2008 to pursue a career in makeup art for TV and film. Several years and a change of heart later he re-focused himself towards working with and for people. This trajectory has led to Matt facilitating outdoor and leadership activities for people of all ages in urban and natural environments, from canoeing on the ocean to snowshoeing in the mountains. He is currently a Community Connector with the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion and is in the process of obtaining a degree in Child and Youth Care Counselling at Douglas College in Coquitlam, BC. Matt is passionate about making visual art, playing music, being emerged in nature, staying connected to his friends, family and community.


 

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Julian Avelino, Simon Fraser Society

Julian was born and raised in Coquitlam. As a lifelong resident of the “burbs” you can find Julian launching his kayak from the many different beaches and launch spots around the lower mainland. He is also an avid martial arts geek, spending a lot of his time watching combat sports. To further his martial arts passion, Julian trains and teaches classes at a Muay Thai Kickboxing gym in North Burnaby, you can catch him there most nights of the week. He is also a committed dog owner, taking his large German Sheppard for off leash adventures every day, rain or shine. Julian currently facilitates a Youth Leadership Council, where council members learn important leadership skills as they transition to different stages in their lives. After graduating from SFU in December 2015 with a degree in Philosophy, he began working as a Community Support Worker. But at the root of it all, Julian embodies what it is to be a student, having a passion for learning and the growth. His friends consider him to be open to new ways of thinking, as he always welcomes fresh perspectives. As one of the newest Connectors, Julian couldn`t be more excited to be a part of the BCC Team!


Christine Townley, Inclusion Powell River

Christine Townley, Inclusion Powell River

Christine to most, Chris to some, Chrissy to only one but her favorite title is by far ‘mom’ or ‘mommy’, for her biggest passion and accomplishment is family.  She’s a happily married,  tomato loving, ‘true gemini’ who loves anything outdoors.  Born with the innate quality of a genuinely good heart, Christine is described as quirky, unique and filled with a intuitive kindness that has often drawn people toward her since time unmemorable. Christine believes in the power of kindness and feels deeply she was put on this planet to help create happiness.

 


Linh Pham, BACI

Linh Pham, BACI

At a young age while helping her parents run their business on the roads of Hanoi, Linh developed her love for the rawness of the street and its people. Growing up in a culture where having the sense of community is fundamental, some of her most memorable lessons were stories shared by community members. Linh left home in 2009 to pursue the Bachelor of Science in Economics at the University of Minnesota to better understand the stark divergence of social welfare that she observed first hand. Having had the privilege to work with ethnic minorities, immigrants, refugees and women in marginalized communities, she believes in small changes and big dreams. After exhibiting her superpower in withstanding -40-degree winters, Linh moved to Vancouver in 2014 to further test her power in braving through the incessant rain. She obtained a Master in Economic Development at the University of British Columbia and joined the Building Caring Communities team in 2016. As a community connector, Linh works to honor people’s hidden narratives that push past genres and extend beyond words. Linh may never run for a bus, but she is always willing to go the extra mile for people. In her free time, Linh takes these mantras to the streets. You might have seen her wandering the streets of Vancouver with her cameras, capturing strangers’ faces between strange places. She unwinds by expressing herself through dancing, photography, writing, playing guitar, and teaching mathematics. Linh can’t wait to tell you her stories (in first-person perspective :p) and is looking forward to be inspired by yours.

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