Executive Director – oversees development and management
of Vela Society’s work. As well, she provides direct support
and facilitation to many Vela Microboards and individuals
accessing support with CLBC’s IF funding stream. Linda’s
other responsibilities include: project development; consulting
support to families and organizations outside of B.C.; providing
workshops and presentations; and initiating networking opportunities
with other like-minded organizations.
was a 2006 finalist for the YWCA’s Women of Distinction
Award for Community Development. She recently received the
B.C. Big Picture Award for 2011. Linda has advocated and
worked for/with people with disabilities for nearly forty
years. It was Linda who developed Vela’s first Microboards
in 1989, and whose unparalleled commitment and leadership
ever since has been pivotal and central to Vela’s growth
and development. Vela’s many successes can be attributed
to her over twenty years as our Executive Director.
and friends play an integral role in Linda’s life. She is
the proud mother and grandmother t o her daughter, Brandy,
and granddaughters, Samantha and Faith both amazing girls
with special needs. Linda and her husband Bryan are also
in the process of adopting to five exceptional and delightful
children. Her large and boisterous family is a source of
joy and inspiration for Linda.
Holder - facilitator -is the parent of three children,
two of whom have disabilities. Jeanette has been involved
in advocating for the right of all children to be fully integrated
into their community and for families to receive financial
support from government, in three provinces.
Jeanette developed a Vela Microboard for her own daughter,
Jennifer, who lived in her own home with a roommate for two
and half years before passing away in 1998, at the age of
Now that her other two children have moved away from home,
Jeanette has more spare time. She enjoys gardening, hiking
and cooking with her husband.
Jeanette has supported the development of Microboards on Vancouver
Island since 1992. She brings a wealth of practical knowledge
and skills to her position as a facilitator with Vela Microboard
facilitator - Lori Emanuels originally trained as a licensed
Practical Nurse. She has been a Vela facilitator for nearly
Lori grew up in the Okanagan. As an adult she moved to the
Lower Mainland raising her two sons, Chuck and Joe, in Cloverdale.
Lori is deeply committed to her children and her extended
family. She has been a strong and consistent advocate for
Chuck, who has autism, throughout his life. Lori in partnership
with her son Joe, continues to ensure Chuck has a full and
Lori has used her talents as an advocate for Chuck to support
and advocate for other individuals with special needs and
for their families.
- facilitator - Terry lives in Prince George with her husband
Gord, son Drew and daughter Bree. Her daughter Bree-Anna
has Cerebral Palsy. To meet the many needs Bree-Anna has
Terry's family has become involved in many groups and organization
over the years.
Terry has served on a variety of local committees with Social
Service, sat on SunnyHill’s Parent Advisory Committee, and
joined Family Support Institute in the mid ‘90’s.
In 1997 Terry joined the Family Summit group eventually
becoming part what is presently the Community Living Coalition.
Thomas - Kim is the Vela Office Manager and as such provides the important administrative and communication link between families, staff and support services. Kim is passionate about her work with Vela and believes strongly in the goals and important work done by the organization. Kim brings a diverse set of personal and management skills to complement the Vela team. Kim’s background is in office administration and service management. Kim grew up in Burnaby and now lives in Fort Langley with her husband and daughter. Kim is a past commissioner and longtime Guide Leader. Kim maintains her strength and motivation through her valued relationships with family, friends and colleagues.
was born and raised in the Kootenays and moved to the lower
mainland in 2005 in order to complete her degree in Child
Development Psychology. She currently resides in Coquitlam
and enjoys spending time with her family and friends whenever
possible. Caitlin has worked with people with disabilities
all her life, starting out by helping with her disabled
foster siblings. In more recent years she has worked for
individuals that have their own microboards giving her a
deeper understanding of the difference that support and
service can make in the lives of individuals living with
special needs and their families.
Sylvie spent her childhood between the tiny island of Cortes
and the big city of Vancouver. While she maintains a strong
connection to the island she has lived in Vancouver with
her husband since 2007. In 2010, shortly after completing
her BA in Sociology, she joined the Vela team. Her role
as facilitator was a natural next step after her previous
jobs working with people with varying abilities and needs
such as Peer Counselor, Learning Assistant, Therapy Assistant,
and Community Connector. Her career path in the helping
professions likely began at an early age. Growing up with
a sister with Down Syndrome in a family that unceasingly
advocated for her inclusion instilled in Sylvie a passion
for helping others to overcome barriers to living fully
supported and active lives. She will be going back to school
to complete an MA in Occupational Therapy in September 2011.