About The CircleEMPOWERING YOUTH FOR A BETTER TOMORROW
The Circle 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. The Circle is an incubator where strategies and solutions for violence prevention are created, nurtured, and shared.
The Circle fosters healthy relationships in order to promote communities free of violence, bullying, discrimination, assault and abuse.
The Circle, originally known as 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, The Circle 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.
The Circle’s youth programs encourage young people to challenge assumptions and learn skills that foster healthy, equal relationships.
The Circle 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.
We envision inclusive and gender-equitable communities living violence-free.
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 The Circle does is incredibly important not only for the benefit of her children and the children of her community, but for all of our children.
Pass-It-On Girls Adult Facilitator; Respect Project Facilitator
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.
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 The Circle in late 2018, to have the chance to bring the message of violence prevention and community engagement to the young people of this district.
Bookkeeper, Administrative Coordinator
Erin Lee has worked with The Circle team since 2016, 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.
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 fundraising campaigns, planning and strategy, and event coordination and promotions.
Our Volunteer Board
Sarah Koelling Belknap, MSSW, MDiv
Sarah brings to her role as a member of The Circle’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 California, Irvine, and led several congregations in the Diocese of Los Angeles. More recently, Sarah has served an Anglican congregation in Victoria.
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 Circle’s Board.
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 The Circle’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Eric Ellis
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 The Circle has created and am honoured to contribute to nurturing its development.
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 The Circle’s work and goals, and joined the board to support the organization reaching their goals.
Bill Stedwill, MEd
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 The Circle’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.