“I like Family Place because it has a casual style. The staff is really friendly and they have a nice way with the kids,” parent participant.
Eastside Family Place’s team is a diverse, multicultural group composed of experienced and professionally-trained social workers, teachers, early-childhood educators and family-resource practitioners. We are a small, dedicated staff consisting of full-time, part-time and casual employees, with parent group contractors and workshop facilitators providing specialized programs and resources. The following is a list of current staff and board members. We welcome your inquiries. Please contact us via telephone or email by using our contact form.
Brenda Lohrenz, Executive Director
Anda Gavala, Office Manager
Arlene English, Family Support Worker- Drop In Centre Lead
Gaye Ferguson, Family Support Worker – Programs
Gisele McClain, Family Support Worker – Childminding
Mamata Mohapatra, Family Support Worker – Drop-In Centre
Sharon Mah, Drop-In Centre
Board of Directors
Kyleen Ennis (Board Chair) is an East Van mom to two toddlers who make good use of ESFP programs. Originally from Winnipeg, she has a Bachelor of Social Work degree and Masters of Public Administration. After 10 years in direct service and director roles in the health sector, she joined the provincial civil service and later the federal government, working in policy and planning for Health Canada and most recently Fisheries and Oceans.
Graeme Brown (Board Treasurer) joined the ESFP board in December 2019. He is a resident of the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood and as a new father has been a frequent visitor to the East Side Family Place. Graeme was raised on Vancouver Island and has lived in Vancouver for the last 20 years. Graeme has a Masters of Urban and Rural Planning, and currently works as a Transportation Planner for regional government.
Kate Buium (Board Secretary) joined the Eastside Family Place board in January 2020 and is the current board secretary. Kate has lived in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood for 16 years and has two school-aged children that attend Laura Secord Elementary. Originally from Toronto, she has a Masters of Social Work and has worked in a broad range of positions in the field over the past two decades. Currently, she works with a child development research institute with a focus on the early years.
Renee Aeyelts is a mother of two living in East Van and a new member of the ESPF board. Trained as a social worker she has worked in the field of chronic mental health and substance abuse for the past 15 years in both the public and not for profit sector. Most recently she is at home with her two young children and a frequent ESFP attendee.
Sarah Dempsey is an executive director for a not-for-profit Early Learning Society (preschool and out of school care) in North Vancouver. Her background is in education management and teaching, with a focus on the early years. She believes that all children and families deserve the opportunity to feel safe, connected and healthy. As she lives very close to Eastside Family Place, Sarah is eager to give back to her local community
Angela Henning worked as a teacher and then elementary school principal for the Burnaby School District for 25 years until she retired in 2015. She worked with many diverse communities and enjoyed helping children and families develop bonds of belonging to their school. In her retirement she keeps fit by swimming, walking and cycling. She also volunteers in the community and enjoys spending time with her family. She especially loves playing with her two young granddaughters!
Adom Jeffers is a parent who’s enjoyed many morning drop-in sessions at Eastside Family Place with his young child. He has a degree in education and works with the International African Inventors Museum to deliver inclusive content to youth in schools. He also loves playing soccer whenever he can.
Jenny Ma has spent most of her life in East Vancouver where she grew up just off Commercial Drive with her 2 siblings and immigrant parents. Jenny and her partner have been grateful members of the Eastside Family Place since their daughter was born. She is the Founder of Vancouver Honeybees, a community beekeeping initiative aimed towards supporting bee populations while fostering community connections. Her insight and new ideas are things she hopes to bring with her to this role
We are very grateful to all the volunteers who make valuable contributions to Eastside Family Place on a daily basis: from sweeping the floor to cooking a hot meal, volunteers are integral to ESFP and indispensable. If you have a skill or a particular interest relevant to our programs, or if you have some extra time that you would like to give back to the community, please talk to us! We welcome your support and can help you find a meaningful volunteer opportunity. Please visit our Volunteer page for further information.