Green Wood Leadership Team
Board Member 2017 - Present
Treasurer 2017 - 2018
Board Chair 2019
Chair, Executive Committee
Born and raised in Port Hope, I have a special connection to this town and this community. After moving back in 2015 to raise my family here, I wanted to get involved with a community organization that valued a positive, inclusive, and non-judgmental approach to community building and strengthening; Free of the weights of political influence. I quickly fell in love with Green Wood Coalition. The people, the culture, and the values displayed through formal programming and every personal interaction I have witnessed. have made me a believer in the power of a connected community. When asked, I was honoured to join the board. As a board member, treasurer, and now chair, I understand how vital Green Wood Coalition is to our community. Bringing people together around a dinner table, helping with housing needs, and connecting people together are just some of the reasons I support, and will continue to work to ensure Green Wood Coalition functions in a responsible way, holding true to the values it set from inception.
Board Member 2019
Early in my career, I was working downtown at one of the first 24 hour dropping centers for folks experiencing homelessness. At the time, because many traditional institutional programs for people with severe mental illness were closing, there was a large influx of folks really struggling with mental illness living outside. The director of the shelter I was working at was really an outside-the-box thinker and believed that the key driver to homelessness was loneliness--people were disconnected from their relationships. Consequently, the whole structure of that drop-in and shelter program was focused on building connections to and between people in the community. The program was not focused on rigid program guidelines, but on creating genuine, caring community. This concept formed the foundation for my career. Since then, I have always paid attention to that idea of investing in opportunities for connection between people as one of the most sustainable and sensible efforts. I met David Sheffield while working on a project on housing and homelessness in Northumberland. My focus at the time was to restructure the connection between housing and health to foster an environment where ending homelessness was a possibility. I often think big picture. How do we shift the big systems to maximize change. David challenged me in meeting and over coffee to consider the power of relationships and connections to real people, real experiences. His work and the broader work of Green Wood Coalition constantly re-centres the conversation about change, to the power that exists through genuine connections, the magic that exits in the space between people gathering together around a meal. And here I am, wanting to become more involved in a community that is doing that keen work.
Board Member 2019
Chair, Internal Affairs Committee
I believe in the saying that 'a rising tide lifts all boats'. And to me, the work that Greenwood Coalition (GWC) does is lifting the 'boats' in our communities through its advocacy and grass roots involvement. I'm very happy to have joined the Board of Directors in the spring of 2019 in the role of Treasurer. I was first introduced to the impactful work that GWC does by my wife (Kristina) when we returned to the Northumberland area in 2012. We began to attend several of the activities that GWC organized, including attending Imaginate for several years, participating in Coldest Night of the Year and even spent a night camping by the Port Hope bandshell to better understand the implications of lived experiences.
Through these experiences – and meeting several of the GWC donors and members – I knew that this work was important and something I wanted to be part of. I'm very happy to be part of this board, part of Greenwood and will work hard to keep the boats rising.
Board Member 2016 – Present
I am passionate about volunteering with Green Wood Coalition because of the direct impact they have in this community. I feel fortunate to have grown up here & as I now find myself establishing roots in Northumberland with my own family, there is something very compelling to me about Green Wood’s work. I greatly admire the difference they make in the lives of those in need & the attention they bring to issues that require discussion.
Board Member 2016 – Present
Chair, External Affairs Committee
I have had lived experiences with homelessness, poverty and a really difficult childhood and teenage years. I can relate to the challenges many members of our community face in a deeply personal way. In my early 20s I made a conscious choice about the quality of life I wanted to have as I matured. Today, my life is really wonderful with a loving family and circle of friends. When I heard about the work that Greenwood does, it resonated with me. It gives me an opportunity to help others who may be struggling like I was. My first experience was to help with the Community Dinners because I love to cook and feed people. It has been a truly amazing experience to help out in our community in this way. Eventually I found my way to the board. I have enjoyed being a board member for two reasons: the amazing people you meet who also volunteer their time in this way; and, I get to apply my passion and skills to help the organization grow.
Board Member 2019
I grew up surrounded by schizophrenia, bipolar disease, suicide, and mental illness. I lost my cousin to alcoholism and suicide and have had my own addictions and bouts with it. I moved out of my family home at a young age, looking for help and trying to start a family, but all of that baggage kind of makes it really difficult to have a relationship. Consequently, I've always been looking for a sense of community. Eventually I became an educator and an educational administrator. It was here that I chose to join many adhoc committees and the social justice community. Upon retiring from teaching, I saw an opportunity to become involved on a deeper basis. Having suffered abuse as a young teenager at the hands of someone I trusted as an older friend, I was honoured to be accepted and spent six years on the board of Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre. As I completed my last term, the KSAC Director suggested that I approach the radically inclusive Green Wood that had fostered such a wonderful sense of community. I was hooked. I drank the Kool Aid, and it's been transformative for me. I have found that sense of community that is here and I'm happy to try and make a difference in this way.
Board Member 2018 - Present
I am a lifelong resident of the Cobourg/Port Hope area. Since childhood I have been a member of the Baltimore United Church. A few years ago, when I realized our church was stagnating, I appealed to the congregation to reach out into the community by taking on the challenge of supplying a meal at the Wednesday night Greenwood dinners 2 or 3 times per year. After receiving something less than an enthusiastic response, I decided to get involved with Green Wood personally. When I met with David to offer my volunteer service, he advised me that my offer of physical labour to assist Green Wood, although valued, would be of less importance than my willingness to sit down with others at the Green Wood dinners, talk with them and eat with them. Talking! Eating! That was volunteer work that appealed to me. Now six or so years into that role, I have come to believe the Green Wood model of welcoming all to a community meal is an excellent method of building community and strengthening souls. The challenge we face is broadening the table.
Board Member 2019
Chair, Governance Committee
I came to Port Hope as a retired hospital pharmacist and started serving on several advisory committees of Council then I was appointed to the steering committee for the Community Health Centre. I worked five years to make that happen and it was great to see it open in 2008 at 99 Toronto Road. Through that experience and working part-time as a pharmacist in community practice, I became very aware of poverty, and the health implications for people living in poverty. And I was very concerned about that.
In 2010, I ran for municipal council and attended my first Wednesday night dinner at Greenwood Tower. I occasionally came back to the dinners and David kind of drew me in. I have family experience of alcoholism and homelessness, and I was a single mother for most of my adult daughter’s life. Also, in 2010, I got involved with the Green Party and that really helped me to define my values and establish my social justice agenda, which fits so well with what Green Wood is trying to do. So over time, I became more involved and now I serve on the Board.