Sarah Downey – Executive Director
Sarah has a twenty year history of developing, supporting, advising and managing – charities, non-profit societies and co-operative organizations. Sarah holds a BA Honours Degree in Indigenous Studies and Fine Arts and has an extensive background in youth work. Sarah has been a Power of Hope facilitator for over ten years, and also a camp manager for many years. She brings with her a wide range of skills and passions that are a perfect fit for our vision. Some of her key interests are creating a more cohesive community for PoH youth and facilitators, expanding our circles of support, and partnering with like-minded organizations. Sarah lives in Victoria BC and is the mother of two teenagers.
Emily Coldwell – Administration
Emily is a previous Power of Hope youth, and has since been an arts facilitator for over five years, and stepped into the role of camp manager in 2015. Passionate about creating music, writing, and self-discovery through the arts, Emily brings a deep passion for youth work and a balanced perspective to the organization. Emily is a Jane of all trades, taking on our bookkeeping, being a point person for anyone hoping to attend camps, and helping in program management.
Current Board Members
Johanna Robertson – Chair
Johanna is a Power of Hope Canada Alumni and a strong advocate for community-based youth empowerment through the arts. She lives in East Vancouver, sharing a neighbourhood with many program facilitators & staff. She is working with a Canadian software company to empower patients through specialist care and designs textiles on the side. Johanna has a hunger to make the world a better place by engaging youth — a mission inspired by her experience in the Power of Hope summer camps. Her time at PoH also gave her a deep love of group singing & gumboot dancing.
Bill Weaver – Vice Chair
For four decades, Bill has produced, written, directed, shot, and edited films that touch hearts and build bridges of understanding. He uses that experience to create and co-create projects that trigger conversation, raise funds, and promote the missions of values-based businesses and social profit organizations. He is founder and co-facilitator of Media that Matters, a yearly conference and initiative dedicated to sparking new ideas, broadening collective wisdom, and building a stronger, smarter community among media professionals from all disciplines of conventional and unconventional media. He is also an advisory board member for the Reel Youth Film Festival.
Colleen McCormick manages the social innovation file in the Ministry of Social Development. Her focus is to maximize social innovation in BC. She is engaged with the BC Partners for Social Impact and the Assistant Deputy Minister’s Committee for Non-Profit Partnerships, and was responsible for organizing the Premier’s Non-Profit Partnerships Social Innovation Summit. Colleen is also the National Chair of the New Professionals for the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, founder of Social Innovators Network nonprofit, and TEDxMileZero organizer. She has an MBA from Royal Roads University and is currently taking the Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo.
Founder of Gatherings Co., Caroline has set the stage for many visionary humans over her 20+ years managing events. Focusing on education, community development and the arts Caroline nurtures positive, productive relationships both within her event teams and with organizational partners. As a seasoned event manager, Caroline has conceptualized, planned and overseen the onsite execution of events such as corporate conferences, non-profit fundraisers, university-continuing education programs, trade shows, and festivals. Gathering with clear intention results in huge capacity for connection and shifts towards our shared visions. Caroline continues to be inspired by the possibilities when we bump into each other’s edges and find new growth in the spaces created between.
Vanessa LeBourdais is an artist, producer, writer and director with the charity she founded and leads, DreamRider Productions. DreamRider ‘trains superheroes of environmental protection’ through fun and engaging live theatre and interactive digital programs that have reached over 1 million kids across Canada and now in India and the U.S. Vanessa is lucky enough to spend her days dreaming up silliness, collaborating with awesome artists, and seeing her work go around the world. Hobbies include hiking, painting, boating. She also spends a lot of time talking about race in a large Facebook group she moderates, Nonprofit Happy Hour. She also was an organizer and chief songwriter for the biggest civil disobedience action in Canadian history, in Clayoquot Sound, BC.
Justine was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. Her background and education is in dance, teaching and performing. She has worked closely with youth through the arts, music, sports and cultural dancing for over 10 years and facilitated for the first time at Power of Hope in 2018. When she is not on the dance floor she works seasonally in the reforestation industry, and in her spare time you can find her making all-natural body products for her small business. Justine is deeply passionate about the arts, teaching, dance, music, family, and being in nature.
Kai attended Power of Hope camps for four years as a youth. Now she is pursuing her undergraduate degree at Quest in Squamish. She is an advocate for arts-based empowerment and activism within her community. Kai owns and seasonally operates a kayak guiding company on Cortes, and spends as much time as she can outdoors. In her spare time she loves to hike, make art, and spend time with her family.
Sarah is a counselor in private practice in Victoria BC and offers holistic counselling to individuals, couples and families. She has worked with youth in roles of educator, psychotherapist and wilderness guide for over 25 years, sometimes combining all three roles in nature-based therapy or eco-psychology with individuals and groups. She has worked with students in alternative learning environments in Ontario, Massachusetts and on Vancouver Island, and has guided groups throughout North America.
Sarah’s motivation is to support positive personal, family and cultural level changes. She embraces the idea of transformative learning and is dedicated to supporting the programs PoH offers to unleash the creative gifts and potential of young people to heal and transform our world. She finds PoH’s work particularly compelling at this time to counter narratives of bleakness and despair, inspiring creativity, collaboration and innovation to power of hope.