Board & Staff

The YANA Board of Directors meets monthly on the first Thursday of each month at the YANA office at 6:30pm with the exception of August and February. The first portion of the meeting is open to the general public. We welcome people to come out to learn about the organization and to share new ideas. Our Annual General Meeting is the first Thursday in October of each year.

Meet the Board of Directors

Kelly Rusk (President)

As a now-retired member of the Comox Fire Department, I first became aware of YANA when we chose it as the main organization of choice for our donations. I learned of how YANA touched so many lives through other members of the Fire Department as well as other Comox Valley residents I met during our fundraising efforts. When I was asked to become involved as a board member, I thought it was a great opportunity for me to give back to an organization that has given so much to the families of the Comox Valley.

Lisa wilcox (vice-president)

My first introduction to YANA came in 2002 when I was at BCCH with my newborn daughter who required an extensive stay there. We were fortunate enough to not require assistance, but because of my experience then, and talking to other families at the hospital who had needed to travel to Vancouver who did not have anything similar to rely on, I decided to help YANA through fundraising for the annual bike ride and other local fundraising events. When I was approached to consider being on the YANA board, I jumped at the opportunity. I look forward to giving time to help our local families who need to travel to obtain help outside the Comox Valley.

Sarah corrigall (treasurer)

As a long-time resident of the Comox Valley, I have heard many YANA stories and have experienced firsthand the compassion and generosity YANA provides to families in need. I was grateful to be asked to join the YANA board and I’m excited to give back to our community.

Nadia rowe (Secretary)

I learned about YANA on one of my work trips to the Comox Valley, before moving here in 2019. From having friends who benefitted from similar services when trying to keep family together during a child’s medical crisis, to having friends who so needed these services but sadly didn’t have them available in their communities, I knew as soon as I learned of YANA’s mandate that I wanted to help. I started volunteering for Big Love in 2019 and joined the YANA Board in 2021, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this amazing community.

Laura Bomback

I have been involved with YANA in various capacities over the years.  It began in 1999 when my son was 3, and we were sent to Children’s Hospital for Diabetes training.  I remain involved with YANA because I love that it is such a unique local charity that helps families stay together when their child is sick.

brent curtain

When I moved to the Comox Valley from Whistler in 2001, I learned about YANA and its amazing program assisting Comox Valley families. In 2008, we experienced that help firsthand. While our medical situation was relatively minor compared to some of the ordeals experienced by YANA families, we appreciated that a local organization was there to provide support to families that had to travel out of town for medical reasons. I am very happy to be at a stage where I can provide time and assistance to give back and support this phenomenal non-profit organization.

jason heflin

Profile coming soon

Lesley Hunter

I started volunteering to make Christmas crackers and discovered an amazing new family. I love YANA.

sean martin

Our extended family has lived in the Comox Valley for over 30 years, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2019 when my wife, our eldest daughter, and I officially made the Valley our home too. We had known about the great work YANA has done for many years – and always made the YANA Ride an official family event on our calendars. In early 2020, right before the pandemic we experienced the generosity of YANA first hand, and had to up root our family and live away from home for last trimester of our second daughter’s pregnancy. At the time it seemed like our whole world was falling apart, and YANA provided us with hope and organization throughout a difficult time. Our circumstances have changed since that time, and now I am honoured to give back to an organization that helped us through one of the most challenging times for our family.

genevieve mcnamee

As a long time Comox Valley resident, I have been familiar with the great work of YANA for many years. Like many families in the Comox Valley, in 2017, my family was touched by YANA’s generosity when my niece was born. Our family believes that giving back to our community makes it the best place to live, work and play. I am honoured to have been accepted to the YANA board and am grateful for the opportunity to give back and be part of YANA’s success.

ashley smith

Originally from the prairies, the Comox Valley has been home to my son Levi and I since 2008. Now as an official empty nester, my partner Geoff and I spend our free time pursuing outdoor adventures with my dog, Lucy and spending time with a fantastic network of friends.
Having first-hand experience with the devastating financial and emotional toll that having a sick child can take on a family, I served as a proud and passionate board director with YANA between 2017 and 2021 and am thrilled to return to YANA once again and I’m looking forward to the upcoming year of fundraising for Comox Valley Families.

 

Meet the Staff

 

Kelly Barnie (executive director)

I have had the honour of working in nonprofit leadership for most of my career. I learned about YANA soon after my family and I moved to the Comox Valley in 2010. While working and volunteering in children’s sports, I kept hearing stories about how this wonderful organization helped local children and families. I heard about how the community rallied together to provide donations to make the support possible. To me, YANA represents exactly what makes this such an extraordinary place to live – families, friends, colleagues and community leaders helping, spreading love, and wrapping each other with caring and compassion when it’s needed most. I’m so grateful to be part of this inspiring organization that helps families access the care that they need, knowing their community has their back every step of the way. You can reach me at kellybarnie@yanacomoxvalley.com.

shormila bakshi (Community Relations coordinator)

I have been lucky enough to call the Comox Valley home since my husband and I moved here from England with our two sons in 2008. I learned about YANA and the wonderful work they do soon after our move and our family started participating in the annual Ride with our sons cycling every distance from their first family ride to their first 100km in 2019. The mission and values of this organization are a testament to the sense of community and willingness to help that make the Valley such a special place to live. I feel both excited and privileged to have the opportunity to work with such an inspirational organization and play an active role in ensuring we are able to continue to help local children and families when they need it most, for years to come. You can reach me at shormila@yanacomoxvalley.com.

Kourtney Van Velzen (Client services)

I have had the amazing opportunity to be born and raised here in the wonderful Comox Valley! Being from a Military family I have been lucky enough to touch ground in almost every province but always found a way back home here in the Comox Valley.  With a family of my own now I can’t imagine raising my son anywhere else but here! From our small local farms, to the mountains, to the beach you can tick off all the boxes needed to live an exciting life. Being a part of the client care team with YANA is the ultimate blessing. I hope to help create a community of diversity, inclusion, and a sense of welcoming and respect for all who come through our doors little or big. We are here for you, always!  You can reach me at support@yanacomoxvalley.com

Andrea postal (SPECIAL PROJECTS)

I have been in the Valley most of my life, and can’t remember a time when YANA wasn’t a household name. In recent years we’ve had the privilege of taking part in events like Big Love, and as a family, we’ve experienced firsthand the gift that YANA is during a difficult time. I’m thrilled to be a part of the client care team to not only help fill the immediate needs families have, but to provide empathy and compassion to each family we have the privilege to serve, alongside this beautifully supportive community who keeps this amazing program thriving.

 

 

KELTIE SCHALM (YANA connects)

I am forever grateful that my husband and I are able to live in the Comox Valley, a community that is truly an amazing place to live and a great place to raise a family. As a busy mom of twins (plus 1 more) who once needed the support of YANA, they hold a special place in my heart and I knew that I wanted to be involved in working with such a great organization. Being a part of the YANA team is something that brings passion & embodies a work ethic second to none. It is an honour to support families in their times of need and be a part of such a loving and compassionate organization.