The YANA Board of Directors meets monthly on the second 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 held in October each year.
Meet the Board of Directors
Lisa wilcox (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.
sean martin (VICE-PRESIDENT)
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.
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.
eMILY CUMMINGS (Secretary)
Profile coming soon
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.
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.
Profile coming soon
Profile coming soon
I was introduced to YANA by a neighbour, and being new to the Comox Valley thought what a wonderful charity and offered to volunteer. I think of the current and future parents in the valley and how lucky they are to have such an amazing resource in their community should they ever need it. I feel it is important to volunteer and be involved in the community we live in. Everyone at YANA, the YANA volunteers and the businesses I have reached out to for donations have been some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
We moved to the valley in 2005 and shortly after, attended our first Big Love Gala. The calibre of the event, quantity of donations & generosity from guests were impressive. The event pulled at other emotions too. In my otherwise healthy family, my 2-year-old son, and later my 7-year-old son, came up against life-threatening medical conditions. I recalled the way the world stops spinning, and what help from strangers feels like. So, after serving as chair of the Family Selection Committee for Habitat for Humanity for 6 years, I learned YANA was looking for board members. I am excited to work with this exceptional organization and give back to a cause that feels personal to me.
I recently retired following a 25 year career with the RCMP in Alberta. My husband and I now happily call the Comox Valley our home. I have prior volunteer experience throughout the various communities I’ve been posted to during my career.
Being involved in, and giving back to my community is important to me. My research into not-for-profit agencies led me to YANA. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to serve on the Board of this compassionate organization.
Kelly Rusk (HONOURARY MEMBER & PAST 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.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Lesley Hunter (VOLUNTEER OFFICE COORDINATOR)
I started volunteering to make Christmas crackers and discovered an amazing new family. I love YANA.