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Staff Hi’s & Hello’s!

Three staff are standing and laughing in an reception area. One staff member holds a sign that says, "Hi! Hello"

It has been a while since we have done introductions to some of the newer folk who are doing amazing work with us here at VSAC, so – here are some Hi’s and Hello’s!

Nichola Watson Victim Service Support Worker & Crisis Counsellor

Nichola smiling wearing a bright yellow and green scarf. Nichola Watson identifies as African-Jamaican.  Nichola was born on the Caribbean island of Jamaica.  She received citizenship to live on unceded Canadian land since 1988.  Presently, she is a graduate student in the Psychology of Counselling Program at City University at the British Columbia, Langford Campus.

Nichola is convinced that because culture represents everything she is, it should be credited for nurturing the counselling practitioner she wishes to become.  Furthermore, Nichola believes her rich African-Jamaican values, beliefs and traditions speak to the core of her identity.  Specifically, her cultural identity is grounded in the strength and connectedness of community.

Nichola joined VSAC’s team in June 2016.  Nichola was attracted to VSAC’s mission statement, values, and beliefs, and its “commitment to ending sexualized violence through healing, education, and prevention”.  As a feminist, and working in concert with the team at VSAC, Nichola is “dedicated to supporting women and all Trans survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, through advocacy, counselling, and empowerment”.

Sharde Long: Volunteer Coordinator & Admin Assistant

a seflie of Sharde smiling wearing a life vest. I am VSAC’s  kind-of-new coordinator of volunteers/ part time administrative assistant extraordinaire!! (It counts if you give yourself the title..right?)  I came to VSAC through volunteering for the Sexual Assault Response Team and transitioned to being an employee last winter.

My role at the agency is to find awesome folks like you who want to be involved with the centre and match them with a volunteer role at the agency!  We have a team of dedicated volunteers who are doing some amazing things in the community!  I feel so lucky to be a part of something great.  For the past 8 years I have worked in municipal government and making the jump to non-profit was the best decision I have ever made.  There is something amazing to be said to be working with a group of diverse people who are all striving to make our community (and world) a better place.

I have always been interested in finding ways to create equality within our society. I have a BA in Social Sciences with a major in psychology  with hopes to one day pursue my Masters.  In the meantime you can find me enjoying the west coast!  I’m a sometimes outdoorsy, adventure seeking person of many interests!

Shannon Weinkauf –Victim Services Support Worker

Shannon smiling with the ocean behind herHello! I have had the pleasure of being part of the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre since June 2016, in the role of Victim Support Worker. I fell into this position at the recommendation of a friend to apply to the job posting and it has been the greatest fit for me. I am forever grateful to this friend.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and spent ten years employed with the Government of Saskatchewan as a Probation Officer, specializing in the area of Domestic Violence. I was a part of the Domestic Violence Court in Saskatoon and facilitated multiple programs about intimate partner violence. I fulfilled a dream of becoming a Certified Life Coach in 2015 and began my own life coaching business.  Seeking change both personally and professionally, I ventured to the west coast to see what life had to offer.

My position at VSAC has allowed to me to combine my experience working within the justice system and my passion of helping people move forward through adversity they have encountered. My role has me providing others with information on the justice system and facilitating contact between Police, Crown Prosecutors, the Court and other community agencies. The justice system can be intimidating to many and it is my job to make it a less scary place. Working with survivors of sexual assault has validated my belief in the resilience and strength of the human spirit. I feel fortunate that I am able to support survivors through their journey and assist them in seeing their individual strength in times when they are doubting theirs.

I am honored that survivors trust me enough to be included in their process.

Tanille Geib –Resource Development & Communications Coordinator & Auxiliary Prevention Educator

Tanille sitting down on a flowerbed ledge , smiling, wearing colourful pink and blue dress and blouse.Hello folks! My name is Tanille and I am the outgoing Resource Development & Communications Coordinator and an incoming Auxiliary Prevention Educator. Here at VSAC, I am fortunate enough to connect my passion with theirs as an organization rooted in respect for all survivors through education, healing, and prevention.

I am passionate about the human condition and human connections! I am an artist, curriculum developer & facilitator in healthy human sexuality, birth doula, writer, yoga teacher, director, fundraiser, producer, advocate, filmmaker, intimacy coach, and passionate cook. I ride my bicycle Lyrica daily and I am obsessed with Brussels Sprouts.

I feel it is quite an extraordinary opportunity to understand and acknowledge all of what an intersectional feminism, decolonial practicing, Trans inclusive community can accomplish with the support of government, grants, foundations, individuals, events and sponsors through VSAC’s clear commitment to end sexualized violence. I am honoured to be here and serve this community in many facets.

Kara Taylor – Resource Development & Communications Coordinator

Kara reading a book called, "Show your work!"Hi there folks! I am very happy to be back “home” (at VSAC) after a one year medical leave of absence.

A little about me:  I am a white settler on these territories. I am a queer, sick/disabled femme with a passion for accessibility. I have 2 children, ages 14 and 10, and a partner with which I share my life. I am also writing my PhD dissertation on Trans, Two-spirit, and Genderqueer health care.

Previously at VSAC I worked coordinating the Community-Based Response Network, as well as Resource Development and Communications. I bring this mix of academic, personal, and professional experiences with me as I return to the Resource Development team.

Michelle Moreno: Admin Assistant

Michelle smiling wearing glasses and lots of greenery behind MichelleHi friends! My name is Michelle. I feel grateful to have been hired on as an Administrative Assistant and Receptionist here at VSAC.

Though I am new to the organization I am no stranger to activism and community engagement in town. I have an undergraduate degree in Gender Studies from UVic, and have been volunteering my time with various community orgs and advocacy groups since 2010 including, Uvic Pride, The Students of Colour Collective, VIRCS, Anti-Dote, and AltPride to name a few. I am passionate about creating safer and inclusive spaces for people of colour, two spirit, queer, and trans identified people.

I facilitate workshops on a variety of topics including anti-oppression, anti-racism, decolonization, inclusive queer organizing, and gender based violence. The other part of my resistance toolkit, however, has got to be art and music. I play the drums and guitar, and moonlight as a rockstar when playing with my band Rosacea on weekends. So in addition to facilitating I love hosting creative workshops with other artists of colour, encouraging marginalized people to express themselves through music, poetry, and drawing.

My identity as a queer person of colour is inseparable from the nature of the work that I do. That is why I am excited and hopeful that my presence at VSAC will continue growing our organizations capacity to service all kinds of marginalized surivivors. I look forward to all of the learning and growing I can do here at VSAC, too