Barbara Coates – Executive Director
Barbara Coates accepted the position of Executive Director at Dan’s Legacy in September, 2016, after four years with the Marketing and Communications team at Variety – The Children’s Charity of BC. Barbara brings a 33-year background in broadcasting and communications to her role, as well as marketing, public relations and fundraising for clients in the health, not-for-profit and government sectors. She is an active and long-time volunteer, serving on numerous business, sports, educational, charitable and government committees and boards in her community of Delta. Barbara is passionate about children’s and mental health issues, and is a past Director with the Canadian Mental Health Association (Delta). She volunteers to mentor young PR professionals through the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Vancouver, is a Director on the Board of the CBC 20 Year Association and member of the Surrey Board of Trade Social Policy Committee. Barbara holds a Diploma in Broadcast Communications and a Certificate in Marketing Management/Public Relations (Distinction) from BCIT.
Tom Littlewood – Program Director
Tom was first brought in as a consultant with Dan’s Legacy, and, after working with the foundation’s board for four months, was hired to be their Director of Programs and senior counsellor. Tom graduated from Simon Fraser University with B.A. in Psychology in 1985. Over the next six years he completed his Masters in Psychology as well as two years of specialized counselling programs in various universities in Canada and the USA. He developed one of the first diversion programs for at-risk youth while working as a police counsellor and established the original affinity card campaign while being the founding Executive Director for the Selkirk College Foundation. Tom was the founder and Executive Director of the Sanctuary Foundation that for fifteen years provided work and life skills programs, counselling and the first jobs for thousands of at-risk youth in Metro Vancouver. During his last five years with the Sanctuary Foundation he worked with the Cuban Ministry of Education setting up an apprenticeship program in bike mechanics for at-risk Cuban youth. Tom has also worked as a community counsellor for a local First Nation community and as a family support worker and counsellor for a local alternative high school. For the last fifteen years he has managed and volunteered at a local surplus food cooperative.
Amy Mildenberger – Manager, Administration & Special Events
Amy first got involved with Dan’s Legacy as a volunteer while completing her studies at BCIT in Non-profit Management and Business Management. With a background in office and administration support, fundraising and special events, her various experience has made a significant impact in her work. Amy is an active member of the event industry and has worked as an events consultant for various charitable organizations, refining her skills and gaining valuable experience in all aspects of event planning and management. She believes in giving back to the community through volunteering, and is passionate about being involved with an organization that makes a difference in the lives of others.
Kent Apa’Tsti Danielson, M.S.W., R.S.W.
Kent has a Masters of Social Work from Walla Walla University, and has worked for 23 years in clinical, community-based child and youth mental health. He has recently retired from the BC Ministry for Children and Family Development. The last seven years was focused on using cultural and land-based treatment to the complexity of intergenerational trauma and disconnection with suicidal Aboriginal youth. His practice is to integrate culture connection and ceremony over psychotropic medication where possible. Mr. Danielson uses photography as a tool in mindfulness and cultural connection. He focuses on supporting youth who have aged out of care with ongoing support and adoption of community.
Kathryn Priest-Peries, M.S.W., Ph.D.(cand.), R.C.C., R.S.W
Kathryn has a Masters of Social Work from UBC and is currently working towards her PhD in Cognitive Neuro-psychology with Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has over 23 years’ experience working as a therapist in private practice, as well as with the BC Ministry for Children and Family Development and with Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services. Her dissertation research is The Assessment and Treatment of Autism using Brain-Wave Bio-Feedback.
Jayne Simpson, MSW-ITR
Jayne has a Masters of Social Work – Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency from the University of Toronto and has experience as a Wraparound Counsellor with the Broadway Youth Resource Centre working with youth using DMT, CBT, experiential exercises, emotional regulation strategies, and narrative therapies.
Danilo Jose (DJ) Villacrusis, MACP
DJ has a Master’s degree in counselling psychology from Yorkville University and has worked as a program director and substance abuse counsellor with at-risk youth for the past 9 years.
Dan’s Legacy Foundation Board of Directors
Guyle Clark – President
Guyle grew up in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, BC where he attended Burnaby North Secondary and later attended Simon Fraser University. Guyle attended law school at the University of British Columbia and then went on to article at a boutique personal injury law firm in Richmond, before moving on to a well-established general practice in Vancouver, followed by a downtown plaintiff only personal injury practice. Now, as a partner at Clark | Woods LLP, Guyle is focused exclusively on personal injury law. When he is not working, Guyle can be found hanging out with his wonderful wife Michelle Lane, whacking golf balls around the Vancouver Golf Club, chasing hockey pucks around 8 Rinks or the Burnaby Winter Club and tossing bowling balls down the alley at Old Orchard Lanes. After spending two years on Burnaby’s Board of Variance, Guyle was recently appointed to the Burnaby’s Parks, Recreation & Culture Commission by Mayor Derek Corrigan.
Peter Buxton, Q.C. – Vice-President
Peter is a trial lawyer and the managing partner at Panorama Legal LLP. He graduated from UBC in 1980 and has practiced law in BC since that time. He has served as a Director of Baseball Canada and the President of Baseball BC, the BC Minor Baseball Association and North Delta Baseball. Peter was a Parks and Recreation Commissioner in Delta for 13 years and currently sits on the Delta Police Board and the Fraser Patient Care Quality Review Board. He lives in North Delta with his wife of 40 years, together with whom has raised three sons who currently live in the Lower Mainland.
Gregg Smith CPA, CA – Treasurer
After graduation from Simon Fraser University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in accounting, Gregg joined Wolrige Mahon Chartered Accountants where he worked until his retirement at the end of 2014. During that time Gregg became a senior partner in the assurance group, professional standards group and chaired the real estate group but also worked with numerous not for profit clients and assisted in the set up of a number of private charitable foundations. It was this interest that led him to be involved with the start up of the Foundation and his continued role as Secretary/Treasurer of Dan’s Legacy.
Sierra Van Straaten – Secretary
Sierra experienced child-hood trauma after being diagnosed with cancer at a young age. She battled depression and anxiety throughout her teens, which resulted in self-medication through drug use. Sierra became addicted to crystal meth, but it was only after a couple of suicide attempts and admittance to a hospital psychiatric ward did she finally received a diagnosis for depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and polysubstance use disorder. Sierra is now on doctor prescribed medication that has helped her to stabilize, and she believes that had she received counselling earlier in her teen years she would have been able to avoid abusive relationships and the vicious cycle of addiction. Sierra is grateful for everything she has been through as she believes it is helping her to appreciate her clean, happy life today. She is dedicated to working every day to end the stigma associated with mental health and addictions issues, as she believes the more we talk about it, the more we realize most people suffer from it, and that people don’t have to suffer in silence.
Lorna Van Straaten – Director
Lorna has a long and varied career in not-for-profit and business management. She served as an Administrator with the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) for five years, and later as the organization’s Executive Director for a further five years. She also provided her considerable experience in non-profit governance as the Squamish Food Bank President and Director on the Board of the Squamish Helping Hands Society. Lorna is a past Director with the Delta Chamber of Commerce, and currently the Director of Business Development for Community Clicks Media Group. She is also the owner of Experience Delta Communications.
Darin Froese – Director
Darin has been working in the social services and housing field since 2001 at a senior management level, and is currently the CEO of the New Vista Society. His experience includes Executive Director positions at BC Housing and Income Assistance, managing portfolios in annual funding of over $400M. Darin attended Simon Fraser University and holds a Bachelor of Business degree (Finance). He has also attended the Executive Program in Public Sector Leadership at Royal Roads University, and has been involved in a number of community-based task forces and projects. He has been a Director/Treasurer on three non- profit boards. Darin resides in Maple Ridge with his wife, two daughters and a dog.
Baltej Singh Dhillon – Director
Baltej recently retired from a distinguished 29 year career with the RCMP with a meritorious record of service. Prior to his retirement he was the Officer in Charge of Emergency Preparedness for the RCMP in B.C. and is now heading the Crime, Guns, Intelligence and Investigative Group of the Combined Forces Enforcement Unit. Baltej is known for his resolve, in the face of unprecedented media attention and personal death threats, in encouraging the RCMP to change its policy allowing Sikh Officers to wear turbans, which the Government of Canada formally announced in 1990. Throughout his career he was involved in a number of high-profile cases including the Air India Crash, Pickton Serial Killer case and numerous other serious crime investigations. Service to family, community and country have always been a proud tradition in the Sikh community. Baltej has offered his support as a volunteer to countless organizations, including: youth camps as a counsellor and mentor; South Asian Advisory Committee for United Way; Past-Chair of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Alumni Association; and as a yoga instructor to participants at the Welcome Home Society who struggle with drug addiction. He currently serves as a Director on the Board of WorkSafeBC, holds an Honorary Doctorate from KPU for his contributions to the community, and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and Diamond Jubilee Medal for Community & Youth Service.