Administrative Staff

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 (on leave until January 2021)

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.

Aoife (Eva) Kelly – Administrative Assistant

Counselling Staff

Kathryn Priest-Peries, M.S.W., Ph.D.(cand.), R.C.C., R.S.W (Program Manager/Therapist)

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.

Kent Apa’Tsti Danielson, M.S.W., R.S.W. (Therapist)

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.

Jayne Simpson, MSW-ITR (Therapist)

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 (Therapist)

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.

Casey Edgar-George, BA, MSW-ITR (Therapist)

Casey is Nuu-Chah-Nulth from Ditidaht First Nation and Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation, which are both located on Vancouver Island. Casey’s traditional name is Usmapt, which translates to ‘Oldest Most Precious One.’ Casey uses culture as healing while working with Indigenous people and communities. She hopes to teach traditional knowledge to Indigenous folks who wish to connect back to their culture.

Dan’s Legacy Foundation Board of Directors

Guyle Clark – President

Guyle is a graduate of UBC Law and current partner at Clark | Woods LLP, focusing on personal injury law. After spending two years on Burnaby’s Board of Variance, Guyle was recently appointed to Burnaby’s Parks, Recreation & Culture Commission by Mayor Derek Corrigan. An avid golfer, hockey player and bowler, he and his wife Michelle recently celebrated becoming parents for the first time.

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, a former Director on the Fraser Patient Care Quality Review Board, and is currently the Board Vice Chair and Chair of the Governance Committee of the Delta Police 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.

Amber Magee CPA – Treasurer

Amber is a Chartered Professional Accountant with 8 years of experience in public practice. In 2009 she left KPMG to work in a variety of industries including sports and entertainment, aviation, natural products, agriculture and real estate financing/investing. Amber’s finance-based work has been primarily for and with owner/operators which allowed her to obtain more operations-based experience as well as the opportunity to present complex information efficiently and effectively. She has some experience working with charities and is eager to get engaged, learn new things and help wherever needed. Amber is a foodie, and loves to travel and spend time with her family and friends.

Darin Froese – Secretary

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.

Shannon Elliott – Director

Shannon is a public health nurse with 35 years’ experience working primarily with children and families, focusing on health promotion through education and providing access to resources and other supports. As part of this work she is familiar with trauma-informed practice, and as an instructor with the undergraduate nursing program at BCIT, has focused much of her efforts on social justice issues. Shannon co-created an Indigenous health course and a Global health course that are mandatory for students in the nursing program. She is impressed by Dan’s Legacy’s outreach work, especially the practical ways in which the therapists meet the youth where they are. Shannon is eager to continue her work in social justice issues as well as be an ally to reconciliation, which she believes are strong assets that she brings to the Board of Directors.

Kyle Demes – Director

Kyle has built a successful career as a researcher and research administrator in BC. After studying human impacts on BC coastal ecosystems, he joined the Hakai Institute, where he worked to develop collaborative research partnerships spanning multiple universities, governments, First Nations, industry, and non-profits. Kyle is now a Director at Simon Fraser University, where he leads a team in the development of large-scale research initiatives. He has received international recognition for his work in identifying and removing barriers to collaborative research and has a reputation for building bridges between people and across institutions to work together on shared challenges. As both a scientist and active member of the LGBTQ2S+ community, Kyle advocates for decision-making and provision of services that are informed by both scientific evidence and diverse perspectives. Robust evidence suggests that trauma-informed services are critical for youth to achieve their full potential in society and he is keen to leverage his connections, knowledge, and experience to advance the mission of Dan’s Legacy.