Committed to the Cause, Ready to Help!
Debra Abraham, appointed to the Accessibility Committee of British Columbia is the founder of Unique Get Together Society (UGTS) and a woman of Caribbean, Cree and Sioux descent. Debra brings 20+ years of experience working in social services. With a track record of getting things done, she has spent time working in group homes, women’s shelters, detox centers, foster homes, and recently, she has had success working with children who live with autism and extra needs. Passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, she left the Ministry of Children and Family Development to start UGTS so she could offer her knowledge and experience to those who need the support.
It all started with doing behavior intervention over ten years ago while attending college. I started in group homes working with kids of various ages, cognitive abilities, and physical challenges. After approximately two years of this I began to also work with children and families both in their homes and in the community. At this time my mother was working as a social worker, and we would talk about the parallels in the challenges and obstacles we both faced in providing the best service we could to the kids we worked for. Out of this frustration UGTS was born. We continued to work for and with children and families with special needs however under our own banner and with our own principles. We began our flagship summer camp program, we were able to connect with families and kids on a level which we were unable to before, and ultimately, we were able to make a more meaningful impact. Over the years we have expanded and grown to multiple programs, and areas of need however my passion remains with working with young people, teaching and learning alongside them. I am proud to say that I played a small role those first years in getting our organization up and running and am blown away by the growth of the company and the amazing tribe members who have come aboard along the way.
Kelsey McGregor has extensive experience in developing relationships with local community partners and organizations. She got her start working in writing and communications. As an individual who began her leadership journey on Parliament Hill, she also has extensive work in the non-profit sector including helping in an organization that repatriated human trafficking survivors. She oversees all aspects of our organization and continuously reviews things to ensure everything is up to date.
Marina is the Child & Youth Program Manager with Unique Get Together Society. Marina has a partner, and is very involved in her LGBTQ community. She brings with her 19 years of experience in the child and youth care field working primarily with at-risk youth and those with behavioral management issues. UGTS will be opening an inclusive childcare center in the Summer of 2022. Her views on childcare blend well with the center’s goal to meet each child’s needs on an individual basis. As the proud parent of an eight year-old energetic boy, and a 6 year-old introverted daughter, she understands the concerns of the parents entrusting the care of their children to others. She is committed to ensuring that the children thrive in the safe and enriching environment of Whole Child Childcare. Marina is grateful for the opportunity to lead the Fraser Valley Tribe, as they grow and support all members of her community.
Ikenna Emmanuel Egbujor is a Chartered Accountant with close to seven years of multinational experience in financial reporting and analysis. I am from the eastern part of Nigeria. I am currently running an MBA program here in Canada.
What makes UGTS special for me is their love, support and service for the underserved and disadvantaged, and how they confront racial and social inequalities in the communities through their support programs. Mother Theresa once said, “Love cannot remain by itself—it has no meaning, Love has to be put into action and that action is service”.
I am excited for the opportunity to make small contributions in my field towards the mission of the organization
& RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Harleen is studying Indigenous Social Work and recently completed her practicum with UGTS. Here, she really enjoyed her experience and the opportunity to learn extensively about the organization. She is interested in social work research and is excited to work on developing this area of UGTS.
Kori Kilburn, passionate and proud mother of 2 successful young adults attending university and a teenager in middle school. After nearly two decades of being a host mother to countless international students, she is delighted to be working together at Unique Get Together Society to see kids blossom and reach their potential, see them smile and light up!
Asia is a college student currently enrolled in the child and youth care program at Douglas college. She is passionate about her field of study, which allows her to support children and families in need. She looks forward to working with the team at UGTS and she is going to learn a lot from everyone. Aside from school, she has work related experiences working with children and youth volunteering for the Coquitlam summer camps. Asia has completed her first practicum at diversity community resources society, working with children experiencing challenges. She is excited to be working at UGTS as a one to one support for children, youth, and support families to achieve their goals.
& WEB DEVELOPER
Christine has been in the events and marketing industry since 2007; planning, designing, and executing many weddings, private, corporate, and fundraising events. She hopes to add to the growth of UGTS; Passionate about making a difference, Christine approaches everything with kindness and understanding first. Her passions include all levels of design, exploring nature with her family, experiencing art & cultures, connecting with people, and helping those in need in her community. She is grateful to be a part of the marketing & web team and excited to contribute to the fabric of the Unique Get Together Society.
ACCESSIBILITY COMMITTEE COORDINATOR
Magdalene has 7 years of entrepreneurial experience founding and operating the Center for Empowerment of Females with Disabilities. She also founded Lead Disability Inclusive Society BC and was a member of a number of the leadership teams servicing Cameroon. She has been an International Conference speaker, is married, and a proud mother of two. She is an international conference speaker on disability and inclusive principles and practices and a Minister of the Gospel
.She is a strong advocate of entrepreneurship in the Black community in B.C., with a focus on people with disabilities, for them to become financially independent and community actors. Magdalene is excited to share her expertise and make a difference in the lives of individuals and families living with disabilities.
My name is Parris Abraham and my pronouns are she/they. I am 27 years old and I have been a guest on the unceded, traditional territory of the Kwikwetlem First Nations (Coquitlam) my whole life. Before coming to UGTS, I worked in the grey market and legal market of the cannabis industry and multiple facets of community work and organization. When I'm not being of service to my community, I am usually hiking, biking, spending time with my dogs, furthering my education or reading a good self help or fiction book. I am passionate about social justice and the fight for racial equity world wide and have had a life long passion for music, lyricism, poetry, and recording. I am so happy to be working with UGTS on building better communities, learn from community members so I can be of better service to them, and continuing the road to racial equity and equality.
Manuel Pina B is an artist, pedagogue, and social and spiritual activist. Manuel has taught art in the Department of Art History and Visual Arts at UBC for over 17 years. His work explores the relations of art+spirituality+technology as a key to elucidate present realities and challenges, and imagine new forms of life and Justice.
Pina was born in Havana, Cuba. Graduated as mechanical engineer in Vladimir, Russia, in 1983. Began exhibiting his art in 1992.
His work has been exhibited in the Americas and Europe including the Havana Biennale, the Estambul Biennale, Kunsthalle Vienna, Grey Gallery, N.Y., LACMA, U.S.A., Dorsky Gallery, N.Y., DAROS Museum, Zurich.
Hello, my name is Alyshia! I am 30 years old, and married with 3 beautiful children. I became a young mother at the age of 17 and went through many struggles and learning curves which helped me grow. I love children, and working with them. I’ve always wanted to be a counsellor or support worker because I am passionate about helping others. I love to cook and have a small home business where I cook personal meals for people around the Fraser Valley. I am super excited to be joining the UGTS team, and hope I can make a big impact on many lives along the way.
I was raised on Haida Gwaii with a strong sense of community. In 1987, I moved to the lower mainland and became involved in Community Services. Early in my career I was focused on Mental Health Support and Advocacy for Community Social Service Workers across the province. As time went on I was drawn to Youth Services. As a single mother of a soon to be teenager I decided to become a 5 bed special resource foster parent for 15 years, which allowed me the opportunity to see and take part in many different parts of the system our youth live in. From intake to aging out; youth face so many barriers and obstacles in managing their way through.
Building a strong sense of community is very important to me. As we work together building strength and empowerment, change and benefit will come to our province. As a grandmother now, it is even more important to me that we be the power of greatness and change.
GRANT SUPPORT & ADMINISTRATIVE INTERN
My name is Kayla and I am a student at Concordia University in Quebec. I’m currently pursuing a double major in English Literature and Irish Studies. Working with UGTS has been a meaningful experience because I know that what I do is creating a positive impact for a number of communities. I look forward to learning and growing alongside this organization.
I recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with the Unique Getting Together Society (UGTS) to gain valuable experience in research and development, to learn new skills, and assist with preparing the Indigenous culture camps. I am Anishinaabe and my band affiliation is Wabigoon Lake (ON). In my youth, I was the Founder and President of the Indigenous Students Association (InSA) at UBC, during this time I helped facilitate various Indigenous cultural events. Outside of school, I studied psychology, spirituality, and existential philosophy.
Sabina is of Dene Métis descent and brings 20 years of experience working in healthcare.
She’s completed the Indigenous Focus Oriented Therapy training and is a caring support for people as they go through their healing process. Her approach is respectful, land-based, body-centered and anchored in Indigenous ways of knowing.
Sabina is also very passionate about assisting people as the follow their dreams and bring them into reality.
I am a Tahltan First Nations woman, and a descendent of the Crow clan and Eth Eni is thy great ancestor mother. Traditionally the Tahltan were nomadic, gathering at salmon runs in summer and dispersing to hunting territories in winter. I guess that ancestral spirit was born in me because I haven’t stopped exploring and finding healing when out in nature moving around in all seasons.
Being out on the trails exploring the vastness of the backcountry since I was a young bare-footed girl I never failed to see that being outdoors, especially hiking, was enjoyed more by the more privileged in society. Unfortunately, there are historic and social barriers that made it feel this way.
The outdoors doesn’t only belong to all of us, but we can heal and thrive in it together, no matter what your level of experience is.
Sean is a recent highschool graduate who is going to attend the University of Regina for social work and to continue his football career. Sean finds social work rewarding and fulfilling as he likes to advocate for marginalized groups of people, in his free time he likes to hang out with friends, listen to music and watch movies.
My name is Camryn Watts. I am fresh out of high school and have grown up in
Chilliwack. I started off volunteering for Unique Get Together Society but my
passion for working with children has brought me back for work. I find joy in social
work and love helping people. I am excited to learn more about this line of
work and look forward to joining the UGTS tribe. I hope to make an impact on
those around me in the workplace.
My name is Brandon Peters, and I am a first nations native from St’at’imc territory. I was living in Vancouver for a few years but settled in Kamloops after that . Over the years I’ve performed in many different communities on my music journey and recently started doing motivational workshops for the youth. Attending a self-development program in 2017 helped me realize that I’m passionate about helping other people find love for themselves as well as their dreams. I’ve coached at a program called choices as well as their teen camp and I’ve also done some volunteering at a youth group here in Kamloops. I look forward to meeting new people and learning more about the culture on this journey.
HR & ADMIN COORDINATOR
My name is Jemimah Njoroge, Kenyan origin. I moved to Canada for school and currently in my last semester at Thompson Rivers University taking Human Resource Management. I have a passion for people and being of service to others. Extremely excited to join UGTS team and hopefully be a positively impact my colleagues and the community.
Hello, my name is Jennifer Apedaile.
I acknowledge that I am a settler learning to be a good guest on the unceded territories of the Coast
Salish, Nuu Chah Nulth, Kwakwak'wakw, Stl'atl'imc, and Nlaka'pamux.
I am grateful to my teachers, children, and to the elders who guide and support me. I am loving, careful, and respectful.
For over twenty years prioritizing folks, families, and communities who live with the impacts of trauma,
I am rooted in the Land, trust Life’s cycles, and empower holistic health and wellness through the
wisdom of the body.
MARKETING & BRAND STRATEGIST
My name is Domoina. I just finished my MBA and my background is in tourism,
business, teaching, and mining. Since the pandemic, I have also worked in the mental health field and have since wanted to make a small difference in the beautiful, yet sometimes challenging world we are living in. Nelson Mandela once said: “As long as poverty, injustice, and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest”. Originally from Madagascar, I have had the opportunity to travel and live in different countries, but I am happy to now call Vancouver my home. I am French, Malagasy, English and a little bit of German-speaking. I am ecstatic about bringing my contributions to UGTS, as the organization’s mission truly echoes with my own core values.
CHILD AND YOUTH CARE WORKER
My name is Naomi Lang and I am an Indigenous student at The University of British Columbia. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always found refuge in volunteering and helping others. When I started university I had plans of pursuing a career in veterinarian medicine however after reconnecting with my culture I have decided to pursue a BA In Urban Studies with hopes of completing my Masters in Indigenous Urban Planning. I aim to share the love I have for people and animals through my work at UGTS and hopefully encourage others of all backgrounds to pursue their passions and dreams. In my free time I enjoy hiking, live music and trying new things.
FOOD HAMPER WORKER
I am a Mom, a partner and a proud woman of indigenous decsent. I have spent most of my life doing the same mundane 9-5 desk thing, to provide for my family. Throughout the pandemic, I have taken a closer look at my life, and the world around me. I have done some work on my own trauma, and have decided that it is time for a change. I wanted to find something that made me feel that passion in my soul, and that made me look forward to going to work every morning. I wanted to find something that would allow me to give back to my community, and connect with my indigenous roots. Food offerings are an important part of my culture, and I find pride and joy in being able to package these offerings with love and compassion, then to be able to hand deliver these offerings to the families in need, in my community. I am grateful to be a part of this tribe, and that my children witness my pride and love of a new path and career.
Hello, my name is Preksha Goenka. I’m from India and an undergraduate student at UBC studying biochemistry. As by far the oldest in a very close extended family, I’ve always enjoyed the responsibility of looking after children. In high school, I worked with an Indian NGO that helped underprivileged children with their studies and through that experience, realized the importance and wonder of helping children and families who haven’t been dealt the best hand. I am overjoyed to work at UGTS, helping people and understanding the complicated legacy of colonialism and racism that still impact this country.
SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR & WEB DEVELOPER
My name is Roda. I have a background in healthcare and have recently transitioned into working in the field of tech and now marketing too! With great mentorship and teammates, I'm learning something new every day. It's immensely rewarding being able to make a difference and advocate for different marginalized groups. I'm happy to have the opportunity to join UGTS in making a lasting impact.
I was offered this job by fluke and it just happened to be exactly what I’ve always wanted to do as a career. My goal is to give the love and support these children need and deserve that many of us never had at their ages. I’ve had life long experiences with myself being a troubled teen as well as the people around me. Nothing matters more to me than changing these kids lives, one kid at a time. We are here to shape future generations and stop generational trauma. It all starts with empathy, compassion and love.
SCHEDULING COORDINATOR & GRANT WRITER
Bio coming soon...
Bio coming soon...
Bio coming soon....
Hi, My name is Stephanie Simpson I have been in the Health Field for 30 years. I also have 5 adult children who have brought and still bring me lots of happy and challenging moments, I enjoy all of these moments. I started in the Health Field by managing a house with 4 physically disabled adults. I enjoyed it so much, that I never left the Health Field. Also, in my journey I have worked with the aging, people with intellectual disabilities, the mentally disabled, and the homeless. I love my job and l took this path in my life to change people's life by listening when they needed an ear, being supportive when they needed it, and lots of encouragement. A boss I had for many years always told us. We think we are coming to help and teach these people, but it is amazing what they can teach us if we have an open heart and mind.