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Our Team

  • Andrew DruryDCC System Negotiator & COMET project

    With over a decade of experience being a foster parent, one-to-one, outreach, mental health and youth worker, Andrew strives to provide unbiased advocacy and help to the people he supports. With an emphasis on social justice, he aims to connect everyone to the services they deserve. He believes that everybody is entitled to housing and support services and is proud to work for Watari, because of their inclusive and low-barrier programing. He is committed to honour and respect Indigenous presence as well as the unceded land rights of all Coast Salish traditional territories.

  • Catherine KozlowskiMental Health Outreach Worker - Vancouver Integrative Supervision Unit

    Catherine has been with the team since November 2019, and has experience in youth work and street outreach. She supports people navigating the criminal justice system and advocates from a person-centered approach. She is part of an assertive case management team composed of a probation officer, nurse, occupational therapist, psychiatrist, and income assistance worker, with the goal of reducing recidivism rates and reducing hospital admissions. She is person-centered, works from a harm reduction philosophy, and places emphasis on meeting people where they’re at. Catherine is passionate about social justice, mental health awareness, and the Downtown Eastside community. When Catherine isn’t working, she is connecting with nature, working out, and biking.

  • John SpenceIndigenous Substance Misuse Counsellor
  • Veronica DoanVietnamese/Asian Community Substance Misuse Counsellor

    As William Shakespeare said: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.” I believe we are the ones who create our own stories of life.

    My purpose as a substance misuse counsellor developed through my own journey, personal experiences and awakening, which included struggles with getting lost in my teens, depression after giving birth to my children, using substances to find happiness. I have traveled through darkness and light and eventually found the inner peace. I learned to accept who I am and others, to see goodness in everyone and beauty in everything. Substance misuse is just a learned behaviour and if it’s learned we can unlearn it provided that we have the necessary tools to cope and replace it with sustainable new and healthy behaviour.

    Veronica loves meditating, singing, dancing, hiking, gardening, cooking veggie food, art and craft, playing music, and travelling. Anything creative, fun, and healthy to body and mind.

  • Karina VilladaFundraising Coordinator

    “I believe that mental health support is a precious element for developing the resilience of every community member, which contributes to a better society, country, and world”

    Karina has been volunteering as the Fundraising Coordinator at Watari since 2018. She recently obtained a certificate in Fundraising Management at BCIT. Karina is motivated to see healthy communities and found, in Watari, a place to put her fundraising and development organizational abilities, to provide better services to the community. When she is not pursuing a career as a fundraiser, she is enjoying nature and the mountains on her feet or on two wheels (bicycle).

  • Lavern KellyCase Manager, Transitioning to Independence Program 2 (TIP 2)

    “I believe that every youth deserves a chance”
    Lavern has been running the Transitioning to Independence Program 11 (TIP2) at Watari for 2 years. Lavern has a Bachelor in Child & Youth Care Counselling .She is dedicated to see her youths succeed in all aspects of their lives. Lavern has a positive attitude and always quick to lend a hand. She wins the hearts of her youths by being present and connected. Lavern has a smile that can light up a room, and speaks with respect when interacting with the youth in her program You can find Lavern relaxing in nature, listening to music while working out at the gym, or just spending time with her family

  • Berta PerezCACT Latin American Substance Misuse Counsellor

    “I believe when there is heart and true commitment you can achieve great goals”

    Berta is originally from Mexico, she arrived with her family in Vancouver in 1998. She has a bachelor’s degree in Educational and Clinical Psychology and a Post-degree in Mental Health. Her practice involved individual work and support groups. She has vast experience working with vulnerable populations and has a great understanding of diversity due to her work with refugees, LGBTQ groups, persons experiencing homelessness, drug users, and persons with special needs and with mental illnesses. Berta works with the Latin American community at Watari, providing substance misuse counselling. She does outreach work, advocacy and liaise with other service providers. Her work has been to empower the people she supports for making their own and better decisions for their life. Berta’s passion is to help and serve others with compassion and an open heart.
    In her free time, she enjoys watching TV series and movies and spending time with her husband and daughter.

  • Grace KingAdministrative Assistant

    “I believe that we all deserve to be treated with respect.”

    Since Grace started with Watari in 2017, she has brought a warmth and care to our Community that is irreplaceable. Her job title is Administrative Assistant but we know her as so much more. Her laugh is contagious and is constantly sharing humour with us all.
    We call her “Our Amazing Grace”. She treats everyone that walks in our doors with respect and dignity knowing that they belong to someone and they all deserve our care.
    In her spare time Grace loves to write poetry, hang out with her dog Rocky, spend quality time with her daughter and enjoys being outdoors by the water.

  • Sandra TaylorCACT Substance Misuse Counsellor / Community Education & Prevention Worker (STAR)

    “When people walk into Watari, I want them to feel like they are seen and that they matter.”

    Sandra started working as a Substance Misuse Counsellor in 2002 and has been lucky to have worked in the many programs at Watari. Sandra believes in her community driven work at Watari and tries to incorporate an approach that best matches the needs of the people she supports. Coming from a Narrative Therapy background Sandra likes to include solution focused, Mindful Awareness and strength based conversations. Sandra is trained in Gottman Couples Therapy and Sitar Family Therapy. This allows her to invite couples and family strengthening into her work. Sandra is a strong advocate in keeping families together and will work hard along side parents to keep children out of care.
    Sandra’s personal growth includes practices of meditation and can be seen wandering the halls at Watari inviting people to meditate. In her spare time she is riding her bike, gardening and planning her next trip.

  • Krystal JulesEIYT Youth Outreach Team

    Krystal has been a member of the youth outreach team at Watari since 2019 and has been doing youth work since 2009, most notably as the cultural lead at Young Bears Lodge: A First Nations youth treatment program run by UNYA. Hailing from New Aiyansh and holding strong Nisga’a heritage, she has a passion for incorporating cultural practices and teachings into her work as an outreach worker and has been integral in the creation of First Nations programming for youth at Watari, as well as facilitating cultural programming for elementary students within the Vancouver School Board. Krystal holds a diploma in family and community addictions counselling from the Native Education College. In her spare time, she can be found harvesting medicine and spending time with her family.

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