Board of Directors

Change for Children is currently seeking board members to join the Board for the 2021/2022 term beginning in September 2021 (AGM date to be announced).

If you are interested in serving Change for Children through a Board position, please submit a  Declaration of Interest Form by by August 31, 2021.

Director Role Description 

Board executive

Michele Jackson

President

Michele is originally from Ottawa and moved to Edmonton in 2000. After graduating from Carleton University in English and Philosophy she worked at the National Archives of Canada and later at Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, a non-profit social housing organization. In 1992, she was fortunate to be selected as one of the hosting staff for the World Exposition in Sevilla, Spain where she was able to immerse herself in another language and culture through work and community.

Once in Edmonton, she worked for a variety of organizations including the Centre Culturel Marie-Anne Gaboury and the NDP Official Opposition, before deciding to return to university to pursue an after-degree in education at the Campus Saint-Jean. It was her dedication to youth, her love of communication and her lifelong commitment to language learning that inspired her to study in French and which became the foundation for her trajectory as an educator with Edmonton Public Schools where she taught French, Spanish, English and Social Studies at Eastglen for three years. However, in May of 2015, when then Premier Rachel Notley won the provincial election, Michele could not resist the pull of the political sphere and took a leave of absence from teaching to work as the Ministerial Advisor to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General. She subsequently moved to become the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Indigenous Relations and then finally landed in the Office of the Premier as the Director of Public Agency Appointments. It was her great privilege to be part of such a dedicated team led by an even more extraordinary leader whose diligence in ensuring gender parity on agencies, boards and commissions became the impetus for Michele’s desire to continue this similar work with WAVE at the municipal level.

Over the course of her life, Michele has volunteered in a variety of organizations from women’s shelters to her most recent position as a Board Member with Change for Children Association. She lives with her partner, Jonathan, and has two daughters, Sasha and Eliza.

Patrick Kane

Treasurer

Pat is Director, Waste Policy for Alberta Environment and Parks and responsible for waste policy for Alberta. He has been involved with the development of Alberta’s recycling programs and serves as a Director on several environmental stewardship organizations.

Pat is a Chartered Public Accountant (CPA, CMA), has a Business Administration Degree from the University of New Brunswick, is an Environmental Practitioner (EP) and has obtained the Chartered Director (C. Dir.) designation from The Directors College, McMaster University.

Pat has been involved in a number of volunteer organizations including Edzimkulu, A Society for Children of AIDS. Edzimkulu provided health care focused on HIV/AIDS, orphan support, and early childhood education in the small village of Ndawana, South Africa

Sarah Brackett

Secretary

Sarah is studying economics and minoring in international studies at the U of A, with a view to specialize in sustainable international development in future studies. Volunteering locally and internationally has ingrained in her a passion for equity, and an optimism in the strength of empowered communities and individuals, and their capacities to bring about change. Currently, she is working as a research assistant on a global review of community-based freshwater conservation projects.

Directors-at-Large

Terry Anderson

Terry is a Professor Emeritus and former Canada Research Chair in the Centre for Distance Education and the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Centre at Athabasca University. He has held Acadmic and administrative positions at University of Alberta, Athabasca, Confederation and Northen Lakes Colleges. Terry has published widely in the area of distance education and educational technology and has co-authored or edited 10 books and over 100 peer reviewed papers.

Terry is a regular on the “keynote” circuit at major distance education conferences and has visited many of the Open Universities around the world. He has served on the Boards of NorQuest College, Edmonton Social Planning Council, Alberta Distance Education and Training Association, Riverdale Community League and Westwood Unitarian Congregation.

Maria DiCastri

Maria is a returning Board member with Change for Children. She holds a Bachelor of Theology Degree from the University of Ottawa, Education Degree from the University of Calgary and a Masters of Education from the University of Alberta. Maria spent her career as a teacher and now, in retirement is excited to return and continue applying her personal commitment to social justice to support the efforts of Change for Children. Maria has served two previous terms with CFCA. Her experience planning curriculum and liaising with schools has been a valuable asset to the organization’s education initiatives, along with her volunteer support during the last few Fall Fundraisers. Maria enjoys family, reading, travel, arts and culture, as well as nature and active living.

Board and council experience includes several terms in each of the following organizations: Edmonton Companions in Mission, Alberta Teachers’ Association, Friends of the Arden Theatre, St. Albert Children’s Theatre, Edmonton Suzuki Piano School, various local school parent councils

Crystal De Costa

Crystal’s professional background has focused on account management, sales, marketing, and fundraising, through various industries including non-profit, education, tourism, and now banking.  Currently, she is the Business Development Manager, Deposits with the BMO Business Banking team.  She holds a Bachelor of Management, with a focus on International Management, from the University of Lethbridge.  Though born and raised in Grande Prairie, AB, Crystal is a true Edmontonian at heart and a lover of all-things YEG.  Crystal’s sense of adventure also has her exploring; biking, running and traveling the world are just a few of her passions.  She has spent much time in Mexico and Central America, traveling and studying, and has a deep rooted appreciation for the Latin culture.

David Fath

David Fath joined the Change for Children community 19 years ago through his affiliation with the Guatemala-Canada Solidarity Network, and has enjoyed his long term commitment to this organization.  He sat on the board from 2000 to 2004, and held the position of Treasurer for most of that time.  Since then, David (and later his growing family) has moved extensively across Canada – relocating first to Calgary, then to British Columbia, then to Toronto, and finally back to Edmonton in mid-2015.  David and his wife Anne are looking for ways to renew their engagement with Change for Children, and are happy to lend a hand in any way that benefits the organization.

Sabrina Feula

Sabrina is an engagement and partnership professional bringing over 15+ years of experience across a variety of private and public sectors. She recently started a new role as Director, Growth & Partnerships with MuniSight, where she will continue her work in technology and innovation with municipalities across Canada. In her spare time Sabrina enjoys volunteering, photography and is a coffee fanatic. She holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta and is also a board member with the Edmonton Humane Society

Matthew Gusul

Gus has a history of working both as a theatre artist and as a development worker. As a theatre artist, he has mainly focused on helping marginalized communities create theatre based upon the community’s stories. As a development worker, he has been a fundraiser, executive board member, project coordinator, and founder of a non-profit organization. He has worked with seniors, inmates in prisons, various groups of Canada’s Indigenous populations, young people, GLBTQ communities, and religious groups. He has also taught workshops at conferences and by request throughout Canada, rural Mexico, and India.

Don Hanke

Change for Children has always had a special place in my heart ever since my first visit to Nicaragua in 2013 with CFCA and seeing first-hand how your organization makes a difference in people’s lives. I just want to say that I’m thrilled that you ask me to be on your Board of Directors and look forward to add my time and talents to your organization.

I have been traveling to almost all corners of Central America for the last 30 years always absorbing the culture and meeting the people. Retired from the University of Saskatchewan after 26 years of service. Volunteering is one thing that gives me great joy, so if there is a community event or a festival I’m usually involved. Although the people of  Guatemala has always held a special place in my heart the people of the Bosawas come a close second and look forward to many more visits to both regions .

Andrea Kopylech

Andrea started her career specializing in business development and advertising sales, growing into roles as a communications professional, 10 years as a writer and editor in the magazine publishing industry, and finally, combining her work skills, volunteer experience and passions, she transitioned into fundraising. Now, with almost a decade of professional fundraising experience, she continues to support organizations locally, nationally and internationally as a fundraising coach. She has specifically honed her skills in Major Gift fundraising, has worked in healthcare philanthropy, and her current full time role is as Associate Director of Advancement with the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta (BA), a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and holds CFRE certification.

Andrea is also an active volunteer in the community. She spent 9 years working with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress National in various roles including her last role as 1st Vice President. She helped develop the Ukrainian Canadian Arts Network committee, served a term on the UCC Saskatoon Branch as Secretary, as well as a two year term on the UCC Saskatchewan Provincial Council’s Nation Builders Selection committee. She was president of the Alberta council for the Ukrainian Arts, a Director of Vesna Festival in Saskatoon, board member with Nuit Blanche Edmonton, and member of the Contemporary Ukrainian Studies Program Advisory Council with the Canadian Institute for Ukrainian Studies at the UofA. Currently she sits on the Ukrainian Bilingual Parent Advisory Society board as Vice President, is a Director with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Edmonton and area chapter, Co-Chair of National Philanthropy Day and is a coach for U17 girls’ community soccer.

Andrea lives in Edmonton with her husband and 3 children who inspire her to keep learning and to keep trying to make our communities a little bit better each day.

Omar Ortiz

Omar has supported Change for Children for the past 5 years through attending and hosting fundraisers, translation, and working on projects in Nicaragua and Guatemala. He is familiar with the indigenous communities in the south of Mexico and has travelled through protected areas to gain a greater understanding of the environmental challenges facing these communities. After completing his Mechanical Engineering degree, he participated in service programs for lower income communities, designing and installing water systems. He later received training as a teacher and taught courses at Universidad Tecnologica de México and Universidad del Valle de México. In BOSAWAS, Nicaragua, he used this experience to support capacity building of teachers, as well as meet functional needs in the communities. Omar also has a degree in Industrial Administration and a Masters in Business, adding strong analytical capacity to the board. His vision for development is a focus on equal partnerships where both parties share and learn, gaining knowledge and skills to support their own communities.