Meet Our Team

Kelly Johnson ~ Executive Director
Wendy Gilbert ~ Administrative Assistant
Amanda Derdau ~ Office Manager
Dawn Frizzell ~ Bookkeeper
Brian Freeman-Marsh ~ Accounting Supervisor

Rita Pare ~ MACP, RCC ...
Rita Paré joined Whitevalley Community Resource Centre in April 2013 as an Adult and Family Counsellor and brings five years of experience to the team. Rita graduated from Simon Fraser University with her BA and Yorkville University with a Masters Arts in Counselling Psychology and is a registered clinical counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.
Rita began her career in the mental health field as a mental health support worker and has, since joining the Whitevalley team, began working towards her Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology during which she completed a 10 month practicum as a Substance Use Clinician with Interior Health. Rita has experience in the areas of depression, anxiety, substance use, grief, relationships, family therapy, and areas of personal and spiritual growth. “I work from a variety of therapeutic approaches including mindfulness, humanistic, psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural (CBT) and narrative and family systems. I also believe in the strength and capability of the client and attempt to make therapeutic sessions a safe place where clients learn about themselves, heal, and ultimately, experience positive growth within themselves and in their lives”, says Rita.
Charlie McGarrity ~ CLS ...
Charlie McGarrity joined Whitevalley as a Community Living Support and School Based Outreach Counselor in September 2007 and brings over 30 years of experience to the team. Charlie received his formal education in substance abuse counselling at Fraser Valley College. He also has additional experience with addictions counselling, conflict resolution, working with anger and aggression in youth and with the DSM (Diagnose Mental Health Conditions). Charlie is also received a “founders award” for contributions made to the startup of programs at the Dawn Farm Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Ann Arbor Michigan and he believes in meeting people where they are at but… not leaving them where they are at
Sandra Wagner ~ BSW ...
Sandra Wagner joined Whitevalley as Family Support Worker, School Based Outreach Counsellor and Parenting Coach in October 2009 and has 6 ½ years of experience. She graduated with her BSW from the University of British Columbia – Okanagan in 2009 and specializes in Child Welfare, advocacy and is a “Connect Parent” facilitator. Sandra has training and experience working with children who have ADHD; Attachment theory; Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and managing hostile interactions. Sandra also has developed a blended families group for Cherryville Elementary that was very successful. Sandra’s focus is on child development; attachment; parenting; anxiety for children; ADHD in children; advocacy, and resources.
Sharon Storms ~ BSW ...
Sharon Storms joined Whitevalley as a School Based Outreach Counsellor in 2006 when she graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. Sharon has recently completed her Master’s Degree in Social Work through Memorial University in Newfoundland. Sharon’s area of interest is working with elementary school age children and with children who may be experiencing a divorce in their families, a loss, friendship challenges, difficult life events and transitions. She is passionate about teaching social skills and the skills that are necessary to help children build and maintain friendships. As a part of her Masters Practicum, she is currently developing and facilitating a friendship curriculum for kindergarten children where a dog is brought into the classroom as a tool for teaching how to build a friendships with others. She is also interested in family therapy and working with children and challenging behaviour.
Val Richards ~ BSW ...
Valerie Richards joined Whitevalley as an Adult and Family Counselor on January 20, 2015 and brings with her 13 years of experience to the team. Val received her formal education in Bachelor of Social Work at Okanagan University College and has experience in a myriad of areas, including Advocacy, Aboriginal Child Welfare, Policy and Program Development, Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Trainer, Adoptions, Foster Parenting, Research, Development of the Aboriginal Enhancement Agreements with School Districts #22 and #23 and served as Executive Director for Metis Community Services Society for 2.5 years. Her affiliations include Metis Community Services Society- Board Member; Vernon and District Metis Association member; Ministry for Child and Family Development Aboriginal Services and Elders Mentorship Group member. Val proudly graduated with distinction from OUC; is a recognized Metis Community Elder; Co- Authored: Mental Health and Addictions Aboriginal Assessment and Treatment Manual as well as an MCFD Provincial Roots Practice Manual. Val’s focus includes Individual and Family Counselling and Aboriginal Cultural Awareness.
Jessa Joles ~ BA, CPC ...
Jessa Joles is the newest counsellor to join the Whitevalley team. Jessa started with Whitevalley as a School Based Outreach Counsellor in February 2016 and has 2 years of experience. She graduated with her B.A Psych from the University of Calgary and attended the Kelowna College of Professional Counselling and is a Certified Professional Counsellor. Jessa gained experience working with youth at the Teen Junction Youth Center as a Youth Worker where she helped to provide a safe and supportive place for youth to come. Jessa enjoys working with youth and strives at providing a safe and supportive environment for youth in need.
Nicole Vath ~ BA ...
Nicole Vath (B.A.), has been involved in community support for 10 years and counselling for the last two. Supporting families, youth, and adults by helping them achieve their goals is her priority. Nicole believes in understanding an individuals perspective and drawing from his or her own strengths to achieve their desired outcomes.


Jenny Pinsonneault ~ Seniors Services Coordinator
Colleen Ewanchuk ~ Senior Drop-In Facilitator
Lin MacDonald ~ Seniors Volunteer Coordinator
Kara Zeolkowski ~ Early Years Coordinator – Lumby & Cherryville
Katharina Fink ~ Community Action Program for Children Coordinator
Cathy Hymas ~ Cherryville Kids Zone
Jessa Joles ~ Youth Programs Coordinator
Jade Hamilton~ After School/Summer Day Camp

Volunteers & Practicum Students
Louise ~ Volunteer
Sarah ~ Volunteer