Staff

As a registered non-profit organization, our team includes both our staff and board of directors.

Amanda Marchand

Caregiver Support Lead

Amanda has worked for human services and non-profit organizations for over 25 years. She began work at Cowichan Family Caregivers in January 2018 as the Manager and now serves as a Caregiver Support Lead. Amanda has a first class honours degree in the social sciences and a life long passion for the work of creating inclusive and interdependent communities. She was a caregiver for her beloved mother (in law) and feels honoured to support family caregivers throughout the Cowichan Valley.

Kelly Chopty

Caregiver Support Lead

Kelly Chopty has over 20 years of progressive experience working in the field of Human Resources, including long term health care.  Her values are woven into the way she works with clients and candidates alike; with integrity, trust, respect, and enthusiasm at the core. She believes doing the right thing, honesty and follow-through are her strongest skills. 

Kelly has become a passionate advocate for family caregivers and understands what they can go through, as she was the primary caregiver to her mother for many years. Her mother’s disease made her incredibly present in the moment, as things would change daily. Kelly soon came to realize that humour and laughter needed to become a big part of her caregiving role. Kelly knows that caregiving can be extremely hard, and she does not dismiss the gravity and the hardship of the situation, and she has also learned that during the tough times it can be too easy to forget the importance of humour. Kelly is glad she has etched the funny memories of those caregiving years in her spirit and now holds them closely to her heart.

Kelly holds a Degree in Public Administration from the University of Saskatchewan as well as a Business Certificate in Accounting. 

Laura Horton

Caregiver Support Lead

Laura Horton has worked for human service organizations for over 30 years. She has been involved with vulnerable populations her entire career and has a passion for collaborating and creating safe and caring communities. Laura is a caregiver for her mother who lives in an independent living home in WhiteRock, BC. She is married and has two adult children. Laura loves walking, hiking and gardening and is looking very forward to connecting with caregivers in the Cowichan Valley.Laura is also in the process of becoming a Level II certified coach.  For Laura, the coaching relationship is about partnering to create positive, meaningful, sustainable change. Laura describes coaching as a powerful tool that provides a person with a safe space to think through and find their own answers to their questions and/or problems. To hold space with a person means walking alongside them in whatever journey they are on without judging them, trying to fix them, or trying to influence the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we let go of judgement and control and open up our hearts. For Laura, this fits perfectly with her role as a Caregiver Lead.

Linda Dirksen Gale

Executive Director

As the Executive Director of the Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society, Linda is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of the organization and developing outreach and advocacy for caregivers in healthcare and social services. Professionally, Linda has worked in the non-profit sector for many years, but was drawn to CFCSS for more personal reasons. Having been a caregiver for her spouse, Linda has a deep compassion for caregivers and the many challenges they face. She has had the privilege of connecting with many of the amazing caregivers in our community and is dedicated to representing and advocating for caregivers and programs throughout the Cowichan Valley.

Chantey Dayal

Administration and Special Projects

Chantey has been gratefully living on Quw’utsen territory for the past 13 years. She has a background in fine arts but has also worked in many fields of human health including, teaching yoga, supporting childbirth as a doula, and as a breastfeeding counselor. Most recently, Chantey was a lead administrator at Sunrise Waldorf School where she ushered in new families, built relationships amongst parents, and supported teachers with heart. Chantey travels extensively throughout Ethiopia where both her creative and health care passions have come alive while volunteering with some of Ethiopia’s youngest and also their most elderly populations. Every year, she lends her hands at an orphanage for children with HIV, as well as at cataract surgery camps working to eliminate curable blindness. Chantey is the mother of two amazing young women, she is a painter, a colour addict, a star gazer, a plant lover, a meal maker, a conscious dancer, a hiker, a tree hugger, and is always on the lookout for delight. In this next chapter, Chantey will be taking up full-time residence in her painting studio, while supporting the administration at CFCSS. She looks forward to it all.

Sara Ferrario

Clinical Supervisor On-Call

Sara has been working as a social worker in the Cowichan Valley with seniors, families and vulnerable adults since 2003.  She holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree and is a Registered Social Worker in BC.

Sara has worked as a social worker for Island Health in Community Health Services and Long term care homes throughout the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo region. In her experience as a social worker, she have witnessed the immense difference the Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society can make in a person’s life and is committed to the management of this essential program in her home community.

Sara has been extremely grateful to be able to call the beautiful Cowichan Valley her home since 2002.  She is married with two children and loves to swim in Lake Cowichan in the summer and is a member of a somewhat successful curling team in the winter.  She is an active volunteer at her children’s school and a member of the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society.

Board of Directors

Dan Vaillancourt

President

Dan served as the Director of our Young Carers Program from 2009 to 2014, and returned to us as a Board member in 2015.

An active community volunteer, Dan worked as an administrator and teacher in international schools and universities for over 40 years. He happily retired in 2021 to spend more time travelling to warmer places and hanging out with his grandchildren.

Jim Dakin

Treasurer

Jim is a CGA and long-time resident of Shawnigan Lake and Mill Bay. He is an avid cyclist and has volunteered many hours on our fundraising events as well as serving on our Board as Treasurer.

Tracy Taylor

Secretary

Tracy has been on the board of CFCSS since 2013. She believes that caregivers are the unsung heroes of our society because they watch out for our vulnerable, our elderly, and our frail mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends, sometimes for years. The work that the society does to support these kind and caring people is why she is an enthusiastic part of the CFCSS team.

Phil Devitt

Board Member

Phil’s family moved to the Cowichan Valley in 1974. He quickly became an active community member, involved with coaching soccer, volunteering in the executives of soccer, North Cowichan committees, the Parks Board, and Harbours Commission. After downsizing and moving to Crofton the Sea walk, Community Center and our Seniors Center. Phil was introduced to dementia when he and his wife became caregivers for his mother. Later, Phil’s wife was also diagnosed and passed away from dementia. Phil felt that he might be able to help others with his experience in caregiving, and he accepted the nomination to join the CFCSS Board.

Robert Weston

Board Member

Robert retired from his position as Financial Controller for the Cowichan Tribes in 2007. He has enjoyed volunteering for CFCSS on the organizing team for the Annual Shawnigan Lake Adventure fundraiser and currently serves on the Board of Directors.