From Grief to Action is a registered Society in British Columbia (#S-0042377) having a Charitable Registration Number through the Canada Revenue Agency (#88871 9812 RR0001). Learn more about our financial model below. In addition to the 5 current volunteer Board members listed below, FGTA is supported by a book keeper and website administrator.
Bev Gutray is the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division. She has led this organization, part of Canada’s oldest mental health charity, for 20 years, in addition to her earlier work with the CMHA Alberta and Manitoba. She has over 30 years of non-profit experience. In this role, Bev has worked to implement the Association’s broad vision of “Mentally Healthy People in a Healthy Society.” Bev has presented on a range of public policy issues to government committees and conferences. Education includes an undergraduate degree in Arts. Her concentration over her career has been on focused studies in the area of fundraising and non-profit leadership and skill development. Under her leadership, CMHA BC has promoted mentally healthy workplaces as a top priority over the past 15 years including the development and launch of the Bottom Line Conference – now operating for over 13 years. In 2013 the Association received the Top Innovation Affiliate Award of Merit: For My Health a program co-developed by Impact BC and CMHA BC Division. In January 2013, Bev received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in honour of her lifetime contributions toward improving mental health for all British Columbians. In 2014 she received the Strengthening Our Voice Award from the National Association for her staff leadership role across Canada. Most recently, her organization has been honoured with the Doctors of BC 2014 Excellence in Health Promotion Award. In 2015 the Association is receiving the BC Health Care Award of Merit – Top Innovation Affiliate for Bounce Back. Bev’s leadership in BC has resulted in several BC programs being rolled out nationally. They include: Bounce Back: Reclaim Your Health, Living Life to the Full for adults and youth and a nation-wide fundraising event: Ride Don’t Hide.
Anita joined From Grief to Action as a board member in 2002 shortly after moving to Vancouver. Her experience as a sibling of an addict assisted both From Grief to Action and Parents Forever with understanding the issues of the “good” child. Anita’s input into The Coping Kit was highly valued, as were her attempts at starting a Siblings Forever support group. Anita resigned from the board in 2004 but then returned after taking time off to start a family. Anita currently works for the federal government in immigration policy and has two girls, Maya and Kayla.
Tabitha understands how unique each personal story is, after personally losing multiple loved ones to preventable deaths due to drug and alcohol addictions. She’s learned a lot from her life losses and has come to combine her grief and compassion with creativity and advocacy for Addiction and Mental Health reforms. Tabitha writes and blogs as a form of self expression in advocating wellness and looks forward to being an active Board Member with From Grief To Action and focusing on outreach work with the FGTA Coping Kits, advocating in solidarity with others from all walks of life whose lives have been affected by related issues and passionately supporting overdose prevention and education efforts. She knows that reducing stigma creates room for real life-changing options that can save lives with dignified, progressive health care and compassionate attention.
With over 25 years’ experience in the not-for profit sector and 12 years in regional government, Judy brings writing, editing and research skills. As well she has a strong knowledge base and understanding of political processes critical to the advocacy role FGTA plays for the families and friends affected by substance abuse. Having a child, who since the age of 14, struggles with substance use, Judy also understands the issues around early intervention and care for both the addict and their families. Judy also participates in Parents Forever.
Chris Richardson is a parent with lived experience related to helping his children understand and learn to manage their mental health and addictions challenges. Chris is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Population and Public Health where his research activities are focused on examining the relationships between bio-psycho-social development in adolescence and patterns of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and other drug use. He is also a Scientist with the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Sciences at St. Paul’s Hospital where he works on a range of projects involving mental health and addiction including the Inner City Youth Program. Chris has worked with FGTA on and off over the past 10 years.
CARI ST. PIERRE
As a Senior Community Planner with 15 years experience working with diverse communities, First Nations, facilitating community meetings and as a Project Manager I have seen communities across BC afflicted with addiction, struggling to develop programs and policies to address it. When it hit home through my own son in his late teens-early 20’s, I couldn’t believe it was happening to me, or my son. Addiction can hit anyone, or family and afflicts all socio-economic classes and cultures. It is a long hard roller coaster of grief, stigma, financial loss and gut wrenching fear. It is hard to imagine unless you are there, fighting to keep you child alive, or sadly as many now know, grieving that you couldn’t. The toll it takes on parents and families is immense and long lasting. As a Board member for FGTA, I am a strong advocate for increased publicly funded, long-term residential treatment for youth and young adults to 24 yrs. Treatment that is publicly funded with staff trained to address concurrent disorders and oversee medically assisted detox or Suboxone and methadone tapering. I am adamant about the need for inclusion of family and parents in all phases of addiction treatment for their loved one; and for increased supports for parents and family members, such as free counselling and financial supports so they can better support their loved ones towards a healthier, happier life, free of addiction to illicit drugs.