KIDS CAN FLY BOARD BIOS 2012-2013
Board Chair: Patti Berardi was elected Chair in September 2011. She has been on the Kids Can Fly board for 4 years and is very dedicated to making the world a better place for children, in part due to being an involved mother of two young sons. She leads the Roots of Empathy committee and sits on the Public Education, Launch Pad and Storybook Breakfast committees in addition to heading up the Kids Can Fly Executive . Patti works as a producer at Rogers TV Brantford.
Vice Chair: Patti Kunashko has sat on the board since 2009 and leads the After School Program project in partnership with the CAS. She also sits on the Finance, Movie Marathon and Storybook Breakfast committees. Patti is an In School Mentor for Big Sisters of Brantford and is married with two children of her own. Patti believes that All children are important and hopes that those who are less fortunate can benefit from the wonderful programs of Kids Can Fly. They deserve the opportunity to thrive and become whatever they want in life.
Treasurer: Nora Leung has been with Kids Can Fly since it was established in 2001 and is the last remaining original board member. She has served as treasurer, chair and on many committees including Finance, Storybook Breakfast, and Movie Marathon. As a newcomer to Brantford in 1984 she benefited greatly by parenting programs at Mohawk College’s Rainbow Room. Being part of Kids Can Fly allows her to give back to other families in the community. She is married with three adult children and currently does medical research.
Tasha Brooks Martin is a mother of two active boys and a teacher, who lives, works, and plays in this community. The enrichment that Kids Can Fly programs offered her young family prompted her to become involved in 2009 as a Roots of Empathy Instructor. She believes that every child deserves the right to positively grow, develop, learn, and flourish, and the various advantages that Kids Can Fly offer promote exactly that. Further, Tasha also believes in the adage of “it takes a village to raise a child”, and she is honoured to a part of your village!
Michelle Falkiner is a mother of one very busy daughter who participated and loved many Kids Can Fly programs in her first few years. She works as a front line healthcare worker at Sick Kids in Toronto but have lived her entire life in Brantford or Brant-County. Joining the board in 2012 is giving her the opportunity to give back to the children and parents in her own community. Michelle’s professional practice is based on the family centered care model which is basically the same concept as Kids Can Fly which she can’t wait to get more involved in.
Melissa Ferrao is the mother of two preschool children and lives and works in Brantford. She joined the Kids Can Fly board in 2011 after a positive experience at the Storybook Breakfast. She is sitting on the Storybook Breakfast and ECE Banquet committees.
Shannon Kingsbury is a mother of two young boys and an Elementary Primary Teacher. She recently realized how much my family and class benefit from a variety of Kids Can Fly programs. Imagination Library, Storybook Breakfast and Roots of Empathy are a big part of both my personal and professional lives. She is very passionate about Early Literacy and helping children see the wonder, opportunity and enjoyment literature can bring to them and their families. She is looking forward to having the opportunity to support and give back to so many amazing programs.
Jennifer Kinneman was born and raised in this community Jennifer is mom to three children. With over 15 years experience in marketing and communications she has led teams in business building, community development and fiscal management. Currently she works at McMaster University. Recently she participated in the Roots of Empathy Program with her youngest child and is eager to continue working with this innovative, progressive organization. New to the board in Sept 2011 Jennifer will volunteer on the Roots of Empathy and Storybook Breakfast committees.
Robin Matthews-Osmond is the Marketing and Community Relations Manager for The Brantford Expositor and the South Region of Sun Media, Robin Matthews-Osmond is the mother of two young children. Active in the local community, Robin is responsible for reviving The Expositor’s Junior Reporter Club for elementary school students, as well as developing The Expositor’s Signature Event – The Little Black Dress Extravaganza, an annual event which donates funds to local charities. Having joined the board in January 2011 because of her personal experiences with the Storybook Breakfast, Robin was drawn to Kids Can Fly because of a shared desire to want to help young children maximize their potential. Robin is a valuable member on the Imagination Library Committee, Marketing Committee, Storybook Breakfast Committee and 10th Anniversary Committee.”
Joe Persia was born and raised in the Niagara Region Joe moved to Brantford with his wife in 1987. Since then, he has become very active in the community by volunteering his time to worthwhile causes. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Brantford Sunrise, President of the Adult Recreation Therapy Centre, Board member for the Alzheimer Society of Brantford, volunteer host of Brant News TV, and of course a member of the Kids Can Fly Board of Directors. A teacher by profession, Joe considers himself a lifelong learner and is currently pursuing his PhD in Reading Education. He is passionate about Early Childhood Education and the foundation it sets for future personal and academic success. His research interests are in early language acquisition and emergent literacy skills. Joe sits on the Imagination Library, Roots of Empathy and Marketing Committees.
Zeta Phillipo As a children’s librarian, Zeta takes special interest in our literacy projects. She sits on the Imagination Library committee, Storybook Breakfast Committee and helps with United Way Fundraising. She has been a Roots of Empathy volunteer with each of her three young children and is a committed board member. Zeta is married and lives with her family in Paris.
Cathie Rice is a dietician and involved community volunteer. She has a strong commitment to the importance of child development in the early years. The mother of three grown sons, Cathie had a wonderful experience at the Mohawk College Rainbow Room when they were young. Kids Can Fly allows her to give back to the community and support other young parents and children. Cathie is active with the Launch Pad and Parachute Programs and sits on the Storybook Breakfast Committee. She is the past Vice Chair of the board
Sarah Roarke: has been married to her partner Dean, for over 25 years and has three adult children. She has worked as an Early Childhood Educator for over 25 years, in many capacities including educator, program supervisor, director, resource librarian, educational assistant, infant hearing screener, college professor and is currently the Parent Engagement and Early Learning Lisiaon within a school board and has been a college professor in ECE for the past 9 years. Sarah joined the Kids Can Fly board in 2011 but has volunteered at events for many years. She leads the Movie Marathon fundraiser and sits on the public education, Storybook Breakfast and the ECE Awards committees. Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and has a passion for collecting and creating pottery.
Heather Wilson became a Kids Can Fly board member in 2005. She is married and has 2 sons. Heather believes in her community with a huge emphasis on investing in the early years. This makes Kids Can Fly a perfect fit for her. She seeks to promote this in all aspects of her life; as a parent, school director and active community member. The projects and work of Kids Can Fly have a profound impact on the youngest members of our society and she feels privileged to be part of such an inspirational group of people. Heather owns her own business, Montessori Children’s Academy, in Paris Ontario.
Sharon Brooks is the Executive Director and has been with Kids Can Fly since it was founded in 2001.
Sharon has been in the field of Early Learning since 1972. Her role with Kids Can Fly is her most rewarding position as it allows her be a catalyst within the community to raise awareness and make positive changes for young children and their families. Sharon was selected by the late Dr Fraser Mustard to sit on his original Council for Early Child Development. His research and vision is the base for all of Kids Can Fly’s work. Sharon sits on various community boards and committees and feels extremely fortunate to have the supportive and passionate working board of Kids Can Fly. It is the FULL Team that has made Kids Can Fly the successful organization that it is. She has two adult children and enjoys reading, equestrian sports, classical music and is a movie buff!
Jane Flinders is the facilitator of the Launch Pad, drop in early learning and parenting centre hosted by Kids Can Fly. She also facilitates the Parachute program for parents with young infants. She is a parent of 4 children and a foster parent and has been an active early childhood educator for over 30 years in the Brantford community. Jane operates her own business, Musical Motion, early year’s family music classes as well as offering professional development for ECE’s in this community.
Nancy Corke is a dedicated ECE who has worked with Jane and Sharon over many years. Today she assists in the capacity of supply teacher for the Launch Pad. She has also been a Roots of Empathy instructor for Kids Can Fly since 2003. Nancy is a Brantford native and the mother of two adult children.
Lisa Collins Lisa is a parent, foster parent and works part time for Lansdowne Children’s Centre. Lisa assists with the Parachute Program, managing the Baby Room and does supply teaching in the Launch Pad. She is also a great animal lover.