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About Us

The Family Support Institute is a volunteer-powered network across BC that provides peer-to-peer support, information, events and training and community.

About Us

The Family Support Institute of BC (FSI) is a provincial not for profit society committed to supporting families who have a family member with a disability. 

FSI is unique in Canada and the only grass roots family-to-family organization with a broad volunteer base. 

FSI’s supports and services are FREE to any family.

Get in touch by phone

1-800-441-5403

Get in touch with email

Email Us

Mission & Vision

OUR VISION



All individuals and families are supported, connected and fully valued in their communities.

OUR MISSION



To strengthen, connect and build communities and resources with families of people with disabilities in BC

OUR BELIEFS



The Family Support Institute of BC (FSI) honours that FSI grew out of an era that did not value the pivotal role of families. Therefore, FSI believes:

  • Families are the best voice to speak for their unique circumstances
  • Informed, involved, and confident families are the most effective agents for creating social change
  • Informed families are more empowered to speak for themselves when needed
  • Families are the best resource to support one another
  • Families have a critical role in shaping the future for their family members

Guiding Principles

*All guiding principles will be led by our Vision, Mission and Beliefs as an organization in all we do

  • Keep the organization’s vision, mission and beliefs at the heart of all we do.
  • Support, mentor, and build capacity in families.
  • Promote inclusion for people with disabilities and their families in all aspects of our work.
  • Promote equal rights and equitable opportunities for people with disabilities and their families in all aspects of our work.
  • Support families to advocate for and promote quality supports and services for people. with disabilities and their families and respect choice and diversity in all areas of life.
  • Celebrate and support team members for exemplary teamwork and collaboration.
  • Share knowledge and best practice in family support, advocacy, stakeholder relations, and projects always.
  • Build relationships with community partners who align themselves with the organization.
  • Advocate for the social change.
  • Participate and contribute in community and with families.
  • Value diversity in backgrounds, experience and perspectives.
  • Be inclusive – inviting and accepting of differences in one another.

History

FSI WAS CREATED TO STRENGTHEN FAMILIES WHO FACED THE EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES THAT COME FROM HAVING A FAMILY MEMBER WITH A DISABILITY.

In 1985, the members of a family support committee of Inclusion BC discussed ways to better support families.Our founding members were facing the challenges of institutions, navigating segregated education systems, and making an inclusive and valued place for them in society. At the time, families were not recognized as vital voices in decision making for their loved ones. They wanted better lives for their children and knew there were hundreds of other families like them across the province who wanted the same. It became clear that there was a need for an organization to bring these families together to provide this family support. In the fall of 1986, with funds from the St. Christopher’s Foundation, the Family Support Institute of BC (FSI) was established.

The first of its kind in Canada, FSI became a separate non-profit agency. The mandate of the Family Support Institute of BC is to strengthen families who had a son or daughter with any disability. FSI began with 6 volunteer Resource parents and have now grown to over 260.

Watch Our Videos

Welcome

Bonnie's Story

WayFinders

Our Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Contact Our Team

Family Support
Executive Director 
Training & Special Events
Board of FSI
FSI Board of Directors

The Board makes decisions on the policy and direction of the Family Support Institute. Most board members are family members of people with disabilities. Some of our board members are also Resource Parents/Peers.

Executive
Ellen Tarshis
Ellen Tarshis
President

Region: Island

Came on FSI board:
June 9, 2023

Jane Holland
Vice-President

Region: Vancouver Coastal

Came on FSI board:
June 17th, 2019

Adam Gartland, Treasurer

Region: Vancouver Coastal

Came on FSI board:
April 28, 2021

Directors
Cathy Anthony
Cathy Anthony

Region: Vancouver Coastal

Came on FSI board: June 9, 2023

Bonnie Fallowfield

Region: North

Came on FSI board:
March 31, 2023

Nicole Kaler

Region: Fraser Valley

Came on FSI board:
May 23, 2024

David
David Paynter

Region: Interior

Came on FSI board:
October 27, 2018

Linda Perry

Region: Fraser Valley

Came on FSI board:
March 31, 2023

Izabelle Stevens

Region: Vancouver Coastal

Came on FSI board: April 9, 2022

Ping Wang

Region: Interior

Came on FSI board:
May 23, 2024

Lori Woods

Region: Fraser Valley

Came on FSI board:
December 3, 2018

Izabelle Stevens

Region: Vancouver Coastal

Came on FSI board: April 9, 2022

Lori Woods

Region: Fraser Valley

Came on FSI board:
December 3, 2018

Dominic Rockall
Dominic Rockall

Region: Island

Came on FSI board:
December 3, 2018

Nicole Kaler

Region: Fraser Valley

Came on FSI board:
May 23, 2024

FSI Staff
Angela Clancy
Angela Clancy

Executive Director

📞 604-540-8374 ext. 6

Mazy Tolentino
Mazy Tolentino​

Director of Finance and Administration

📞 604-540-8374

Patti Mertz
Patti Mertz​

Director of Programs

📞 604-540-8374 ext. 7

Laranna Scott
Laranna Scott

Indigenous Practice Advisor

📞 604-540-8374 ext. 8

Lisa Butt
Lisa Butt

Office Manager 

📞 604-540-8374 ext. 1

Nancy Chan

Office Manager (on leave)

Karen Speijer

Team Lead, Transition and Adult Family Supports

📞 604-540-8374

Robyn Kendurkar

Team Lead, Early Years and Children’s Family Supports; Newsletter Editor

📞 604-540-8374

Linnette Gratton

Provincial Engagement Lead

📞 604-540-8374 ext. 9

Meilani Johnson

Communications Specialist

Penny Lopez

Family Support Coordinator
(NACL Liaison)

📞 604-540-8374 ext. 4

Lindsay Thompson
Family Support Coordinator 📞 604-540-8374 ext. 5
Lama Alsaafin

Family Support Coordinator

📞 604-540-8374 ext. 2

Mayuko Arai

Family Support ToolKit Developer

📞 604-540-8374

Joe Liang

Technology Support

📞 604-540-8374

Miranda Hersco

Online Resource Coordinator

Heather Beach

Regional Network Coordinator

Cari Rawling
Regional Network Coordinator
Esther King

Regional Network Coordinator

Strategic Priorities and Plan 2023-2028

Increase awareness of FSI throughout the province so families find us when they need us.

Strengthen our programs, particularly in Northern, rural, and remote communities.

Strengthen FSI’s organizational capacity to be healthy and sustainable to better serve families.

Raise the voices of families and people with disabilities to affect systemic change in BC.

Embed and embrace Equity, Decolonization and Inclusion in all aspects for the organization.

Angela Clancy
Contact Angela Clancy
Executive Director
Contact Training and Special Events Coordinator

FSI Privacy Consent and Authorization

  • You understand and agree that you are providing the Family Support Institute of BC (“FSI”) with personal information, either of yourself or on behalf of another individual regarding whom assistance is sought (the “Personal Information”). The Personal Information may include, but is not limited to, medical information, health care history, education information, financial information, employment information, and/or contact information.
  • You represent and warrant that you have the authority to provide the Personal Information to FSI.
  • You consent to the collection, use and disclosure of the Personal Information for the purpose of participating in the programs and/or activities of FSI. You understand and consent to this information being used to facilitate participation in the programs and activities of FSI, including, but not limited to, support programs; workshops & training; networking opportunities; and information and referrals.
  • You understand and consent to the Personal Information being provided to FSI personnel, including, but not limited to Resource Parents and Resource Peers.
  • You understand that FSI is collecting the Personal Information under the applicable provincial legislation and any questions about the collection, use or disclosure of the Personal Information may be directed to .
  • By submitting the form, you agree that you understand the above consent and authorization and you represent and warrant that you have proper authority to provide such consent and authorization. You further understand and agree that you are providing consent and authorization to FSI concerning the Personal Information as set out herein.