Beginnings Family Services
Board of Directors
Beginnings is governed by an elected Board of Directors:
Clarence’s first contact with Beginnings was through the adoption of 2 children in 1987. He works as a financial planner and investment advisor. In the past, Clarence has been on his church council, Redeemer College Business Advisory Committee, OACS Financial Advisory Committee, the Kerncliffe Non-Profit Development Corporation Board for Shalem Mental Health Network, and the Board of Beginnings Family Services from 2006 – 2012. He rejoined the Beginnings board in 2018.
BA HONS, MSW
Heather is the creator and owner of Ella Minnow children’s bookstore in Toronto. Founded 9 years ago, Ella Minnow recently moved into a larger space, noteworthy in today’s bookstore climate of closures and industry challenge. Heather earned a Masters of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier university, where her focused area of study was adoptive families. Heather lives in Toronto with her husband and three teenage kids. Heather is an active volunteer: teaching parenting to street involved youth through Yonge Street Mission’s Evergreen program; participating in both the Children's Ministry and Refugee Sponsorship and Support Steering Committees at Little Trinity Church; serving as a jury member for the Canadian Children&’s Book Centre Norma Fleck non-fiction prize; and fostering feral kittens. Heather is interested in a wide range of handcrafts and always has many projects on the go.
Mary has been working as an Approved Adoption Practitioner with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services since 1997 and has maintained a private practice in which she has assisted hundreds of families with private domestic, international and public adoptions. Previously, she worked as a Family Service Worker at the Toronto Children’s Aid Society. She has also done vocational counselling and drug and alcohol addiction counselling and was a board member for an organization supporting homeless youth. In 2009, Mary joined Beginnings Family Services as their Adoption Practitioner. In 2010, she took on the role of managing the agency’s Embryo Donation Program and assists clients interested in donating or receiving embryos. Mary is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers (OCSWSSW), of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS).
HENDRIK (HANK) BYLSTRA
Tonya Noble has a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology. She has spent many years working with families, individuals/couples, individuals, adolescents, and children, addressing issues related to grief and loss, parenting, special needs, adoption, addiction, anger and conflict, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, trauma and attachment. Tonya has particular expertise in bereavement work and has facilitated groups for adolescents and children through Bereaved Families of Ontario. She has a National Community Crisis Response certificate from NOVA (National Organization for Victim Assistance). Tonya has been working in the field of adoption for over 15 years and is an approved Trainer for Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (P.R.I.D.E.) with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. Tonya has counselled birth parents and adoptive families throughout the adoption process, providing ongoing support and education for families pre and post-placement. As the Director of Education for Beginnings Family Services, Tonya supervises and facilitates education and training programs for all the Beginnings locations. She has recently initiated a Beginnings Healthy Choices and Decision Making Program for youth in high school settings.
Lisa has over 25 years fundraising experience in the not-for-profit sector in Hamilton. She has worked in Gift Planning most recently at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation and currently in her role as Manager of Estate & Gift Planning at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation. Lisa has served on the Executive of the Niagara Golden Horseshoe’s Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) for the past 10 years and most recently as Chair. Lisa is a long-standing member of West Highland Church and she and her husband are adoptive parents to two growing boys, Josh and Jordan.
B.A. (HONS), LL.B.
Lorna had over 12 years experience in the financial industries before attending law school. Lorna has been practicing law for the past thirteen years. Lorna was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada over twenty five years ago. She has volunteered on several community boards and agencies over the last thirty years. Lorna enjoys travelling and attends West Highland Baptist Church.
Sue is the office administrator for their small family software company, DataBind Inc. Originally she graduated with a University of Waterloo Kinesiology degree, and worked in the area of cardiac rehabilitation and sports medicine. Sue has served as deacon and pastoral elder in her church, and co-chaired the hospitality events committee at her children’s school. She played varsity volleyball at UofW and has coached in school and representative leagues. Sue, her husband and four kids reside in Guelph, where she loves to stay active, travel and go on adventures outdoors.
REVEREND ARIE GIDEON VAN EEK
B.A. M. DIV – FOUNDER/PAST CHAIR/BOARD MEMBER EMERITUS
Arie is a founding member of Beginnings and active volunteer in the organization since its inception in 1985. He received his Master of Divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids Michigan in 1957. As an ordained minister of the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA), he has served the denomination in both pastoral and administrative leadership roles. He retired from the CRCNA in 1999 as Executive Secretary of the Council of Christian Reformed Churches. Since then has dedicated his time to many worthy causes, including World Wide Christian Schools, Shalem Mental Health Network, and his home church of Bethel CRC, Waterdown. He currently holds the position of President of the Beginnings Board of Directors.