Beginnings Family Services

Board of Directors

Beginnings is governed by an elected Board of Directors:

CLARENCE BICK


CHAIR

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.

HEATHER KUIPERS


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.

ANN STOCKER


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 GONNERING


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.

LORNA GEORGE


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 HELLINGA


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.

  • Clarence Bick
    Clarence Bick CHAIR

    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.

  • Heather Kuipers 
    Heather Kuipers  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.

  • Ann Stocker
    Ann Stocker

    Ann has been an associate of the Institute of Family Living for several years working with families, individuals/couples and individuals. Ann holds a Bachelor in Religious Education and a Master of Divinity with a major in counselling.  Her background includes over 20 years of work in marginalized communities and 6 years in tourism.  She has been facilitating a support group for young teenage mothers for the past 8 years, and a family group in her local church for the past 12 years.  She has also been active in facilitating workshops in the areas of mental health, parenting, relationships, grief and contemplative spirituality, as well as organizing seminars and conferences.  When she has the time, Ann enjoys exploring the city, spending time with family and friends, playing with her two cats, sailing, photography, knitting, watching films and reading, as well as some current writing projects.

  • Hendrik (Hank) Bylstra
    Hendrik (Hank) Bylstra

    Hank was born in the Netherlands in 1952 and emigrated to Canada that same year.  His family settled in Hamilton where hegrew up and was part of the Paradise Road Reformed Church.  He attended Hamilton District Christian High School and later lived for three years In the Netherlands for study purposes.  Hank attended McMaster University in Hamilton for his Bachelors degree in History.  He attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky for his Masters Degree in Divinity.  Hank is married to Connie and they have two adopted Children and now three grandchildren.  He spent ten years as a Pastor in the Free Methodist Church in Southern Ontario before going to Mississauga in 1996 to serve for seven years with two small Reformed Churches in the GTA.  Hank took a 2 year course of studies in Conflict Management at Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo and has served since 2003 as Pastor/Chaplain at Holland Christian Homes in Brampton.  Hank enjoys reading, photography, travel and family times.

  • Lisa Gonnering
    Lisa Gonnering

    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 her and her husband are adoptive parents to two growing boys, Josh and Jordan.

  • Reverend Arie Gideon Van Eek, B.A.
    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.

Join In. You’re In The Family

Support the Beginnings family in a range of wonderful ways.