Welcome to Extend-A-Family!
We are so glad that you found our site! We would like to invite you into our world to learn more about what we do and who we are!
At Extend-A-Family we firmly believe that “everyone belongs!” As Board Members, Parents, Hosts, Self-Advocates and Staff, we work to grow connections around those in our community that have a developmental disability. At Extend-A-Family we all represent valued roles in the lives of others. This is the core of community! In community, we have connections and relationships and memberships which honour our contributions, permit us to have choice, participate in every-day community life, be engaged and safe and allow us to shine!
Overall, Extend-A-Family has proven that we are truly not alone! It has allowed each of us to share our celebrations and struggles and encourages us to connect with others in ways that are inclusive to all!
The Extend-A-Family Board of Directors
Mother of a daughter with Down Syndrome; journalist. Serving the Board since 2016.
Parent of a child with developmental disability. Worked in a leadership role for a large national retailer for over 22 years, monitoring and improving team performance. Served as a member on the Parent Council Committee at her son’s school for several years and advocating for inclusion. Serving the Board since 2013.
Is a Senior Accountant at a professional accounting firm and is currently working towards obtaining her Chartered Professional Accountant designation. She has a Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies, Honors Specialization in Accounting from the University of Western Ontario. Serving the Board since 2015.
Mother of a son with a developmental disability; long-time member of another organization serving people with disabilities. Serving the Board since 2003.
Mother of a teenage son with Autism. In Fall of 2016, reached out to Extend-A-Family when feeling a little lost during my son’s transition into High School. The support and community of Extend-A-Family has been an absolute blessing for myself and my family! There is nothing I would like more than to give back in any way that I can. Spent much of my career as a Corporate Recruiter. Part of that role is working closely with the leadership team to advance inclusive and diverse hiring practices. I also enjoy running, bicycling, good coffee, good books and time with family and friends. Serving the Board since 2017.
Working in the hospitality industry (hotels). I have been a part of Extend-A-Family for most of my life as I have a developmental disability myself. I am committed to the idea of inclusion for the betterment of our community. I have done workshops and training on inclusion since high school. In addition, I have been giving speeches on the strengths of differently abled people since 2015. Serving the Board since 2018.
Works in the non-profit sector with over a decade of experience in organizations focusing on disability service, health promotion, youth leadership and inclusive recreation; specializing in project management, development, organizational leadership. She has a BA in Disability Studies with a Minor in Organizational Leadership as well as a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation Management and currently works as the Director of Development at L’Arche Toronto. Serving the Board since 2013.
The Extend-A-Family Staff
Jessica Van Wyk
Safe & Secure Futures Networks Coordinators
Jessica Van Wyk