Louise Vandenbosch, Co-Chair
As a social worker, currently in private practice, I have dedicated my career to strengthening families and communities. I became involved with Heart-Links in 2010: one, because I’d had a busy year at work and wanted to try something completely different; and two, because I had always planned to do international work once my children were grown. Heart-Links’ Work/ Awareness Trip (now called the Solidarity Trip) seemed like the perfect window into international work. From the start, I was hooked. The people I met in Peru were generous and kind and showed such resilience under very difficult circumstances. I returned to Canada resolved to become involved in the organization. Now, seven years later, I co-chair the Board and provide leadership. It has been a fulfilling endeavour.
Gordon Price, Co-Chair
After over thirty years of working as a community librarian in London, I am now retired. I have always been interested in international development issues. I was attracted to Heart-Links because rather than responding to short-term crises, Heart-Links has maintained close relationships with a few communities in northern Peru for close to 30 years. Heart-Links helps bring about significant change in the lives of a great many Peruvians by working in partnership with trusted, progressive Peruvian agencies engaged in community development and leadership training.
Fraser Macdonald, Treasurer
I joined the Heart-Links Board as treasurer in November 2015. I am a retired banker, having served for many years in a senior capacity in various Latin American countries. My experience in South America included active participation in charitable endeavours and through it, I developed a deep appreciation for and friendships with people throughout the region. My wife Yvonne and I are avid but very average golfers and enjoy life on our large hobby farm just outside London.
Tatiana Fernández, Secretary
I have 27 years of experience working with vulnerable communities in urban and rural areas in both Peru and Canada. As a case worker at My Sister’s Place, I have dedicated 17 years to community mental health, in particular among women facing abuse and trauma. One of the passions I share with Heart-Links is the desire to help Peruvian communities along the road to an improved quality of life by supporting their empowerment through education and training, starting with the recognition of their own strengths and potential.
Besides my role on the Board, I co-chair Heart-Links’ Community Engagement Committee. I am also pursuing an undergraduate degree at Western University in Health Sciences, Anthropology and Community Development. I became involved with Heart-Links because I believe in our model of supporting grassroots community-led programs in Peru that take into consideration the needs of the local population. I also value the opportunity to work with and learn from a very talented group and to continue to grow as a person and develop my leadership skills.
I am a social worker working with vulnerable children, women and families. In July 2016, I participated in the Heart-Links Solidarity Trip to northern Peru. On that trip, I was often in awe of the physical beauty of the land juxtaposed with its palpable poverty. But it was the equally palpable resiliency and determination of the people that inspired me to continue my affiliation with Heart-Links. My involvement on the Board allows me to further the goal of “solidarity” and to contribute to the promotion of self-determination for some of the most vulnerable Peruvians.
After 20+ years in the local nonprofit sector, I spent two years in Malaysia as an education advisor, helping the government improve the public school system. I currently provide consulting services to organizations looking to build their leadership or management and communication capacity. After experiencing Southeast Asia at a deep level and joining a humanitarian trip to Africa in 2006, I turned my attention to South America. I knew immediately that Heart-Links was where I could make the biggest impact and joined the board in January 2017.
Ruth Taylor, Operations Coordinator
I work part-time as Heart-Links’ sole staff person. Supported by a great board and many dedicated volunteers, I get to apply my skills to helping make our world a little more like the compassionate, fair, inclusive place I’d love it to be. I draw on close to a decade of experience working as a journalist and communicator in Guatemala and on a long history of participation in global solidarity efforts. I was thrilled to discover that an organization like Heart-Links existed in London, Ontario, and even more thrilled that they hired me.