Ciara is a queer visual artist and student studying sociology at SFU. They volunteer at CJSF as the summer outreach and programming assistant. They constantly strive to learn, and they are committed to bringing creativity and dedication to everything they do. They always do whatever they can to be present and supportive of all the people in their life.

Lucca and Rebecca have a chat with Ciara to help bring to the forefront one of the voices and personalities of the lovely folks at CJSF working behind the scenes!

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Mark’s background as an educator and an athlete positions him to appreciate and explore the brain’s ability to change and recover after brain injury. His experiences with learning difficulties developed his interest in different learning profiles and helping students better understand the nature of their disabilities and their ability to overcome them. Mark has worked in education and cognitive rehabilitation since 2002. Having served as a teacher, administrator, Executive Director and CEO. With a background in human kinetics and educational leadership Mark has successfully paired his background in both of these areas into his role at ABI Wellness. Pairing his clinical experience in serving students with learning disabilities with his previous experience as the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Watson Centre for Brain Health, Mark has seen firsthand the overwhelmingly positive impact that strengthening specific neurological capacities can have on all aspects of a patient’s life. He is committed to working with patients so they can lead more fulfilled and independent lives. A frequent speaker on the topic of brain injury rehabilitation Mark has presented this work to: Public health agencies, BC Cancer Agency, The NHL Alumni Assoc., NFLPA Washington State among others. Mark also serves as a member of the integrated health advisory board at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Lucca and Rebecca are fascinated by this ‘poised to explode’ area of learning and research, and dig in deep with Mark to understand the potential and possibilities that he’s been witnessing through his work!

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Over her life, Mary Ann Saunders has moved through many, often overlapping, forms of gender expression and identity—boy, man, cross-dresser, queer straight, genderqueer, girl—before settling into womanhood (with a large dollop of non-binary femme) in her late 40s. She has rested comfortably there since.

Professionally, she’s an instructor at the University of British Columbia, teaching research culture, writing, children’s literature, and transgender studies, and has presented at academic conferences on topics as various as the ethical questions which arise when citing transgender scholars, and the entanglement of her own life story with mass-market children’s books and a sewing machine. She has a particular interest in how marginalized children are represented in children’s and young adult literature.

Mary Ann is on the advisory committees of two summer camps: CampOUT!, for queer, trans and Two-Spirit youth; and Queerest and Dearest, for queer Christian families. As “Camp Seamstress,” she has run sewing workshops during CampOUT!’s summer programming.

While a (mostly) life-long churchgoer and Anglican, Mary Ann’s true spiritual awakening came with her gender transition. These days she serves in a variety of roles at Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral, is working on developing feminist theologies of trans embodiment, and is beginning to share this emerging theological work with faith communities and academic audiences.

Married to her partner for almost 25 years, Mary Ann is a proud and happy Dad, a title (and role) she cherishes. She took up ballet at the age of 51 and dances badly but joyfully.

Lucca and Rebecca take some time with Mary Ann to explore her incredible journey of transformation and awakening, and see what gems she has discovered along the way!

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