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CHANGING LIVES

ALONGSIDE COMMUNITY

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We are a family focussed and individual-focused support services in Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and some services in Chetwynd as well.

 

So we provide support to help people maximize their independence and to help them have a high-quality life. We work with families, we work with children, youth, and adults who have developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury.

Laurie Wilson, Founder & Director

Who are we?

We’re a team that strives to empower, support, and advocate for a high quality of life and belonging alongside individuals, families, and communities.

 

We’ve been providing outreach services and programming to Dawson Creek B.C and outlying communities in the Peace Region since 1994. We have a range of services and programming.

 

Here’s just a few:

Adults and children who have developmental disabilities. 


Children who have a diagnosed mental illness/mental health issues

that result in challenging behaviour. 

Individuals who have a dual diagnosis

(mental health issue and developmental disability). 

Individuals who have an acquired brain injury.

We’re known in the community for our work in enriching the lives of individuals and their families in a culturally sensitive way, and that all the individuals we serve are supported by individual planning that promotes person-centred thinking.

We’re structured to empower our staff and the individuals they support. Our programs are administered by teams, and there is a focus on professional competency as well as empathy for each person served. We have strong, tiered staff

development and evaluation programs.

We’re advocates for the quality of life of the individuals we support. We believe that all individuals have the right to be a contributing member of their community, so we strive to empower individuals to achieve their personal life goals in the areas of daily living, vocational, community access, and social and emotional wellness.

We willingly share our skills, knowledge, and resources with the individuals we support and their support systems. Our expertise is often called upon to provide in-service training on subjects in the area of developmental disability, mental health disorders in children, and dual diagnosis issues.

We network with other community organizations so that the basic needs of the individuals are met, and gaps in service can be filled.

 

We enjoy positive working relationships with all levels of management, social workers, resource workers, and front line staff of other agencies. That means we have a rich set of resources to meet housing and other crises that impact the individuals we support.

We’re known for the way we support all people, and we recognize each individual as being priceless. There is a foundation of compassion and care that is embraced by each individual in our organization.

 

Want to learn about our model of care?

Meet Our Team

Debra Chemerys

Program Support Child & Youth Staffed Residential

The helping profession has always been my career. I believe everyone deserves opportunities to grow and be the best they can be. Some may have challenges and need support to overcome them. My biggest desire is to help individuals through those challenges, and empower them to be as successful as possible.


My background is in social work, and I did that for a long time with a government organization. They were very structured, very black and white, and had lots of policies, procedures, standards to follow, as well as a hierarchy that was sometimes huge. When I came to INS, it has been so different! With the creative freedom I now have at INS, combined with my experience with government policies, I’m really able to listen to both the staff and youth to develop programs and resources that meet their needs.

Bill Dufour

Assistant program support, staff mentorship resource, and lead worker for child and youth residential

I have three big roles with INS. As a frontline staff member, I work alongside the youth to help them be the best version of themselves and a safe place to land when they can’t be. As a staff mentor, I help the staff build skills that will enable them to support these youth. Under Deb Chemerys’ mentorship, I also act as the assistant program support for Child & Youth Residential Services. That means I also help to ensure the residential programs are running smoothly and safely, and everybody has what they need, youth and staff included.

I became involved with the helping field in White Rock, B.C. in 1989. I moved to Dawson Creek in 1990 and continued my helping career supporting adults with physical & developmental disabilities, mental health, and addiction struggles. I didn’t join the INS family until 2006. Originally, I supported adults but later transitioned to working under Child & Youth residential in 2009. I have always felt drawn to supporting people and helping them to have the best quality of life that they can.
 

 

Laurie Wilson

Founder, Director

I’ve been a caregiver all of my life so I feel that this is truly my calling. It started when I was young helping the other kids at school. That led to working in an elderly care home when I was 16. Then at 20, when I got married, my husband and I started our own care home. I’ve always loved to support others, and I feel that this is my life’s work so every day is a personal journey for me.  

 

I’ve always had a strong philosophy and belief that everybody, all of us, has equal rights and should have equal opportunities to live and work in the community and be a part of our communities. So when I started INS, I had a vision and foundation for how we were going to roll out our services. My role has evolved, and I now empower our team to experience personal growth in their work and their practice while guiding our agency to “walk the talk” in following our mission, philosophy, vision, and guiding principles.

Holly Robar

Assistant Director

This agency has been a part of my life since I was a child. My mom, Laurie Wilson, started the agency in 1994, so I’ve been fortunate enough to watch INS grow. Along the way, I’ve had lots of opportunities to be fully involved and mentored by all of our senior program support staff too. I’ve learned so much from each and every one of them.


When I began my career at INS, I started as a behavioural intervention worker and I worked with kids anywhere from the ages of five to the age of twelve. In that time, I also helped to implement the Circle of Courage model in the agency. As a frontline staff, this experience allowed me to be more aware and more observant of where the gaps were for these kids and what I could really do to help them feel whole within the community, within their homes, and within their schools.


Now, I have more of a mentorship role with the program support at INS. I work alongside new staff to help them feel confident and get to know their job really well. I’m there for staff if they need anything.

Amanda Arndt

Program Support

I work alongside individuals to live and maintain a happy, safe and healthy life. This can mean working alongside individuals with crisis management or supporting medical needs, goal development, and advocacy. I also work alongside staff to help them improve their supports.  


I started out in this field 10 years ago with a home share program. The individual sharing our home with us was supported by INS. I developed a working relationship with INS staff, and I was eventually hired as a community support worker. Long story short, I loved it and kept going.

Pamela Urquhart

Program Support

I work alongside adult individuals to help them live a fulfilling and productive life in the community. I also support the staff in a variety of ways who work directly with our individuals. This can mean supporting individuals with community involvement, but it can also mean supporting individuals as they navigate the legal system.


I started in this line of work approximately 25 years ago. After overcoming my own personal addictions and trauma, I felt I would be a good example and a source of encouragement to others as they move forward in life.  I am resourceful and not afraid to takes risks that empower others to lead a healthy life. 
 

Danelle Kilber

Behavioral Consultant

As a behavioural consultant, I look at behaviour, mental health issues, and significant life challenges from a scientific point of view. I collect data, gather information, and then put all that together to develop proactive strategies that are person-centred, trauma-informed, and inclusive of skill development. The end goal of my work is to facilitate growth within the circle of courage - through self-empowerment, community partnerships, mastery, belonging and generosity.


I became interested in this field in 1990 when our son was diagnosed with autism.  I wanted the best possible outcome for our son and I chose to make this my career as I learned from the professionals who were supporting us at the time. I eventually found myself involved in the educational aspects of this field, and I eagerly took that on. Because of the positive impact of good behavioural tools, education, and support on my life, I want to pass on what I’ve learned and help to enrich others as well. 

Mathew Abraham

Program Support

I work alongside people to help them gain valuable life skills and I support them with resources to promote their quality of life, personal growth, and independence in the community.


I have a nursing background. After I earned my bachelor’s in nursing, I studied business management. While studying business, I took social work courses, which led me to work with individuals. that eventually led me to INS in June 2020, where I have been given the opportunity to apply my experience and studies to help make life better for the individuals we support. Not to mention, the work culture and support for learning at INS has really enabled me to be a better caregiver.

Brian Kreuzinger

Behavioral consultant and program support

I work alongside parents and youth to help them discover and implement strategies and skills to address their unique challenges and needs. I would describe myself as an empathic problem solver. Because there’s a lot of guilt and shame around issues that children may be experiencing, I don’t start with where parents and children should be. I like to discover where the parents are, their family’s values; as well as the child’s strengths and views. Then I work together with the family to formulate what a goal will look like at the end of a referral.  

 
I’ve been working at INS for 5 or 6 years, but I’ve been working with kids in care for, as I like to call it, about a bazillion years.

Kevin Zarifeh

Program support for community integration

I always joke that I found a place willing to pay me to be the oldest kid in the room and I love my job. I work alongside kids in helping them to learn new social and life skills, and how to apply them in their world. 


I first got involved with working with kids in 1988 while coaching the BC Special Olympics. In one of life’s great ironies, somebody said “you know you’re really good with the athletes, have you ever thought of doing this for a living?” I thought “you can do this for a living?” So, I applied over the phone with a company looking for male workers, got the job, and I’ve been doing this in one way or another ever since.

Michelle Wilson

Office Administrative Assistant

My role at INS is to help staff to access our enhanced dental and medical benefits plan, create timesheets and manage accounts receivable revenues, and employee files.

 

I used to be a front-line support staff until I learned bookkeeping and office administration, so my job has really evolved to helping our office run smoothly and ensuring all our staff needs are met. INS has really provided flexibility for myself and my family. 

Nikhil Thokalath Nimes

Residence Program Support

I supervise the daily needs of the individuals in our care, and I assist in the delivery of our support services. Most importantly, I monitor program effectiveness and provide support for staff.


I’ve always been passionate about helping those in need. When I began working at INS in 2017, I was able to dedicate my life to my passion and apply the skills I’ve gained through my studies and experience.

Ranjit Kaur

Admin Assistant and Bookkeeper

My work at the office is mostly about accounts payables, so I make payments to the different vendors, staff reimbursements, grocery cheques for the individuals, rent cheques, review payroll. I answer emails and phone calls and assist my co-workers with their duties. I also prepare T4’s and day to day accrual/cash accounting.


I became an accountant because I enjoy the diversity in accounting tasks. It allows me to learn new things and problem solve new challenges. At INS, I know that my work helps everyone do their jobs, and that means a lot to the individuals and families other team members support.

Betty Doering

Bookkeeper, Payroll

My role at INS focuses on the payroll for employees, reviewing payables, assisting employees with inquiries, yearend procedures; as well as, full-cycle cash and accrual accounting using Sage software.  


I’ve worked in this field for years and I’ve always enjoyed its challenges. Bringing that experience and knowledge to INS makes me feel that I can help more people.

Visit Us:

1132-117 Avenue

Dawson Creek, BC

V1G 3G7