Our Team

2015 First Call Staff Website



First Call Staff

Julie Cheng, Office Coordinator

julie@firstcallbc.org | 604-709-6962

2015 Julie Cheng WebsiteYears ago as a neighbourhood worker at an inner city school, Julie listened to parents’ stories of poverty and trauma and their struggles to give their kids a better life. She noticed how powerful it was for the parents to speak up, tell their stories and be heard. This experience is one reason why Julie is excited to work at First Call, an organization that gives voice to the needs of children and youth and works to improve their health and well-being.

Julie is currently the editor of the monthly newspaper Renfrew-Collingwood Community News and previously worked in publishing, communications and community development with such organizations as Alive magazine, Raincoast Books, YWCA Metro Vancouver and Collingwood Neighbourhood House. In her spare time, Julie enjoys gardening, eating out, taking long walks, playing tennis and watching her two girls play ball.


Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator

adrienne@firstcallbc.org | 604-877-4932

2015 Adrienne Montani WebsiteAdrienne has lived, worked and been a social justice activist in Vancouver since 1976. She joined First Call in 2000 and became the provincial coordinator in 2005. Prior to working with First Call, she served as the child and youth advocate for the City of Vancouver, and as the chairperson of the Vancouver School Board for three of her six years as an elected school trustee. Some of her earlier leadership positions included serving as the executive director of Surrey Delta Immigrant Services Society and of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland.

Adrienne has a long-standing interest in the issues of cross-cultural awareness and racism, women’s rights and the impacts of social exclusion on children and youth in low-income families. Her academic background is in Asian studies and adult education.

Adrienne’s work for BC’s children and youth has been acknowledged by a number of organizations:

  • In 2012, Adrienne received the Above and Beyond Award from the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks. The Above and Beyond award is given to a supportive adult who has gone above and beyond to support and improve the lives of young people in and from government care in BC.
  • In 2010, Adrienne received the MOSAIC Human Rights Award, which is awarded based on an individual’s activities, altruism, personal risk and significant contribution in the field of human rights and ethnic relations.
  • In 2009, Adrienne received the United Way’s Excellence in Action for Early Childhood Development Award and was also nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the community-building category.
  • In 2008, Adrienne received an Award of Excellence from the Federation of Community Social Services.

Download a high resolution photo of Adrienne here


Deanna Ogle, Living Wage Campaign Organizer

info@livingwageforfamilies.ca | 604-975-3347

2015 Deanna Ogle WebsiteWhen Deanna Ogle’s mother was hired on as support staff at a local hospital, her family went out for supper – a noteworthy event for a low-income family in rural Saskatchewan. This was Deanna’s first experience of the benefits of a living wage and she has been working on issues related to anti-poverty and gender equality ever since.

Deanna brings to the Living Wage for Families Campaign her experience working with West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), Oxfam Canada and many direct service organizations ranging from health clinics to drop-in centres.

Learn more about the Living Wage for Families Campaign here


John Kennedy, Communications and Development Coordinator

john@firstcallbc.org | 604-709-6970

John Kennedy WebsiteJohn’s path to First Call began in Port Hardy, one of the many BC communities where services are traditionally slow to reach and where teachers often encourage dissent and bold ideas. After some time at Simon Fraser University, John moved to China for 10years, where as Chinese-language editor with Global Voices he became involved in citizen journalism and human rights activism. Later in Hong Kong, John wrote for the South China Morning Post and led online activism campaigns with Amnesty International.

Since moving back to Vancouver in 2015, John has continued to explore social media potential for community organizing and grassroots activism, mostly recently with a youth-focused podcast. Next steps are to introduce First Call work to new BC families, invest in some night school and save up for a barbecue.


First Call Steering Committee

First Call’s work is guided by a steering committee that is comprised of representatives from First Call’s member organizations. The committee seeks diverse representation from members that work in each of the 4 Keys to Success. The committee meets bimonthly and serves as the liaison between the full coalition, which provides the overall direction for the work, and the staff.


Gyda Chud – Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC

Gyda ChudGyda has a lifelong commitment to children and youth and is honoured to work with First Call in taking leadership for child and youth advocacy.

She has taught in the early childhood education (ECE) programs at Langara and Douglas colleges, and at Vancouver Community College, where she served as the ECE program coordinator and later as the dean of continuing studies. Gyda is very much involved with the national sector, given her role as chair of the Child Care Human Resource Sector Council and the Early Childhood Education Faculty Forum. In addition to her faculty responsibilities, she has also presented at a number of conferences locally, provincially and nationally.

With a passion for community work and volunteerism, Gyda sits on the board of the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre, the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Community Legal Assistance Society.

More recently, Gyda has begun to work with several seniors groups, and sees the commonality of issues that prevail to ensure safe, healthy and productive lives for every age.


Dylan Falconer – PLEA

Dylan FalconerAfter completing a psychology degree at Simon Fraser University, Dylan worked for two years in group homes with Hollyburn Family Services. Following time as an alternate school youth worker for PLEA Community Services Society of BC, Dylan became a residential services coordinator in PLEA’s U-Turn program supporting family caregivers to provide specialized placements for children and youth. He is now a program manager for U-Turn.

One lesson that has guided Dylan throughout his career is the knowledge that if children and youth are provided adequate supports—especially at an early age—many will continue to be successful and overcome the barriers they face.


Derek Gent – Vancity Community Foundation

Derek GentDerek has a day job as executive director at Vancity Community Foundation, the legal entity through which First Call’s charitable program activities have been delivered since 2014. The foundation is an arms-length charity associated with the membership of Vancity Credit Union, including more than 130 donor funds, a core endowment directly invested for impact and a broad range of collaborative programs. Before his current role, Derek worked in finance, developing an investment portfolio of non-profit social enterprises, co-ops, aboriginal ventures and green businesses as part of the venture capital arm of Vancity, and he served as the first manager of social responsibility at Coast Capital Savings. He has an MBA from Queen’s, and has worked in management consulting, also gaining international experience in Bangladesh, Brazil and Italy.

Derek currently chairs the Public Policy Committee at Imagine Canada, an important umbrella organization representing the interests of charities and non-profits across the country, as well as the serving on Cooperators Foundation, Responsible Investment Association, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. He lives in East Van with his wife and partner of 27 years and their three young children, who all recently participated in the Welfare Food Challenge.


John Greschner


Jocelyne Hamel, Co-Chair – Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House/Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC

Jocelyne HamelJocelyne first became involved with First Call in 2008, when Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (MPNH) participated in First Call’s Social Development Partnership Program. MPNH’s community-based work in the project was to build capacity for immigrant women to conduct a participatory action research project and outreach to Spanish and Vietnamese immigrant families with young children. This early relationship motivated Jocelyne to support First Call at the governance level and she has been on the Coordinating Committee since 2010.

Jocelyne has been in non-profit leadership roles for more than 25 years and brings theoretical and practical knowledge and experience in leadership, governance, civic engagement and community-based programming for children, youth and families to the role. In her spare time, Jocelyne loves to attend concerts, theatrical performances and yoga classes and to walk in the beautiful city of Vancouver and its surrounding areas.


Cheryl Mixon, Co-Chair – Retired Social Worker

Cheryl MixonCheryl has dedicated 43 years to improving the lives of children, youth and their families.  She has always been and will remain committed to social justice and passionate about the delivery of quality service.

For 26 years she was a manager and director of both youth and family services for Family Services of Greater Vancouver, prior to that she worked for both MCFD and the YWCA. She has a degree in social work and has many hours training in the area of counseling, assessment and leadership. Cheryl has served on community center, day care and NGO boards.  She remains involved with the PACE society, First Call and is an active volunteer in the community.  She enjoys spending as much time as possible with her three wonderful grandchildren, her sons, husband and the elders in her family.


Emily Mlieczko – Early Childhood Educators of BC

Emily is a licensed early childhood educator and has been in the field for over 20 years with certification in both special needs and First Nations perspectives in early childhood settings. Throughout her career she has been engaged at the community and provincial level in a number of different projects and events highlighting the specialty of the ECE sector. In May 2010, Emily accepted the position of executive director of the Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC) and relocated her two teenage boys to Vancouver from the small coastal community of Prince Rupert.

Since that time, Emily has been engaged in strengthening and building connections and educating the community regarding the value of early care and learning. She has also expanded current ECEBC programs, such as Let’s Talk about Touching and Best Choices: An Ethical Journey, to ensure provision of education opportunities for the ECE sector. Emily is actively engaged with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC (CCCABC) and ECEBC on the joint project, A Community Plan for a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning in BC, or better known as the $10 A Day Child Care Plan. This plan is the potential solution to the child care crisis in BC.


Dr. Jean Moore – Canadian Mental Health Association


Katherine Moore – Student

Katherine MooreKatherine is an undergraduate student studying psychology at the University of British Columbia and aspires to obtain a PhD in counselling psychology. Katherine first learned about First Call in 2014 when Adrienne Montani attended her social work class as a guest speaker to discuss child poverty. Since then, Katherine has attended as many coalition meetings as her school schedule will allow and recently decided to take her involvement to the next level. As an individual who has struggled with poverty in the past and an advocate dedicated to fostering social conditions that allow families to thrive, Katherine hopes to contribute her experiences and talents to this already incredible team.

Outside of school, Katherine volunteers with Covenant House Vancouver to support homeless youth, gives talks about mental health at high schools and conducts research about positive psychology. In addition to this, Katherine is also working with a team of student leaders for the Canadian Mental Health Association to create a provincial strategy that will empower students to cultivate mentally healthy campuses.


Pam Preston – Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre

Pam PrestonPam received her ECE certificate in 1983 from Cariboo College (Thompson Rivers University) in Kamloops. After working in various child care settings in Kamloops and Merritt, she moved to Metro Vancouver to continue her work in ECE. Pam completed her certificate in infant and toddler care in 1989 while employed at Douglas College and Simon Fraser University Child Care Society.

Pam started working at Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre in 1990, first as the coordinator of the Information Daycare program and now as the executive director. In 2000 Pam graduated from Vancouver Community College with a certificate in non-profit management and a specialty in community development. Professional affiliations include membership in ECEBC, Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC, Canadian Child Care Federation and the Canadian Child Care Advocacy Association.