A Vision for the Future

May 9, 2019 by Derek Chu

A season of strategic visioning – a message from the Board of Directors

Thanks to you – whether you are one of Kinbrace’s visionary founders, a generous donor, a volunteer, a staff person, a person who has lived (or is living) the refugee experience, a neighbour, or elsewise connected – we have reached 21 years in our shared journey, striving to create a world of welcome, a life of opportunity, and a community of belonging for each person seeking refugee protection in Canada.

In March 2019, the Board initiated a season of strategic visioning, asking the question:  Where should Kinbrace go in the next 5-10 years?

First, an update on our senior leadership.  There have been a few communications to Kinbrace donors and supporters during the past year, advising of Loren Balisky’s future with the organization.  Among other communications, the Board of Directors announced at Kinbrace’s 20th Anniversary (June 2018) that Loren would be stepping down from the Executive Director role.

To prepare for this change, the Kinbrace Board retained a recruiter to help the organization hire a new Executive Director. After some deep listening, the recruiter advised the Board that Kinbrace wasn’t ready for a new Executive Director. With faith and courage, the Board stopped the recruitment process and discerned a different course, which included a decision to offer Loren a 9-month sabbatical leave, April-December 2019.

The Board has directed Loren to rest, refresh, and write during the sabbatical.  While Loren is away, a vibrant, dedicated staff team is in place and growing. Long-timer Emily Parsons Dickau (Director of Programs) and newly-hired Derek Chu (Director of Operations) will co-lead the organization, supported by the Board of Directors.  

If you are a volunteer, donor, or former resident, you will likely hear from and get to know new people joining the Kinbrace staff team.  Please welcome them if you get a chance, and let them know your heart for, and history of, welcoming people seeking refugee protection.

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors is creatively and diligently engaging staff, former Kinbrace residents and refugee claimants, donors, and others to envision Kinbrace’s future.  It is a season of dreaming, anticipating, and planning.

When your imagination intersects with the resilience of each person seeking refugee protection, the results are authentic and transformational.  I invite your continued support and input through this season of strategic visioning.

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Thank you,

Chris Wiesinger


On behalf of the Kinbrace Board of Directors

Trixie Ling

Flavours of Hope Summer Food Market

July 25, 2018 by admin

Flavours of Hope is running a market pilot with Kinbrace from June-August 2018 to celebrate traditional food, culture and stories of refugee newcomer women in our community. Through the summer food market, newcomer women are empowered to earn a living wage, build social connections and learn about food entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry. The women are building relationships and networks in the community, and gaining experience and employment opportunity to work in the food sector. Continue Reading →

Illustrator: Anna Bron

So we ran….

March 6, 2018 by Loren Balisky

If you didn’t get a chance to read the comic-style posters telling refugee stories at Vancouver bus-stops earlier this year, here’s your chance.

The Mokhovikova family’s story is a powerful witness to the resilience and courage required in the face of forced displacement.  Learn more details in this Vancouver Sun article by Lori Culbert where you’ll also see snippets of the outstanding comic by Anna Bron.

This also points to the profound impact you and I can have in the lives of people running for safety.  A warm welcome creates safety in the moment and hope for the future.

Gratitude to the Mokhovikova family for generously sharing their story.

Thanks also to Cloudscape Comics, the City of Vancouver, and the Province of BC for bringing these remarkable and vulnerable stories to the public’s attention in a dignifying way.

Photo: Mark Janousek

Trust affirms dignity

December 18, 2016 by Loren Balisky

The forced displacement of millions in our world creates an opportunity to welcome, in trust, those who leave their homes and families to protect themselves from persecution.  Trust is a gift we give and receive in a world troubled by fear and suspicion. Continue Reading →

What happens when…?

May 13, 2016 by Loren Balisky

What happens when we follow the lead of one boy, inviting us to welcome refugee claimants?

Astonishing generosity that truly turns our world around.

Watch this 30-second video to see how we, together, raised more than $65,000. Continue Reading →

Photo: Visha Thamboo

“I’m deeply grateful….”

April 15, 2016 by steve

Volunteers bring skill, creativity, and freshness to the welcome of refugee claimants.  And they leave inspired and enriched.

What a delight to have Anna Kvasnikova at Kinbrace!

From February to April, Anna volunteered two days a week through the University of British Columbia’s Arts Internship Program. Continue Reading →

Mark Janousek

Life-vest, anyone?

April 8, 2016 by Loren Balisky

“My people buy these for a very expensive price, and still they drown,” Azad* tells me as he fits into an orange life-vest, looking out over the quiet south bay of Anvil Island, BC.

The image of orange life-vests is synonymous with the current refugee crisis, a symbol of the tens of thousands of asylum seekers taking risky boat passage from north Africa and the Middle East toward Europe.  I’ve personally been gutted by the images of children, men, and women landing on the European coastline, faces tight with fear, the surf pounding around them.  It’s sheer survival. Continue Reading →

Burnaby youth present present their $6285 cheque to Kinbrace!

Burnaby Students Have More Than Talent….

December 2, 2015 by Loren Balisky

Burnaby youth have more than talent: they’ve got huge hearts for global concerns and hardworking hands to bring change locally.

Kinbrace was selected by the Burnaby District Student Advisory Council (DSAC) (student leaders from the eight Burnaby high schools) as the charity to support through their amazing annual Burnaby’s Got Talent event held on 08 April 2015.
Continue Reading →