Staff Team

Adriana Zepeda Integration Coordinator

Adriana joined the Kinbrace staff team in 2006. Her main role is to welcome new residents into the community by providing orientation, advocacy, and accompaniment. She lives in Port Moody with her husband Paco and their two adult children, Marcelo and Sofia. Adriana's whole family has been part of the Kinbrace community since 2004.

Derek Chu Director of Operations

Derek joined the Kinbrace team in 2019 after finishing his MA in Theological Studies at Regent College and MBA at Simon Fraser University. Derek brings a business and non-profit background to his role at Kinbrace, providing strategic oversight to the organization’s housing, integration, and community programs, as well as its administration and finances. He is most excited about getting to know and building relationships with Kinbrace’s residents.

Ebenezer Joshua Administrator

Ebenezer has been a part of the Kinbrace community since May 2019. He serves as the administrator, providing support in the areas of finance, human resources, and records management. Ebenezer has degrees in business and theology. He also has several years of experience working with various organizations. He is currently pursuing an advanced master's degree at Regent College. When he is not at Kinbrace, he and his wife are hanging out together doing fun activities in Vancouver.

Julie DeMelo Community Coordinator

Julie is currently on maternity leave! Julie joined the Kinbrace team in 2020. As the Community Coordinator she has the joy of creating opportunities for Kinbrace residents to develop friendships with other residents, volunteers, neighbours, and staff members. Julie spent many years living intentionally in community in Ontario before moving to the Vancouver area with her husband Darren and two young kids. She loves being near the ocean, gardening, hosting people in her home, and baking bread.

Laura Wallis-Wood Resource Developer

Laura joined the Kinbrace team in 2019 as our Resource Developer. She brings extensive fundraising experience specializing in Major Gifts and Community Fundraising. Laura lives locally with her family in East Vancouver and is passionate about this community. She enjoys baking, building new relationships, travels and spending time outdoors.

Loren Balisky Director of Engagement

Loren is one of the co-founders of Kinbrace and lived with his family in the transitional housing community from 1998-2017. In his current role as Director of Engagement, Loren works with the Board of Directors to promote the values and strategic vision of Kinbrace while resourcing its mission to support refugee claimants regionally and nationally. Loren, with his partner Tama and their two young adult children Abigail and Oliver, live in Vancouver.

Mohammed Zaqout Housing Support Worker

With his refugee claimant background, Mohammed has been advocating for refugee claimants' right to work, settle and more with different organizations and institutions including his internship position with the Multi Agency Partnership (MAP BC). Seeing the challenges people around the world face on a daily basis, Mohammed has directed his educational and professional experience towards easing and solving life’s difficulties and ending violence. He is excited to bring that passion to his role at Kinbrace helping refugee claimants find home.

Ryan Reid Housing Coordinator

Ryan joined the Kinbrace team in 2019 as our Housing Coordinator, working alongside Kinbrace's residents to secure safe, affordable housing. Ryan holds degrees in business and leadership with a focus on global issues, and has worked for many years in the social services sector. When he is not at Kinbrace, you might find Ryan exploring the mountains on the North Shore.

Sophia Underhill Accessing Refugee Protection Coordinator

Sophia joined the Kinbrace team in 2020, having recently returned to her home base of East Vancouver from the UK where she worked on issues of immigration detention. Her role is to coordinate the READY Tours and promote refugee hearing preparedness. Sophia is passionate about access to justice. She holds a BA in International Studies and an MSc in Human Rights. When she is not working, you can often find Sophia sitting somewhere on Commercial Drive with a coffee and a book, or out for a neighbourhood walk with her family.

Suzannah Nacho Community Coordinator
Suzannah began working at Kinbrace in February 2021. In the role of Community Coordinator she enjoys finding creative ways to engage the residents, host families, neighbours and volunteers to learn and grow together. Suzannah lived 14 years in Latin America focusing on community building and practicing theology in every day life. She has a passion for strengthening cross cultural relationships, reading, writing, and exploring the outdoors with her husband, David and their three children.
Wilfred Thariki Beyond Refuge Coordinator
Wilfred joined the team in 2021 and is no stranger to Kinbrace, having lived in the community at the start of his journey through Canada’s refugee determination system. His diverse background assisting displaced people, supporting handicraft producers, empowering those forced to live in slums, and consulting with the African Union and the United Nations positions him well for this role. Wilfred holds a Master’s degree in International Development from Middlesex University, UK, and a Bachelor of Education Degree from Kenyatta University, Kenya.

Meet the Host Community!

Our team at Kinbrace is made up of staff, volunteers, and the incredible Host Community. Take a minute to learn about them!

The two ideas, justice and vocation, are inseparable…. It is by way of the principle and practice of vocation that sanctity and reverence enter into the human economy. It was thus possible for traditional cultures to conceive that “to work is to pray.” Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays (The Idea of a Local Economy)