An integral component of the Mémiyelhtel program is the formation and collaboration of strong community partners. The Mémiyelhtel program, youth and families are jointly supported by other community agencies and organizations, small businesses, and many caring individuals, including our own Elders. The Mémiyelhtel staff have worked hard to establish and maintain meaningful relationships with all partners alike. This spectrum of support ensures we can offer youth and families a dynamic experience in the program.
Our partners have become allies to Mémiyelhtel. The culmination of many contributions helps manage the demands of this important work.
As the Mémiyelhtel program evolved, we required the formal inclusion, guidance, and consult of our Elders. The Youth Elders’ Advisory was formed, with a diverse membership of our respected Elders. The advisory offers a spectrum of opportunities for Elders to enhance the work with the youth.
We would like to acknowledge and honour the Elders whom advise and support our Mémiyelhtel program. Their guidance, wisdom, support, and teachings contribute to our program success.
Her traditional name is Th’et-simiya. Wendy is from Sqówqeyl community. Wendy prides herself as the Elder within her family and community, as well as her role in being a language and cultural teacher. Wendy enjoys sewing, knitting, playing slahal, cooking, and traveling.
His traditional name is Xemxwe’meleq’. Mark is from Sqówqeyl First Nation. His roles within the community include being a traditional canoe carver, Elder, and Chief. Mark is a retired teacher and school principal. He also has spent most of his life servicing and advancing the rights of First Nations’ people. Mark takes great pride in his Indigenous heritage and has participated in all aspects of his culture.
Her traditional name is Kaxta. Yvonne is from the community of Sts’ailes. She serves in many roles within the community, including her role as an Elder for the Headstart and Qwiqwelstom program, and her role in saying prayers in Halq’emeylem during meetings. Yvonne also teaches the community about herbal medicines. Yvonne enjoys crocheting, knitting, and learning and using herbal medicines.
Sid is from the community of Cheam First Nations.
His traditional name is Yen Mo Ceetza. Isadore is from the community of Upper Nicola, but resides on Soowahlie First Nation. He has many roles within his community including being an artist, Elder, confidant, prayer warrior, and sharer of historical stories. Isadore enjoys Ventriloquism, carving, reading, weaving, soap carving, walking, jogging, photography and writing.
Her traditional name is Melileqthet. Helen is from the community of Chiyaqtel, where she is dedicated as the Cultural Advisor. Helen has many hobbies, such as crocheting, sewing, sudoku, and puzzles.
Clarence (Kat) Pennier
His traditional name is HI:olemtel & Xayslemtel Sqewlets. Clarence (Kat) is from the community of Sqewlets. He serves in his community as an employee of Stó:lō Tribal Council by helping develop a comprehensive community plan. He has dedicated his career to advocating for First Nations’ rights and title.
The Mémiyelhtel staff are an integral aspect of the program. They possess unique inherent qualities and support youth with the utmost humility and integrity. Staff invest in this work as a lifestyle and continually strive for their own personal growth and wellness, which reflects in their service delivery. Collectively, the team offers a dynamic and impactful spectrum of skills and supports.
Join our Team
Racheal was born and raised in Chilliwack, BC. She is a resident and member of Sqówqeyl First Nation. On her mother’s side, her Grandfather is from Sts’ailes and her Grandmother is from Skwah First Nation; her Grandparents on her father’s side are from the Philippines. After being a stay-at-home mom for 5 years, she came to support our team in 2019. She brings a positive attitude and strong communication and organizational skills. In her free time, Racheal enjoys running, and playing with her children and grandchildren.
Bridgette was born and raised in the Surrey, BC area. In her free time, she enjoys travelling and spending time with her grandchildren. She has been a foster parent for over 20 years. Before coming to the Mémiyelhtel program in 2017, she worked as an Education Assistant with the school district in Chilliwack. Bridgette brings so much to the team. She is loving, generous and has a strong passion for helping youth in need. Her life experience allows her a unique perspective and she inspires youth with her own resilience.
Nick was born in Seattle, WA and raised in Chilliwack, BC. He is a member of Shxwhá:y Village where he lives with his wife and son. Nick is very dedicated to his family, community and work. He has been with the Mémiyelhtel program since 2018. He brings many cultural teachings and knowledge to his work. Nick’s fun and adventurous attitude helps him connect and build relationships with the youth he supports. In his free time Nick is an active member of his community.
Josh Togeretz was born and raised in Chilliwack, BC. He has been working with youth in a variety of capacities since 2010 and joined the Mémiyelhtel Program in 2019. He has a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor. Josh is passionate about meeting youth where they are at and finding individualized ways to support each person/family. During his spare time, Josh loves to actively explore the outdoors with his family and play team sports.
Kaylene Kelly is a Woodland Cree woman from Bigstone Cree Nation, Treaty 8, and a community member from her partner’s home on Sema:th of the unceded Stó:lō territory in Abbotsford, British Columbia. In 2021, Kaylene received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of the Fraser Valley. She is driven in advocating for the voices and inclusivity of Indigenous peoples in social work programs and services, and hopes to dismantle systems of oppression, anti-Indigenous racism, marginalization, and violence in my future practice. People describe Kaylene as someone who dreams big and craves for more social justice and healing within Indigenous communities. Kaylene is greatly honoured and excited to be new to the team at the Mémiyelhtel program and takes great pride in providing justice, advocacy, and mentorship to youth as she has over eight years of experience.
Breanna was born and raised in Chilliwack. She is Stó:lō – Pil’alt – from Xwchíyò:m on her dad’s side, and of Chinese descent on her mom’s side; she also has Danish cultural roots. Breanna struggled as a young person and it motivated her to want to work with young people. Breanna has a Masters of Counselling degree in Counselling Psychology and has spent her adult career working with youth and giving back to her community. She is deeply passionate about this work and aims to support young people in breaking cycles and utilizing their gifts.
Brandon Jimmie is Coast Salish, Ojibway and Cree. He was born and raised in Chilliwack, BC. His mother comes from Peguis, MB and his father is from Squiala First Nation in Chilliwack. Brandon takes pride in his culture. He is a canoe builder apprentice/paddle maker and wood worker. He is currently enrolled at UFV, working towards his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. Through his humour and lived experience, Brandon brings his own approach to the work he does with the youth. His goal is to help break down the barriers that colonization has created in society.