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Our Team

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Rebekah Churchyard
(she/her)
CEO, Founder

Rebekah holds a Master of Social Work in Gerontology, and works in Specialized Geriatric Services. Rebekah is also a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Psychotherapist. She relocated from Toronto back to Kitchener-Waterloo in 2020 on a mission to start Green Care Farms Inc.! In Toronto she gained extensive volunteer experience in charitable board governance and in municipal policy. Rebekah served as President and Vice-President with the Toronto Council on Aging Board of Directors and as an Accountability Table member with the City of Toronto’s Seniors Strategy. 

 

Rebekah loves flowers, sunshine and laughter.

 

Why do you love Green Care Farms?

My grandpa was a Christmas tree farmer in Belwood, Ontario. At age 63 he was diagnosed with an early onset frontotemporal dementia. It was challenging for our family to find meaningful activities for him to engage with.

 

We need more programs for folks with early onset dementia who wish to be outside and active. We also need more programs to build cognitive resilience in rural settings. I love the idea of a person with dementia who values nature and growing things to be able to do in a safe and supported setting.

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Jenna Rines
(she/her)
Social Worker, Researcher, Environmental Educator

Jenna is a Social Worker passionate about program development and innovation in response to social and environmental challenges. She had the pleasure of working in geriatrics early on in her career and has stayed involved in related work and volunteering ever since. Although still an amateur, she loves to garden and spend as much time as she can outdoors with family and friends. 

Jenna's role with Green Care Farms includes strategic planning, social enterprise development, proposals and partnerships.

 

Why do you love Green Care Farms?

I love the innovation and multisolving potential of Green Care Farms. There are so many benefits beyond those for the individuals and families connected to the program. We need more businesses contributing to sustainable positive impacts on a social and environmental level, and I am excited to be part of the changes Green Care Farms will inevitably be making in Canada.

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Ava Sturm
(she/her)
Social Media Lead,
Naturopathic
Medicine Student

Ava is a Naturopathic Medicine student from Nova Scotia. She is passionate about life-enrichment through the therapeutic value of nature and community. Since moving to Toronto, Ava has been involved with multiple urban-food initiatives including Not Far From the Tree and was the social media manager for Wild By Nature, a backyard garden mentoring community.

 

When Ava is not studying or working as a nanny, she loves to cook with her friends, hike to waterfalls, and make crafts with pressed flowers.

 

Why do you love Green Care Farms?

I love that Greencare Farms values purpose, fun, enrichment, and overall quality of life. This is true for the participants, and for the community that is created when food is our point of connection. Having been raised in a rural area, I also value that Greencare Farms offers a creative and multi-faceted solution in an often-overlooked population.

 

Greencare Farms has so much heart behind it and I’m so excited to be a part of its growth. 

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Sabrina Armstrong
(she/her)
Communications,
Researcher

Sabrina holds a Master of Science in Medical Science and has experience researching pathologies underlying neurodegenerative diseases and potential new treatments both in clinical and laboratory settings. She is passionate about improving the care and treatment for individuals living with dementia.

 

In her free time, Sabrina enjoys fitness, drawing and watercolour, and creating plant-based meals. Sabrina is thrilled to be working with the team on communications and public relations.

Why do you love Green Care Farms?

I love that Green Care Farms is providing a meaningful and fun activity for individuals living with dementia to get outside and experience and engage with nature. I’m excited that the program offers an alternative to traditional dementia day programs by giving people an opportunity to learn new skills, stimulating outdoor physical activity, and promoting nutritious eating. All of these components and more help to improve mood and social engagement, which are so vital to healthy aging. I hope to see more Green care farms and gardens expand to every community.

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Vianca Wagan
(she/her)
Website Lead,
Master of Health Science Student

Vianca is an aspiring Registered Dietitian. She is currently a Masters in Health Science student specializing in Nutrition Communication. She also holds a previous degree in Psychology. Vianca is passionate about community nutrition, education, and knowledge mobilization. She has considerable experience in managing social media accounts and developing online content. As a volunteer for Green Care Farms, Vianca hopes to increase the online presence of Green Care Farms through content creation, social media coordination, and supporting the team.

 

In her spare time, Vianca likes reading books on food history, dancing bachata, and hiking to connect with nature.

Why do you love Green Care Farms?

I admire how Green Care Farms focuses on more of a social prescription and community-centred approach to care for individuals living with dementia. This allows for more agency for participants in the program, which I believe is integral for quality care and an individual’s personal enjoyment. Furthermore, it has amazing potential for building a sustainable food system within the local community. I want to support Green Care Farms’ initiatives to improve social, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as promote access to nutritious foods.

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Maggie Hryhorenko
(she/her)
Website Lead,
IT and PM Instructor and Consultant

Maggie is an authorized training partner with PMI, a course director at York University, and an executive with Megabyte Consulting Limited.

 

Apart from her professional work, Maggie is passionate about helping others and giving back to the community. She has been involved in charity work for women's shelters, orphanages, social programs like Green Care Farms, and animal rescue groups in Canada, Costa Rica, and other countries.

In her free time, Maggie enjoys traveling, gardening, and raising butterflies.

Why do you love Green Care Farms?

Green Care Farms is an amazing initiative that has been long overdue in Canada. It is heart-wrenching to witness how quickly isolation and depression can affect people. Being useful and part of a group can have a powerful healing effect.

It is encouraging to see the younger generation taking into consideration the needs of individuals living with dementia or similar cognitive issues and their caregivers.

The team at Green Care Farms is exceptional. They are open-minded, enthusiastic, and willing to achieve as much as possible in a short time. It is my pleasure to be a part of this team. My role in the team is to assist with the website and organize some of our events. I am also excited to learn and gain experiences from all the individuals participating in this program.

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Kristen Belza
(she/Her)
Social Work Student,
Creative Programming

 

 

Kristen is a Social Work student who holds a Bachelor of Arts with both a Social Work and Diversity and Equity specialization. She is completing her placement hours at the farm to foster her passion for working with older adults and gain first-hand experience with those living with dementia. She hopes to use her transferable skills to aid both in-person on the farm and behind the scenes online.

 

When Kristen is not working or studying, she enjoys baking sweet treats and getting creative with various DIY projects that involve her artistic skills. 

 

Why do you love Green Care Farms?

I love that Green Care Farms provides an alternate setting for older adults to maintain their love for outdoors and stimulate their brains more than a typical day program would. It allows both the volunteers and the participants to enjoy all the benefits that the environment gives us and share the fruits of the labour with others as well.

We'd also like to thank our previous team members for their wonderful contributions to Green Care Farms Inc.

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