Our team is made up of staff, board members, volunteers and partners who share a common passion for building a connected, supportive, and joyful community for seniors in our neighbourhood. We are a diverse group of people with varied backgrounds and talents, who enjoy working and growing together. We believe intensely in our work and wholeheartedly love SGSC.
Our small, but powerful staff oversees all of the centre’s efforts. This includes coordinating programs, planning events, mobilizing volunteers, managing the office, building community partnerships, writing grants, connecting with members – the list is endless! We maintain an open and transparent office, and always encourage discussion on how we can better run the centre.
Clemencia Gomez, originally from Colombia, has been the Executive Director of the South Granville Seniors Centre for more than ten years, where she leads the staff, volunteers and membership in organizing and providing a diverse range of programs and services for seniors, including a specially-designed weekly program for Spanish-speaking seniors who are often battling language barriers and poverty issues. She is an Economist by training and has a Masters in Applied Anthropology (Ecuador). Clemencia is all about building communities, identifying needs and finding solutions that are "outside the box". She worked with the Neighbourhood Helpers (a non-profit group that serves low-income seniors living in single-room-occupancy hotels in downtown Vancouver) for ten years, was the President of the Vancouver Cross-Cultural Seniors Network Society for 6 years, and presently is part of the City of Vancouver Seniors Advisory Committee. As well, in 2010, she was given the “Bright Light” award by the Pacific Immigrant Resources Society, in recognition for her contributions as an immigrant woman who has become a leader and a role model in the community.
Office Administrator & Program Assistant
When Leah, a 2018 UBC graduate in Biology, applied for this position, she already knew quite a bit about the Centre. “Marina [Sanz, Spanish Program Coordinator] is a good friend of mine,” says Leah. “She had been telling me for a while about the activities here and the friendly, vibrant atmosphere.”
Leah has six years of experience as a volunteer in a hospital where she helped organize activities for seniors. That, plus her passion for building community and bringing people together — skills she honed in extra-curricular activities at UBC — are among the strengths she brings to the team.
Spanish Program Coordinator
By the time Danna Wigueras started work as Spanish Program Coordinator in December 2018, she was already familiar with both our Centre and this program. “My friend Katya Maule had the job before me,” Danna explains, “and I used to come in and help out as a volunteer. When Katya relocated to Yellowknife, I decided to apply for the position.”
Danna’s background in Mexico was excellent preparation, even though she had not worked specifically with seniors. “I was a pre-school teacher for 15 years; I ran an educational business that helped children with special needs, deaf-mute children in particular; I mentored students at all levels, right up through university; and I ran a summer camp for two to 13-year-olds.” All this taught her to organize and run programs — and it demonstrated, year after year, her love for engaging with people and helping them use their minds and bodies to the full.
Here, as one of the Centre’s volunteers, Danna for the first time began working with seniors. “It was a discovery, and it is a joy,” she says. “It enriches me.” She has already introduced one new activity: group singing. No try-outs required, no signing up. You like romantic boleros? Join in! The next new activity may well be dancing.
“We’re re-creating a little bit of ‘back-home’ here, a place to relax and talk and laugh and dance and reminisce…” She smiles. “I want people to be eager to come here, every Wednesday.”
Donors and Revenue Canada demand two things from charitable organizations: good work for a good cause — and clear, complete, reliable financial records. Since 2011, Peter Chen has helped ensure that all our financial documents, from budgets to grant applications and tax returns, are in perfect order.
When Peter began working here part-time, he was already a professional bookkeeper, taking accounting courses at BCIT, and looking for additional work experience. He completed those courses, and went on, in 2015, to qualify as a CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant). “I like working at the Seniors Centre very much,” he says. “I like the environment, the culture, and the people — especially the people. People here are very friendly.”
Programs and Volunteer Coordinator
Benita Yi holds a Bachelor of Social Work from UBC, specialized in gerontology. Her academic internships caused her to become deeply familiar with the range of resources available for seniors — and the importance of connecting those resources with the people who need them. While at university she also honed her organizational skills, helping to create and run both programs and events for a variety of groups and purposes.
“In this job, I’m able to draw on all aspects of my background,” she says, and singles out programming, resource-mapping and partnerships as areas of particular interest. “I’m here to work with our whole community — members, non-members living in the area, volunteers and staff — and help ensure that everyone feels welcome, and at home.”