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.
María José Torrejón
Interim Office Administrator & Program Assistant
María-José brings the perfect mix of skills and background to her new position at the South Granville Seniors Centre: Experience as an office administrator, and deep familiarity with the people and activities of the Centre.
María-José originally came to the Centre in early 2015, as a volunteer who helped members develop their computer skills Working on her PhD in social gerontology at the time, she wanted to engage with older people, not merely study them). In early 2016, she accepted a part-time staff position, as coordinator of the Spanish Program, a role that drew upon her cultural and linguistic background, as well as her program development experience.
Now she will use the administrative skills she honed back in her native Chile, where she studied at the Universidad de Chile and also spent four years serving as part-time manager/administrator in the Social Science Faculty. “The Centre felt like home from the first time I walked through the door,” she says. “I’m happy to help out.”
Program & Volunteer Coordinator
As Program and Volunteer Coordinator, Alex helps to make sure that the Centre’s 40+ programs run reliably, and that the volunteers who support these programs know what to do, enjoy doing it, and feel valued for their contributions.
This management role allows Alex to give tangible application to her academic credentials. “The focus of my PhD was the social dimensions of ageing, the human issues rather than the medical ones.” She was still writing her doctoral thesis when, in November 2015, she joined the SGSC team. It led to a career shift. Originally planning to become an academic, she discovered the satisfaction of, instead, working directly with and for older adults. “I am passionate about using what I know — turning research into programs and services that really help people.”
Marina Sanz Vara
Spanish Program Coordinator
Marina Sanz has a Master´s degree in Health Leadership and Senior Care from the University of British Columbia. She is passionate about social and environmental planning to foster the health of aging populations.
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.”