Ignite Abbotsford 2017 Speakers

We are excited to have a diverse group of speakers joining us for Ignite Abbotsford: Passions and Perspectives!

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(Ignite speakers will be announced weekly on Tuesday and Friday starting July 17)

TED LEAVITT | 20 ADHD Stories in 5 Minutes

Ted is a Registered Clinical Counselor in private practice and Program Manager at Langley Youth and Family Services. Specialize in impulse control problems, parenting, and trauma.

“When I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, it explained so much. Listening to these stories might make you wonder why it took so long.”

Follow Ted on his social media channels:
Twitter: CounselorTed
Facebook: Connectivity Counselling
Website: Connectivity Counselling

KATHERINE MULSKI | Taming the High-Functioning Worry Dragon

Katherine is currently working as a bilingual Instructional Coach for the Langley School District. Prior to that, her passion for working with teachers took her to SFU as an Inservice Faculty Associate teaching Graduate Diploma in Education programs. She has taught in Trinidad/Tobago and South Korea. Katherine is studying as an EdD candidate and hopes to focus her research on teacher wellness. You can find her fly-fishing or enjoying walks with her husband and Bulldog, Nora. Her ability to ‘Mulski’task is always a work in progress.

Follow Katherine on Twitter https://twitter.com/Teachinginthe21

PATRICIA CULLEY | Don’t Pick Up the Rope!

Patricia is a mother to and champion of 5 amazing children. She believes that it is the deepest desire of the human heart to be known and loved; and in being known, to be loved, not in spite of who you are but because of it.

Follow Patricia on her social media channels:
Twitter: Patti Culley
Facebook: Patti Culley
Website: Xangelle.com

ROSE PILLAY | Hello, Stranger!

Rose is currently an educational consultant supporting the Catholic independent schools of the Vancouver archdiocese (CISVA). She was a high school science teacher and now she is a sessional instructor at St. Mark’s College for their Teacher Education program, too! Rose LOVES to tweet. If Rose was not an edu-geek, she would be a photojournalist.

Follow Rose on her social media channels:

Twitter: Rose Pillay
Website: https://teachafl.wordpress.com/

Photo (left to right): Clara Parker, Cambree Lovesy, Caylee Watrin and Baliey Cryer. Not pictured: Kenzie Mills


The Robert Bateman Secondary Mental Wellness Committee is made up of five high school students with a passion for mental wellness. Caylee, Kenzie, Clara, Bailey and Cambree have utilized their personal experiences with mental health to create an event that inspires others to walk alongside each other in the continuum of mental wellness.

The Robert Bateman Secondary Mental Wellness Committee aims to inspire the community to become more aware of the importance of maintaining mental wellness. This team of youth have organized a yearly Mental Wellness Week at Robert Bateman Secondary where students and staff participate in over thirty activities with community presenters enlightening different aspects of mental wellness. The goal of this annual event is to bring the community closer together and break the stigma surrounding mental health.

Follow Robert Bateman Secondary on their social media channels:
Facebook: Robert Bateman Secondary
Twitter: Robert Bateman Secondary


Wiyé.nox, man of sound, was a name gifted to Luke Dandurand from the elders of Kwantlen First Nation and his hereditary chief, Marilyn Gabriel, for his public speaking capabilities and extensive background in music. Wiyé.nox’s current work is to educate about the success, accomplishments, pride and passion of his Kwantlen family.

Follow Luke on Facebook: Luke Dandurand / wiyé.nox

TONGO from THE CHILLIWACK GORILLAS | Learning To Laugh Again

The Chilliwack Gorilla Clan have a passion for Youth, the community and teaching people to smile and laugh again. We live in a world with serious problems that will not be solved with laughter, but laughter will give the wedge so that difficult problems can be resolved, acted on and learned from.

The legend goes that many years ago two friendly Apes decided to go to Chilliwack to hockey and other events to teach the Humans to learn to Laugh again. As we all know it is easier to send messages to your local Ape then talk to a human, friend or family member. The Apes have assisted youth in dealing with bullying, suicide thoughts, drug use and other teen issues. We adore the youth of our communities and those that care about them.

Follow the Gorillas on their social media channels:
Facebook: Chilliwack Gorillas
Twitter: Chilliwack Gorillas


Our talks are about making a difference for those who have faced challenges. Youth in alternate schools face challenges around their own mental health issues, as well as trying to cope while being judged for being in an alternate school to begin with.

We have saved one speaker space to give a voice to an alternate school youth who needs a voice; who has a story to tell about their own mental health issues and the trials and tribulations of coping while being shunned by society. Our mystery speaker will share a personal and powerful journey of mental health issues, of prejudice and of stereotypes.

There is no such thing as problem youth, just youth with problems, and you will gain insight into what that really means.


Sandy Balascak has been working with at-risk youth for more than 10 years, and is passionate about sharing the successes of her students.  She has spoken about her program at TEDxLangleyED, conferences, and in the news.  Her philosophy is; “There is no such thing as problem youth, just youth with problems.  Teach them to cope and they will soar.”  In her 10 years at ACE, the students have proven that on a regular basis with many successes and accolades despite having to deal with a variety of variety of issues in their own lives.

Sandy will be talking about the youth, their challenges, and how they have overcome them.  What these youth are capable of is truly inspirational and it will give people a different perspective beyond the negative stereotypes associated with alternate school students.

Follow Sandy on her social media channels:
Website: SandyBalascak.com
Twitter: Sandy Balascak