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Meet Our Team

Smiling Staff Members

Our qualified staff support survivors as they regain their self-esteem and abilities. The staff provide a judgement-free environment for members, their families and caregivers. Our experienced and trusted staff include DSW’s (Developmental Support Workers), PSW’s (Personal Support Workers), SSW’s (Social Service Workers), Activities Coordinators and Cooks. Some of the training and certifications our staff have received include but are not limited to: CPR & First Aid, Falls Prevention, Balls and Bands, Function Fitness In Adult Day Programming, PRESS Program, Pharmacology, Fitness Instructing, Food Safety, Master Your Health and more!


Amanda Perini
Executive Director, Chatham & Sarnia

Certifications: CHRP (Certified Human Resources Professional), Computer Business Applications, Core Leadership Skills Training, Indigenous Cultural Safety Training, CPR/First AID Certified.

Focus: To advocate for the members of New Beginnings

Personal Bio: I have had the pleasure of working in various roles within this incredible community.  As a Caregiver myself, I understand the need for support services for myself and the loved ones I care for. I am committed to ensuring survivors have a comfortable and welcoming space where they can share their experiences and where they feel supported throughout their recovery journey.


Lester Crosby
Site Manager, Chatham

Certifications: Core Leadership skills, Brain Basics Program, Senior Fitness Instructor, Balls & Bands instructor, PRESS Program instructor, FAME program instructor, Gentle Approach to Dementia Care, Pharmacology for the PSW A-B. Personal Support Worker Certificate, Indigenous Cultural Safety Training, CPR/First AID Certified.

Focus: This year I am focused on raising brain injury awareness, assisting in the rehabilitation process and facilitating members’ independence.

Personal Bio: I enjoy working with people. Geriatrics has always interested me, as aging is something we all must do. Being a caregiver enables me to be that childhood superhero I always wanted to be.  Becoming a manager enables me to ensure that our program continues to be member driven!

Christine Laprise
Cook, Chatham

Certifications: 1st Degree & 2nd Degree Reiki, Food Handlers Certification, CPR/First Aid Certified, Indigenous Cultural Safety Training

Focus: To help members, caregivers and staff feel better, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Personal Bio: I became a Reiki therapist in 2007 not knowing how far it would take me. I started working at New Beginnings in 2009, one day a week. Six years later I’m an employee working five days a week doing a combination of cooking, Reiki Therapy & personal care. I also enjoy helping the members with seasonal crafts and when I’m not at work I enjoy writing my novels.

Dylan Turato Wright
Activities, Education & Outreach Coordinator, Chatham

Certifications: Senior Fitness Instructor, Pharmacology, DSW (Developmental Service Worker) Certificate, CPR/First Aid Certification, Living with Stroke Facilitator, Level One; “Neurorehabilitation- Assisting Recovery and Function in Everyday Life Following a Brain Injury,” Safe Management Training, Food Handlers Certification, Stay Sharp Training, Diabetes Healthy Feet and You, Adults with Aphasia (Aphasia Institute), Indigenous Cultural Safety Training.

Focus: To use my positivity and personality to make recovery fun, exciting and progressive.

Personal Bio: Born and raised in Chatham, I find it incredible to make a positive impact in my own community. I enjoy sports and being active, being competitive always brings out the best in me. I’m a father to two incredible boys and am happily married to my high school sweetheart!

Liz Vouk
Activities, Information & Volunteer Coordinator, Chatham

Certifications: PSW (Personal Support Worker) Certificate, Promoting Effective Communication with Stroke Survivors, Human Development in Older Adults, CPR/ First Aid Certificate, Drum Fit Instructor

Focus: Working with the members and staff to create an enjoyable environment.

Personal Bio: Prior to be hiring on as staff, I volunteered at New Beginnings for a few years.  I enjoy reading & traveling back home to Scotland to visit with family and friends. Helping people on a personal level is very rewarding for me. I am an outgoing person and working at New Beginnings is rewarding in every way.

Lynnette VanLandeghem
Site Manager, Sarnia

Certifications: Recreation & Leisure Studies Degree; First Aid/CPR Certification; Mental Health First Aid; Brain Basics Certificate; Senior Fitness Instructors Course; Drum Fit Instructor; Fit Minds Stay Sharp Training; Functional Fitness for Adult Day Programs; Functional Activity Measures; Living with Stroke Facilitator; Food Handler Certification.

Focus: To plan, implement and adapt recreational activities that will engage members, enabling them to improve their physical, social and emotional well-being.

Personal Bio: Having worked for New Beginnings since 2013, I strive to encourage members to develop a happy and healthy lifestyle. My interests include outdoor activities, reading and learning new things.

Lehrend Reyes
Activities Coordinator, Sarnia

Certifications:  PSW (Personal Support Worker) Certificate, CPR/First Aid Certification, Living with Stroke Facilitator, “Neuro-Rehabilitation: Assisting Recovery and Function in Everyday Life Following Brain Injury”, Functional Fitness for Adults, Crisis Prevention Intervention Training, Gentle Persuasive Approaches in Dementia Care, Safe Management, Fundamentals of Hospice Palliative Care, Living with Stroke Certification, Drum Fit Instructor

Focus:  To support all members throughout their post Stroke or Acquired Brain Injury recovery process.

Personal Bio: I am a long time staff of New Beginnings. There is no better place for me to work! Everyday, I enjoy meeting with the members. They are like family to me. Together, we share valuable information on what life is like after a stroke or brain injury. I am very appreciative to each member for allowing me to walk beside them on their recovery journey.

Karah Buscema
Activities Coordinator, Sarnia

Certifications – Psychology and Disability Studies Degree, Recreation Therapy Diploma, ASL Level 1, Stay Sharp Training, Tired Exercise Certification, Mental Health First Aid, Gentle Persuasive Approaches in Dementia Care, Senior Fitness Instructor Course, Food Handler Certification and First Aid/CPR Certification.

Focus – To help individuals get involved in activities that are fulfilling and enjoyable, all while working on improving their skills and forming positive relationships.

Bio – I truly love getting to be part of members’ recovery journey and making a positive impact. Some of my interests include crafting, dancing, painting, and rollerblading. I always look forward to helping members discover their interests too!

Holly Van Reenen
Cook, Sarnia

Certifications: Culinary Certification from Niagara College, Food Safety Certification.

Focus: I am focused on cooking healthy and varied meals for our members that include lots of different vegetables and proteins. This includes meatless meals once a week to introduce alternate proteins and keep things interesting! As well, I am working to create most of the meals from scratch, keeping cooking with whole foods at the core of all my menu planning.

Personal Bio: I’ve always loved cooking for people. There is something so rewarding about seeing people enjoy a meal you’ve created. I also love visiting with people, and cooking at New Beginnings is the perfect way to combine those things!

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