fbpx

Our Team

  • Marlin RamazziniBookkeeper

    (she/her)

    “Walk this life bringing to every person that pass by: a smile, respect, understanding, help and collaboration”

    Marlin started working in accounting back in her native Guatemala at age 15. She brings to Watari her experience working in manufacturing, foods, health, education and entertainment, just to mention a few. She has been a volunteer for different organizations since her arrival in Canada in 1990. She has been involved in fundraising thousands of dollars for different not for profit projects for health, education, arts and housing. She is involved in her community in the lower mainland bringing them music, volunteer and attending events.

    Marlin is inspired and loves working at Watari, as she said, “it is a wonderful team of people; inclusive, respectful, and friendly environment; Watari, has a positive impact in the community it serves.” She is grateful to work and give her contribution to the work that Watari does.

    Marlin loves to spend time with her family, loves travelling, hiking, running, arts, music and acting. She loves bringing people together and making them happy. She has toured in more than 50 countries, speaks Spanish, English and some Italian. Marlin loves to learn new things every day. Also, you may see her performing in various festivals, movies or tv shows.

  • Ahmad NakhaeiYouth Substance Misuse Counsellor, Expressive Arts Therapist

    he/his

    “I believe in every individual’s innate ability and power to heal”

    Ahmad is an Expressive Arts Therapist and a community counsellor. His work with the Surrey School Board gave him many opportunities to work with at risk children and new refugees. Providing therapy through different art modalities to provoke imagination and enhance creative expression.

    He has worked extensively with a variety of demographics who have been impacted by trauma and complex trauma including refugee claimants who experienced adversity in their countries, during their journey to Canada, and while they were awaiting their refugee hearing.

    His passion for supporting marginalized communities led him to get involved and help bridge language and capacity gaps with multiple organizations, including Kinbrace Refugee Claimant and Housing Support, Canadian Red Cross, SOS, ISS of BC, and Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture.

    Ahmad’s work is inspired by his own life experience as a refugee from Iran.

    In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, and movies.

  • Wendy SantizoOutreach Support Worker for Downtown Community Court

    Wendy is a human rights advocate and community-based educator, working with the Chronic Offender Management Enforcement Team of Vancouver’s DCC; a problem solving court addressing the underlying issues of crime through community engagement. Wendy has experience working with Crisis Lines providing emotional support, safety planning, referral to resources and services for groups in vulnerable positions or turning points. She also has experience as an English/Spanish simultaneous interpreter and translator.

    Wendy is passionate about historical memory and theatre of the oppressed for transformative change, and is currently participating in an international diploma program on emancipating alternative pedagogies.

  • El PurdeyDTES Community Kitchens (DECK) Coordinator

    (they/them)

    El has 5 years of experience working the DTES in various frontline positions with a focus on Harm Reduction. During that time, their most cherished work experiences were sitting and eating with the community and hosting bingo night. In their work as DECK Coordinator, they are working with community members and organizers and following the guidance of elders and knowledge keepers to build and strengthen a mutual aid network throughout DTES food programs. El believes in Food Sovereignty and that every community has the right to determine its diet and shape its food system.

  • Grace KingCommunity Housing Support Worker

    “I believe that we all deserve to be treated with respect.”

    Since Grace started with Watari in 2018, she has brought a warmth and care to our Community that is irreplaceable. Her job title is Administrative Assistant but we know her as so much more. Her laugh is contagious and is constantly sharing humour with us all.
    We call her “Our Amazing Grace”. She treats everyone that walks in our doors with respect and dignity knowing that they belong to someone and they all deserve our care.
    In her spare time Grace loves to write poetry, hang out with her dog Rocky, spend quality time with her daughter and enjoys being outdoors by the water.

  • Amen BrarCACT Substance Misuse Counsellor

    “I believe that all beings deserve to be seen and heard without judgment.”

    Amen started working with Watari in April of 2020 as a practicum student. She is now working as a Substance Misuse Counsellor for the CACT team and is currently working towards her Master of Counselling Degree. Amen has worked in the mental health field for over 12 years in a variety of capacities.  Here at Watari, Amen provides one to one counselling, advocacy, and support. She also facilitates an expressive arts therapy “storytelling” group at Watari. Working from a trauma informed lens utilizing a holistic approach, Amen believes that each individual has a unique story and their story should be given the space to be heard and validated with compassion. Amen has used the support of her spirituality in overcoming obstacles in her life. She values and honors the many forms of spirituality that individuals present with at Watari.

    On her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and their new little kitten. Amen is always quick to explore new cultural experiences. She enjoys yin yoga, meditation, and walks in the forest. She finds connecting to nature very healing.

  • Angelo MoroniPeer Community Counsellor

    Angelo, being the Community Peer Support Counsellor, he works with 10 non-profit Organizations in the downtown eastside supporting peers in these organizations. Angelo has been working with Watari for 3 years as a Facilitator, Outreach Support Worker at Downtown Community Courts, and continues to support Migrant Workers. Apart from counselling he is the Artistic Director of S.I.T.E. Theatre and has been facilitating Theatre of the Oppressed for 12 years. He also works with Theatre Terrific as an assistant director, and musician/composer. He’s facilitated theatre for social change in a variety of organizations and institutions from UBC to SFU to Amnesty International, and in countless community spaces in Vancouver, and Mexico. He is originally from Chile, but grew up in East Van.

  • Berta PerezCACT Latin American Substance Misuse Counsellor/ Counsellor for Temporary Farm Workers

    “I believe when there is heart and true commitment you can achieve great goals”

    Berta is originally from Mexico, she arrived with her family in Vancouver in 1998. She has a bachelor’s degree in Educational and Clinical Psychology and a Post-degree in Mental Health. Her practice involved individual work and support groups. She has vast experience working with vulnerable populations and has a great understanding of diversity due to her work with refugees, LGBTQ groups, persons experiencing homelessness, drug users, and persons with special needs and with mental illnesses. Berta works with the Latin American community at Watari, providing substance misuse counselling. She does outreach work, advocacy and liaise with other service providers. Berta also provides counselling for temporary farm workers. Her work has been to empower the people she supports for making their own and better decisions for their life. Berta’s passion is to help and serve others with compassion and an open heart.
    In her free time, she enjoys watching TV series and movies and spending time with her husband and daughter.

  • Chris CastroMigrant support worker

    Chris, as a migrant himself, understands the challenges that come with migrating to Canada. He was first introduced to Watari as a volunteer and received support from this wonderful group. Currently, Chris works as a Migrant Support Worker for the Migrant to Migrant Program. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his children and listening to music, particularly salsa.

  • Dustin BuddenCase Manager, Youth Excelling & Attaining Housing (YEAH!) Program

    “I recognize and value the potential that all individuals hold to live their lives in a manner that is meaningful to them.”

    Dustin runs the Youth Excelling and Attaining Housing (YEAH!) Program at Watari. Dustin’s belief in the value and potential that all individuals hold guides his work in the YEAH! Program, as he supports youth and young adults with moving forward with vocational aspirations, educational interests, finding and maintaining housing, integrating into their community, and building positive interpersonal connections. Dustin has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and is currently working towards a Master of Counselling Degree. When he is not busy with the YEAH! Program and school work, he may be found travelling, learning languages, or baking shortbread cookies.