East Kootenay Regional Educator / Interim Interior Regional Manager
Bonnie Spence-Vinge as the East Kootenay Regional Educator, providing direct family support, education and services to families affected by schizophrenia and other severe and persistent mental illness.
Before Bonnie started working with BCSS in January of 2017, she worked in the B.C. education system for over 30 years as a teacher, school psychologist, counsellor and Assistant Superintendent of Schools. For six of those years, she was the Provincial Coordinator of Child Abuse Prevention and Assistant Director of the Special Education Branch of the B.C. Ministry of Education. Her extensive work in education has also taken her to Nunavut where she served as the Executive Director and Superintendent of Schools.
Her personal experience as the mother of two adopted children diagnosed with mental illnesses brought Bonnie to BCSS, where the Strengthening Families Together Program helped Bonnie and her husband cope with their experience and come to terms with mental illness. Bonnie now takes her personal experience into local communities to help families better understand that there are still reasons to hope by finding the means to cope.
In the Cranbrook-Creston area, Bonnie acts as a liaison between families and the mental health system and promotes family inclusion in the daily lives of those living with mental illness. She also organizes education programs for families and community members, including Aboriginal communities.
To connect with Bonnie and find out more about these services, call 250-464-5159, toll free at 1-888-888-0029 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
When she’s not working, Bonnie is busy volunteering in her community. She is the chair for the Cranbrook Hub for Refugees, and the Patient Voices representative on both the East Kootenay Collaborative Services Committee and the East Kootenay Mental Health and Substance Use Wellness Advisory Committee. Bonnie also enjoys running, swimming, snowshoeing, and spending time outdoors camping, biking, hiking and gardening.