Mission: The purpose of the Okanagan Foster Parents Association is to provide education and support to Foster Parents in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Shuswap.
Vision: To enable Foster Parents to be better able to care for themselves and the children in their care because of the education and support provided by the Okanagan Foster Parents Association.
Okanagan Foster Parents Association:
- contracts with Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to provide Support and Education to Foster Parents in the Okanagan, Shuswap, and Similkameen
- is managed by a Board with Fostering experience
- provides services through our Foster Parent Coordinators and Education Facilitators
- works in partnership with MCFD, the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations (BCFFPA), and several Aboriginal Foster Parent Support Agencies
President: Bonnie Thompson - Oliver, B.C.
Bonnie has been President of OFPA since it was formed in 2002. She has also served as President of the Oliver Foster Parents Association.
Bonnie’s family fostered for 20 years, beginning in 1992, mostly as a level 3 resource. Bonnie has three “bonus” kids, children who have remained as part of her family and others that continue to keep in touch. Bonnie got in to fostering to give back to their community and she feels that helping foster parents be better at what they do is a big part of that.
Vice-President: Melanie Filiatrault - Kelowna, B.C.
Melanie and her family have been fostering since 1988. She has a great deal of experience and background with children with special needs, especially those who are medically fragile.
Melanie is a founding member of Okanagan Foster Parents Association. She has also been involved with the BCFFPA since 1995, serving in various positions on local and regional councils, and at the provincial level. In 2010 she stepped down from her position as President of the Provincial Board of BCFFPA after serving for 4 years.
Secretary: Julie Holmlund – Kelowna, B.C.
Julie joined the OFPA board in early 2015. She served as vice president of the Kelowna Foster Parents Association (KFPA) from 2011 until 2013 and was president from 2013 to 2015. She currently serves on the board of the KFPA.
Julie and her husband Ken have been foster parents since 2009. They have adopted 5 children since their fostering career began. Julie believes that fostering isn't a job it’s a lifestyle. So many great stories and so many life lessons. Kids are amazing!
Treasurer: Sue MacKay - Winfield, B.C.
Sue has been a Foster Parent since 2000. In 2006 she joined the Kelowna Foster Parents Association and has been involved with them in a variety of Board positions.
Other than the many foster children who she considers family, Sue has a beautiful adult daughter and an adopted son. Sue is passionate about fostering and says, “Kids keep me young, and although there are sad moments and some really sad stories, the love and laughter that the kids bring into my life are the rewards.
Member at large: Sharon Kolenc - Kelowna, B.C.
Sharon and her husband fostered in Vernon from 2008 to 2014, with the Intensive Support Program. Teen girls were their forte, and they fostered several into adulthood. Sharon and hubby have 3 grown, successful sons and 2 preschool grandchildren.
Sharon joined OFPA in 2012. It was the "pay cheques of the heart" that made fostering so rewarding for Sharon, and she is grateful to have this opportunity to continue supporting Foster Families.
Member at large: Marilyn Marshall - Salmon Arm BC
Marilyn fostered high-risk youth, mostly teen girls, for 14 years. She served as Vice-president and President of the Sunshine Coast Foster Parents Association, and as a member-at-large for the Shuswap Foster Parents Association. In 2010 Marilyn retired to join her partner in the full-time care and management of their farm/ Beef Cattle operation in Salmon Arm.
Marilyn joined OFPA in 2016. She is excited by the new role and opportunity: to be able to support children and youth in care, by being part of team that is dedicated to the value of education, support and advocacy for Foster Parents.
Member at Large: Dianna Williams - Oliver, B.C.
Dianna has more than 30 years’ experience in fostering. When she was 16 her parents started fostering. As an adult, she and her husband have provided short-term and long-term care, respite and relief. Their youngest son came to them at 6 months old, and they were able to adopt him at 2 1/2 years of age.
Dianna has witnessed many changed lives through fostering, and feels that fostering has also changed hers for the better. Dianna joined the OFPA Board in 2016.
Member at large: Wendy Adams - Vernon, B.C.
Wendy, and her husband Joe, have been fostering since 2006. They have 3 grown kids, and 4 grandkids. Wendy and her husband focus mainly on infants and toddlers and enjoy working with birth families. They have had several happy experiences transitioning children to adoption, and are pleased to act as extra grandparents for several of them.
Wendy joined the OFPA Board in 2016. She also serves as treasurer for Vernon Foster Parents Association, and as a Foster Parent Support Worker.