People

Board of Directors

As a board of directors, we are a group of dedicated, community-minded individuals working to make a difference. 

Why is the Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society and our work on the board important to us?


Karen Sliwkanich ( chair), educator, early childhood specialistI have been with my high school sweetheart for 42 years.  We raised four children together in Fort Saskatchewan. We have one beautiful granddaughter who is 15-months-old.

“All families deserve supports, services and programs that help them be the best they can be to ensure our children grow up to be all that they can be. As a board member for Families First, I am playing a role in ensuring that the support services and programs families want and need are available to them.”


Lorraine Hryniw (vice-chair), retired dental assistant

“I feel it is important to help our neighbours, young and old; and make life a happier, safer place. I’ve beenblessed with a good marriage, two beautiful daughters and two grandchildren. I feel paying it forward is just the right thing to do.”


Doug Rees (treasurer), engineer—father of two, Families First board member for over 10 years

“I bring an unique perspective and set of skills to the board, which in turn allows Families First to be successful in our programs which support and nurture the community’s families.”


Joanne Dewart (secretary), Fort Floors & Decors—married with two children, love most sports, but please don’t ask me to run in a race

“A supportive home life is so very important and we support families through fun, education and friendship. Families First is the “place to go” for parents, guardians and grandparents. I am proud to be a part of the a team that is focused on supporting and promoting strong and healthy families.”


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Annalise Yuzda (director)


Barb Shuman (director)


Ian Wallebeck (director)


Karen Fischer (director)


Laura Schmidt (director)


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Shawn Wall (director)


Executive Director

Heather Boonstra

Heather Boonstra is the Executive Director for the Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society and also one of three Alberta trainers for the Parent-Child Mother Goose Program in Alberta. Her extensive work within the fields of early intervention and community development have fuelled her passion for the importance of healthy connections in families. Heather and her husband, Don, are raising their three children in Fort Saskatchewan and are so proud to call this city their home!