Staff Members

staff-lesterLester Crosby – Activities Coordinator/PSW

Location: Chatham

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

Focus: To rehabilitate people through recreational activities and infect them with my “CAN DO” attitude.

Personal Bio: I have always enjoyed working with people in general. Geriatrics has always interested me, as it’s something we all have to do. Being a caregiver enables me to be that childhood superhero I always wanted to be. “You need help? Count on me! Here I come to save the day.”


staff-christineChristine Laprise – Reiki Therapist

Location: Chatham

Certifications: 1st Degree & 2nd Degree Reiki.

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 seven days a week. To see a member walk in for a treatment with a headache, for example, and leave half an hour later without one is very rewarding. I also enjoy helping the members with seasonal crafts and when I’m not at work I enjoy writing my novels.



staff-bobBob Rawlinson – Executive Director

Location: Chatham

Certification: B.A., B.Ed., School Principal, Computers in Education, Special Education, French as a Second Language, Creative Drama, Fitness Instructor Specialist, Leadership Qualifications, Education through Music.

Focus: To help lead individuals with Stroke or Acquired Brain Injury to return to a healthy and satisfying life. My goal is to ensure a harmonious atmosphere were everyone can develop to their fullest.

Personal Bio: I was raised in Toronto, Ontario and came to Chatham in 1977 where I became a Principal/teacher for the Lambton-Kent District School Board for 25 Years. I joined the team at New Beginnings, ABI & Stroke Recovery Association in September, 2015, this has been a second start for me and I love working with all the staff and members.


staff-dylanDylan Turato Wright – Activities Coordinator/DSW

Location: Chatham

Certifications: Senior Fitness Instructor, Pharmacology, Developmental Service Worker Certificate, CPR and First Aid, Living with Stroke Facilitator, Level One; “Neurorehabilitation- Assisting Recovery and Function in Everyday Life Following a Brain Injury,” Safe Management Training, Food Safety Certificate.

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

Personal Bio: I think of myself as a people person. I enjoy being involved and having hands on experience. My biggest strength is always being able to smile, no matter what the situation. This role allows my heart to feel full and that is my goal in life.



Liz Vouk- Member/Information/Activity Coordinator/PSW

Location: Chatham

Certifications: Personal support worker, Promoting Effective Communication with Stroke survivors, Human Development in older adults, CPR and First Aid Certificate.

Focus: To promote the enjoyment of joining with others in all activities. Working with the members and staff to create an enjoyable environment.

Personal Bio: I volunteered at New Beginnings for a few years,  now have joined the team as  a staff member.   I enjoy traveling back home to Scotland to visit with family and friends,  reading in my spare time. Helping people on a personal level is very rewarding to me. I am a people person and working at New Beginnings is                                                                   rewarding in every way.



CSC_0056  Beverly Risdale – Cook/Fitness Instructor

Location: Chatham

Certifications: Certified CDC, Personal Trainer, Licensed Zumba & Group Power Instructor, Group Fitness Instructor (Resistance Training, Cardio & Choreography, Core & Flexibility). Safe Food Handling & CPR/First AID Certificate.

Focus: To provide nutritious and delicious food for our members as well as aide in the development and improvement of activities of daily living.

Personal Bio: I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I stay active                                               by working out and long distance running. I take an active role in the                                                      community and love to volunteer.


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Lehrend Reyes – Activities Coordinator/PSW

Location: Sarnia

Certifications:  Personal Support Worker –  CPR/First Aid, Living with Stroke facilitator, “Neuro-rehabilitation: Assisting Recovery and Function in Everyday Life following  Brain Injury”, Functional Fitness for adults, Crisis Prevention Intervention, Gentle Persuasive Approaches in Dementia Care, Safe Management, Fundamental of Hospice Palliative Care, Non Profit Management,Food Handler Training Certificate, DrumFit Instructor, WHMIS Training.

Focus: To help those surviving Stroke or Acquired Brain Injury

Personal Bio:I have been working for New Beginnings since 2013 as well as several other non-profit organizations. I have a wide range of academic interests and hobbies,  including gardening, computers,                                                          cooking, design,carpentry, playing music and learning                                                                              new languages. I have a deep interest in caring for people, helping                                                          them achieve goals and skills.

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Brigitte Whissell – Activities Coordinator/PSW

Location: Sarnia

Certifications:  Personal Support Worker, First Aid/CPR, Senior Fitness Instructor, Living with stroke Facilitator, Brain Basics Certification, Functional Fitness for Adult Day Programs, Zumba Instructor, Food Handling Certificate, WHMIS Training.

Focus: To use my positive attitude to help members have a great learning experience by providing fun, therapeutic exercise classes and exciting programs.

Personal Bio: I have always been the type of person who would go out of  my way to help anyone in need, which is what brought me to New Beginnings in 2009.


new beg2Sheila LeNeve – Member Intake Support Coordinator

Location: Sarnia

Certificates:  Brain Basics Certificate, Living with Stroke Facilitator, First Aid/CPR, WHMIS Training, InterRAI CHA Core and Functional Training (CSS CAP), Assessment Skills Workshop (C.C.I.M), InterRAI CHA Support Coding (CSS CAP).


Focus: To be an advocate for stroke and brain injury survivors and their caregivers and to help integrate members back into the community in ways that are meaningful to them.

Personal Bio: I have worked with Stroke and Brain injury survivors for 17 years. I am presently the Chair for the Lambton District Stroke Council. I love to garden in my spare time with family.


new beg4Lynnette VanLandeghem – Activities & Program Coordinator

Location: Sarnia

Certifications: Recreation & Leisure Studies Degree; First Aid/CPR; Brain Basics Certificate; Senior Fitness Instructors Course;  Functional  Fitness for Adult day programs; Functional Activity Measures; Living with Stroke Facilitator; Food Handler Training Course.

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.

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