About Us

Our Team

The people that make up East Kootenay Addiction Services have a passion for supporting those affected by addiction to make positive changes in their lives. Our team is located in six offices in the East Kootenay region; in Fernie, Golden, Invermere, Creston, Cranbrook and Kimberley. For a listing of our staff and contact information, please click on Contact Us at the top of this page.

Our Board

Established in 1978, our Board of Directors helps guide the activities of East Kootenay Addiction Services Society's programs and policies. Our board is a dedicated group of 9 community-minded volunteers who meet monthly to address the needs of the organization. 

June Forsythe

Kiʔsuʔk kyukyit, my name is June Forsythe. I am Ktunaxa, my lineage on my mother’s side is from the people of the ʔaq̓am Reserve and English/Swiss on my father’s side. Personally, me and my family have been impacted by alcohol and drug misuse as well as other addictive behaviours for several generations. Mental wellness impacts all humanity and I am honored to be on the Board of Directors of East Kootenay Addiction Services, an organization who has foresight and is forward-thinking towards wellness and the well-being of all.  For years I have been an advocate from a lens of injustice and misunderstanding of societal issues.

Kim Genovese

Kim and her family have lived in Fernie BC for over 25 years, raising their two sons in the beautiful Elk Valley.  During this time, she has been employed in different management and support roles; and actively involved in the community. She has sat on several boards and committees (in areas that enhanced the well being of the Elk Valley communities).  Kim is a certified yoga instructor with special interest in body positive yoga and senior’s yoga. Presently she is working with Elk Valley Safehomes based in Fernie and is a keen supporter of all programs that promote healing and wellness in our communities. Kim is looking forward to working with the EKASS board and adding her unique perspective to the team.

Avery Hulbert

My name is Avery Hulbert and I'm honoured to work, live, and play as a visitor on the beautiful Ktunaxa Territory. I have been a resident of the East Kootenays for the last 14 years. I am an Instructor in University Arts and the Criminal Social Justice Programs at College of the Rockies and have a Masters Degree in Criminology.  I am an avid community volunteer and also have years of experience on various Boards, including the Cranbrook and District Restorative Justice. I am joining this board to learn and to continue to advocate for all members of our community, especially those who need support in having their voices and experiences appreciated.

Shawna LaRade

Shawna and her family have lived in the Cranbrook area for the past 13 years. Shawna is a Professional Agrologist who is passionate about people, her community and the environment.  Shawna recognizes that mental health and wellbeing is something we all strive for, for both ourselves and the people we care about.  Shawna brings a diverse background of board governance, provincial government operations and social advocacy. She looks forward to the opportunity to be part of a team that provides strategic direction and governance to EKASS. 

William McKerrow

Hello all.  My name is William McKerrow and it’s an honour and privilege to sit on the Board of Directors for the East Kootenay Addiction Services. I moved to the Cranbrook area 14 years ago and work for Interior Health Mental Health and Substance Use program. I am also in recovery from alcohol addiction with over 17 years of continuing sobriety. I have a passion for working in this field with people with mental health and addiction issues. I look forward to helping build a robust board with the focus on supporting our population going forward. 

Deb Sims

Deb has lived in the Cranbrook area for about 25 years having haled from the eastern part of Canada before moving west. Deb has worked the majority of that time in the addictions/mental health field for EKASS. Deb comes from a nursing/counseling background and has a heart for the lost. Previously, Deb has sat on the ANKORS board and The Cranbrook Hep C Society board when it established itself in Cranbrook. Deb is married to Larry and they share 6 children and 7 grandchildren. Deb recently transitioned away from EKASS to the Spiritual Care Team at the Dwelling Place Church in Cranbrook where she provides one on one counseling, facilitates healing groups and makes referrals to faith based treatment options for people wanting recovery. Deb works from a place of compassion providing hope and encouragement and direction to move people to a place of healing and restoration through faith based practice.

Charlene Sperling

Hello everyone. I am pleased to be on the EKASS Board of Directors.  I have lived in Cranbrook for the past 24 years, and I am a mother of four grown children and two grandchildren, all living here in the Kootenays. I have a background in Education and 10 years of experience in preventative social services.  I am currently teaching ESL and working with Seniors-in-Partnership.  I believe in giving back to the community that has given so much to me. I love working, playing, and living near the mountains, and can often be found camping in my Volkswagen Van.

Polly Sutherland

Polly is employed with ANKORS East Kootenay office as the Team Lead and Harm Reduction Coordinator. Polly has a deep passion for working with vulnerable populations and people who use substances including youth and adults. Polly comes to this work with her own story of resiliency and strength which has led to a commitment to support folks within the East Kootenay.  She has a deep abiding respect for staff at EKASS where she has collaborated on many projects. Polly comes to the table with a commitment to share knowledge and support the EKASS team. When she is not talking Harm Reduction, she is honored to be hunting, xcountry skiing and kayaking in the beautiful Kootenay Region.

Lisa Thompson

Hi I’m Lisa. I live in Fernie and I'm originally from New Zealand. I came here for a ski season 18 years ago and never left this magical place that captured my heart. I joined the EKASS board from the desire to serve my community in a way meaningful to me, as substance use and mental health have touched my life personally and profoundly.  I am passionate about breaking down the stigma around mental health and substance use. I believe in humanity, and open and honest conversations and substance use, sharing our stories, applying grace and compassion and into getting resources to the hands and lives of the user, their family and friends. My first hand experience with a loved one has led me to have a heart filled with empathy for everyone who has substance use touch their lives. I feel honored to be able to take my story, passion and skills to serve and support the people on the front line in our community in addiction services. I have never served on a board of directors up until now so this is also something new and exciting for me! I have worked with a number of non profits in a variety of fields over the last 13 years through my work as an accounting technician and bookkeeper. I love my dog, snowboarding, hiking and my amazing community who I consider my Canadian family

Our Services

East Kootenay Addiction Services Society provides free and confidential counselling to youth, adults, couples and families dealing with their own or someone else's substance use. If you are a new client or a client returning to our Agency after three months since your last appointment, please click on the "INTAKE FORM' button located at the top right hand of this webpage to complete our On-line Client Intake Form and we'll contact you within 2-3 business days to book a future appointment.

If you are an existing client (session within last three months) and want to book an appointment, please refer to our 'Contact Us' page to connect with an office near you.

In addition, we assist with referral to approved residential treatment and detox facilities, hold a weekly Methadone and Suboxone Clinic, offer harm reduction education and supplies, facilitate school based educational programs, community education, and our youth Teen Empowerment and Mastery Program (TEAM). Please contact an office near you for further information.

Our Mission

Fostering the well-being of people and communities

Our Vision

EKASS is a valued contributor to the overall health of our communities

Our Guiding Principals

Accessibility

Inclusiveness

Respect for diversity and each person’s:

o   integrity

o   responsibility for their own physical, psychological, social and spiritual health

o   right to make informed choices regarding their health and well-being

Our Funding

We are contracted with the Interior Health Authority to provide free and confidential services in the East Kootenay with offices in Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Invermere, Creston and Golden. 

Our Financial Statements

click here for 2019-20 Statements (pdf)