Meet Opt's Educators

We would like to introduce you to our wonderful team of Educators who are serving areas around British Columbia.

Opt Educators come with extensive backgrounds and training which ensures their proficiency in teaching sexual health to all different kinds of groups and individuals. They provide comprehensive presentations in a non-judgemental and approachable manner while supplying fact-based, age appropriate information and resources.
 

Kristen Gilbert
Director of Education

Kristen is our Director of Education, and has been teaching for Opt since 2006. Once a volunteer birth control counsellor in our Vancouver clinic, she began working at the Provincial Office when she graduated from Opt's pilot Sexual Health Educator Certification (SHEC) program. Based in Vancouver, Kristen spends most of her hours teaching in BC schools, alternative programs, community settings, and with youth in custody.  She also loves connecting with parents during Opt's Askable Adult presentations. As Opt's Education Director Kristen spends a large portion of her time training other professionals to be more approachable, and is the lead educator for Opt's SHEC program. Kristen was the recipient of Opt's Education Award in 2010, and almost certainly draws more penises in one day than anyone you know.

Ainsley Szewchuk
Lower Mainland/Nanaimo/Ladysmith/Sunshine Coast

Ainsley Szewchuk brings years of experience providing youth-driven sexual health education that is accessible, engaging, and participatory. Ainsley received much of her training in HIV and Sexual Health on the job as Peer Educator, and then, Sexual Health Education Coordinator at YouthCO HIV and Hep C Society, working with diverse groups of youth throughout the Lower Mainland and BC. She has developed and led workshops on topics including, HIV/AIDS, Hep C, sexual health, self-esteem, healthy relationships, and consent in schools, alternate programs, and community groups, as well as training volunteers and service providers in HIV and youth engagement. She has developed and led sexual health education programming for the youth campers of CampOUT, a community-based outdoor summer camp for LGBTQA2S and allied youth. Expanding on her passion for providing comprehensive sexual health education, Ainsley enrolled in Opt’s Sexual Health Educator Certification program. Approaching her work with the value of anti-oppression, Ainsley aims to create respectful and inclusive spaces where participants are empowered by the process of learning, as well as the knowledge they learn. She loves finding different ways of sharing information, and making the awkward stuff a little less awkward.

Deborah Wongs
Kamloops

Deborah Wongs is a Registered Nurse who has worked as a Public Health Nurse for the last 19 years.  She has a wide range of experience teaching both individuals and groups in the home, school and clinic setting on various health related topics. She has worked in the Kamloops Youth Clinic for the last eight years providing one to one education and support to youth regarding sexual health. She believes that it is important to provide children and youth with access to timely, age appropriate information on sexual health in order for them to make healthy, informed decisions. Deborah completed Opt’s Sexual Health Educator Certification program and now provides educational services to Kamloops and surrounding areas.

 

Sue Clarkson Bannatyne
Fernie/Cranbrook

Sue graduated in 1992 from Ryerson University in Toronto, and literally left the next day to travel for a year, before settling in BC. Together with a team of motivated volunteers, Sue spearheaded the Sexual Health Task Force in Whistler, BC, which ultimately resulted in the Whistler Opt Clinic. In 1999, Sue volunteered in Nepal for four months, providing maternal/infant care and HIV prevention education to the local Nepali people, a trip that significantly impacted her life. She returned to Canada and moved to Fernie BC, where she continued her career as a Sexual Health Educator and RN Supervisor with Opt, a Childbirth Educator, and an RN with the Healthy Pregnancy Outreach Program. Sue is passionate about women's health and empowering clients with relative, age-appropriate education and resources. In her spare time, Sue is busy raising two amazing boys, skiing, biking, running and knitting.