Meet The Team

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Andy Owens

Alliston Program Manager

Everyone knows Andy Owens!  Andy is the face of our Alliston location.  In 2009, when I gave a short presentation at an ORCKA AGM, Andy said he would like to be involved with the adaptive paddling program.  He has worked with us ever since.  

 

As a retired outdoor education teacher at Banting Memorial High School, Alliston, he is well-known and respected in the New Tecumseth community.  In addition, he is an ORCKA canoe instructor and offers certification programs.

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Michael Dawthorne

Chair - Board Member

Michael Dawthorne currently serves on the Board of Directors for AIM.  He has a son with multiple disabilities and as such has a strong commitment to accessibility and the disability community. He serves on numerous other boards and committees at regional, provincial and national levels. 

 

He has provided outdoor education and programming to youth for over a dozen years, including running introductory canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding sessions.  He is also a PADI certified Rescue SCUBA diver. He currently works as a member of Senior Management at a national accessibility not-for-profit organization.  He lives just west of London, ON with his partner, son, dog and bunny.

Michelle Tierney

Vice-Chair | Board Member

Michelle is eager to take action and wants to help the community by making a difference in the lives of others. Her goal is to assist in providing opportunities to improve the quality of life for all individuals. She currently volunteers her time to Abilities in Motion by providing administrative support to the organization. 

 

Volunteering allows her to share her passion for caring for others. Through volunteering, she is able to learn lessons and values that are different from those she learned in her corporate life. While volunteering her time to Abilities in Motion, she is able to submerge herself into the lives of others and learn from them. "No matter the differences in each one of us, we all come together to help one another".

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Gwen Willmott

Treasurer | Board Member

Gwen joined AIM in 2019 as Treasurer.
“I joined AIM, because I think everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy kayaking in a fun safe environment.”

Jacqueline Kinahan

Disability Advocate | Board Member

Quadriplegic due to spinal cord injury but don’t be fooled by that word. I love to paddle. Prior to my injury, I was employed by Hydro One and BC Hydro as an electrical operator, operating both high voltage power grids and large hydroelectric generating stations.

 

Since 2014 I volunteer as a member of the Condominium Board of a self-managed high rise. I have held various positions in communications, finance, and policy & procedures. My other volunteer work includes peer counseling for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario and in previous years on Hudson’s Hope Ski Hill development committee.

 

I have always enjoyed the outdoors but sometimes find myself being a spectator more often than a participant. AIM has changed that for me. I am hooked on kayaking and am motivating everyone I know to either try it and/or become a volunteer. Nature has an uplifting way of healing your spirit and spending time on and by the water, seeing new people embrace the experience has been wonderful for me. I want to be involved with AIM. 

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Sharon O'Leary

Adaptive Program Head | Fundraiser | Board Member

Sharon O'Leary has been a passionate volunteer and worker within the not-for-profit sector with a passion to get individuals with disabilities access to recreational opportunities including kayaking, canoeing, and scuba diving. Background working with Special Olympics UK and Ontario, Hutton House, and Peacekeeper Park.  Experienced fundraiser and grant reviewer for Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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Stuart Silcox

Program Coordinator | Canada Summer Jobs

A current student pursuing his Bachelor of Commerce Degree, Stuart oversees the marketing operations with the help of Evan and Aleesha to create content and marketing plans. Additionally, Stuart helps out at the London location for paddling sessions and ensures each paddler has a great and comfortable experience both on and off the water.

Aleesha Gostkowski (She/They)

Marketing Specialist | Canada Summer Jobs

Aleesha joined AIM in 2022 as a member of the marketing team! Aleesha is currently working on completing a Masters degree in Social Justice and Equity Studies from Lakehead University (Orillia Campus). Aleesha joined AIM because she truly believes that accessibility and equity are integral, and that everyone can benefit from spending time out on the water. Paddling is great for both physical and mental health. Aleesha loves the outdoors, and appreciates playing a role in breaking down barriers and increasing accessibility for on-water activities. Aleesha wants to help spread awareness about AIM and the great work that we do, and has been working on outreach and connecting within the community. Aleesha primarily takes care of the Alliston side of the marketing team efforts, and hopes to continue to work with AIM to have a mutually beneficial relationship as she completes her final year of her Masters degree.

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Evan McHardy

Program Coordinator | Canada Summer Jobs

A lifelong paddling enthusiast with a social services background and a love for the outdoors! Evan supports Andy in guiding our paddling sessions at the Alliston location and contributes to our social media marketing team. In his off time  he enjoys hiking on some of the great trails we have here in Ontario or escaping the bugs by getting out on the water.