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About Us

Regenerating the Circle of Connection Among All Beings

At The Circle for Change Initiative, we envision a world where the circle of connection is regenerated among all beings. Our mission is to empower and uplift individuals, guiding them on their health, healing, and personal growth journey. We are committed to providing non-residential social assistance services for individuals and families.

Charitable/Not For Profit Purposes: Bridging Gaps, Fostering Connections

At the heart of our charitable/not-for-profit programming, we strive to address and prevent problems faced by those at risk. Our initiatives fall into several pre-approved buckets of charitable purposes:

1. Supporting Elders, Families, Youth and those with disabilities who are at Risk:
- Developing sustainable lifestyles, strengthening connections to the land, oneself, and others.

2. Homeless Support Program:
- Establishing programs to address homelessness for youth, elders, and families at risk.

3. Poverty Alleviation Through Job Skill Development:
- Providing programs to develop job skill sets, offering blueprints for financial stability and sustainable relationships.

4. Land Preservation for Future Generations:
- Educating elders, families, and youth on essentials for caring for the land, growing food, and fostering a deep connection to nature.

5. Strengthening Family Bonds:
- Supporting families at risk to strengthen their family bonds while connecting deeply to nature, themselves, and each other.


 

Peeping

Our Story

Nurturing Roots, Expanding Horizons

 

The Circle For Change emerged in 2013 as a response to funding cuts impacting programs for indigenous children in Ontario's foster care system. Initially focused on strengthening families and networks of connection, we emphasized connecting children to the natural world, indigenous life skills, and cultural practices.

 

Up until 2017, Mentor House served as a unique home for us, offering programs rooted in nature connection, indigenous traditional knowledge, storytelling, and more. In 2017, Mentor House closed its doors to broaden our impact globally, providing expanded programs and services for children, youth, and adults.

 

Led by Shore and her team of experienced mentors, our offerings include one-on-one sessions and group workshops encompassing nature connection, peacemaking teachings, and holistic learning for individual healing and growth.

Join us as we continue to weave a tapestry of connection, healing, and growth for individuals and communities alike though The Circle for Change Initiative launched in 2023 as a Not-for-Profit to help those at risk and are financially strappe.

Team

Dedication. Expertise. Passion.

Shore Charnoe BA (hons), ECE, BSW, RSW

Founder & President of the Board of Directors

Shore has had a private counseling practice since 1994.  As a traditional counselor, helper, and social worker, she has directed several community clinics and many highly-effective community helping programs. These programs have focused on at-risk youth and have included suicide prevention, apprehension prevention, parenting skills, lifeskills, adoption facilitation and short- and long-term foster care.  She has helped foster, raise and mentor over 100 children.  She is a mother of eleven adopted and biological children and a grandmother of six.  A number of her adoptive children were born with fetal alcohol syndrome and came from abusive homes where they were victims of severe abuse, neglect, and trauma. She has been a consultant for child welfare organizations.  

She credits much of her effectiveness to the lessons she has learned from over 20 Indigenous Elders. To name just a few specifically:  

  • She studied for 10 years under the Odawa Medewin Elder Eddie King.  

  • Shore’s husband and partner, Richard Szponarski, was a student of Eddie King for over 30 years.

  • She took her degree in Indigenous Social Work through First Nations Technical Institute under the direction of Banakonda Kennedy-Kish (Bell) , an Anishinaabe (Ojibway) Elder; Katsitsiase, also known as Betty Maracle, a Bear Clan Grandmother of the Mohawk Nation, Elder and Wisdom Keeper, and Ben Carniol, who was a Holocaust Survivor, social activist and author.

  • Shore also studied language and traditional stories with Basil Johnson, an Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) Elder. 

Shore’s unique gift and skill is her ability to make the lessons she learned from these and many other Elders accessible to others. She has a deep gratitude and love for all the Elders and their teachings.

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Ibeth Ayala 

Board Member

 

Ibeth is a dynamic individual driven by her core values of love, respect, freedom, fun, and collaboration. As a certified intuitive life coach, creative mindset and innovation coach, and transformational speaker, she is dedicated to guiding others on their life journey.

In her role as an Elemental Rhythm Breathwork facilitator, Ibeth provides a safe and sacred space for individuals to explore their inner voice and activate their inner medicine through the transformative power of breath. Join her in sessions focused on healing, presence, and the profound impact of breath for a powerful experience.

 

Beyond her coaching and breathwork expertise, Ibeth is a solution-focused Erickson International certified professional coach, specializing in helping individuals achieve personal goals while addressing distress, anxiety, and stress. She allocates a percentage of her fees to 'Celebrate Your Potential,' a program offering coaching to domestic violence victims at no cost.

With over a decade of experience as an intercultural management consultant across Europe and the Americas, Ibeth leverages her diverse cultural exposure to guide clients through discoveries and long-term changes in their work and everyday environments. Her respectful, honest, and committed approach fosters confidence and dedication in her clients.

 

As a Mexican native with international experience, Ibeth brings a unique perspective to her coaching and consulting services. Using Design Thinking methodology, she supports clients in exploring, defining, testing, and implementing new ideas, strategies, and products.

 

In addition to her professional pursuits, Ibeth, a domestic violence survivor, actively collaborates with shelters and organizations to support victims and survivors. She envisions a life filled with respectful curiosity, expanding both her purpose and the purpose of those around her.

 

As the Program Director of an Innovation program, Ibeth leads teams in overcoming limiting beliefs and embracing qualities like human-centric approaches, empathy, creativity, compassion, and collaboration. Her commitment to values is reflected in Luna y Sol, a space she created to bring people together through sharing circles, breathwork sessions, cold immersion, cacao ceremonies, and more.

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Marvin Zeidan 

Board Member

 

Marvin Zeidan's professional journey aligns seamlessly with the mission and vision of the Circle for Change Initative. Beginning as a Media Assistant at Leo Burnett in 1996 and evolving into pivotal roles at Ogilvy, Drive Dentsu, and Euro RSCG, he cultivated a rich background in multinational engagements. His strategic planning expertise, spanning over two decades and encompassing renowned brands and global entities like the UNDP, forms the foundation of his commitment to positive change.

In 1999, Marvin initiated a global community that transcended marketing, embracing socially responsible strategies and people-centric approaches. As a certified B2B complex sales facilitator and trainer, he championed win-win negotiations, resonating with the ethos of sustainable practices.

Continuing to evolve, Marvin delved into change management for leading institutions and acquired certifications in PMP, NLP, and Reiki. Now, he channels his wealth of experience and knowledge into The Circle for Change, where he actively forges strategic partnerships with private and government organizations. His current mission revolves around addressing pre-homelessness and championing attainable housing through scalable, replicable, and sustainable solutions, perfectly in line with The Circle for Change's vision for a positive and impactful future.

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Andrew Sproul

Member - Elders Council

 

Drew is a life partner to Sharon, a father to his adult children Julian and Pia, Grandfather to Ben and Uncle to MylesDrew rode his first bike at about 7 and is still riding at 70.

 

Drew has a BA in Human Services from Western Washington University and worked with at risk youth. He was a community activist for a decade in Seattle and the Bay Area California before embarking on a career in telecommunications. Since retiring in 2016, Drew has followed a path across the pond, one lily pad at a time, starting with Wilderness Torah, on to 8 Shields, Helpers Mentoring Society and now the Circle For Change.

 

Drew feels blessed to have the opportunity to become an Elder and be of service to the world in a good way

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Ruth Cory

Member - Elders Council

 

Ruth is originally from Durango Colorado, but now she lives on a 20 hectare reforestation project in the foothills of Catalunya overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

 

Ruth has a masters degree in psychology from BSU, and specializes in neuroplasticity through nature connection. She has a degree in Naturopathic Medicine, and Homeopathy and a diploma in Permaculture (Permaculture Association, UK). She has a diploma in teaching, teacher training and curriculum writing from The Royal Society of Arts (UK).

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Ron Bunston

Member - Elders Council

 

Ron is Head Veteran for the Sheguiandah First Nation’s Powwow. 

 

He has extensive background in systems design and permaculture, and in the United Nations and International Life Essentials (food, water, shelter) Security.

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Jackie McMillan, BES, Autistic

Collaborator

 

Community Helper, Autism Turnaround Specialist, CST, Trager, and Advanced Trauma Release Practitioner,  Secretary of the Board of Directors

Jackie began “bio-hacking” her own life-long brain inflammation (autism) in 1976.  Within 7 years of experimenting with nature-based, peace-making, and balance-creating life changes, she had stopped rocking and droning, learned to tell time and navigate, and shifted brain availability from about 10% of waking hours to over 60%, enabling friendships, employment, and ever-higher degrees of social integration.  And her quality of life is still getting better! 

Jackie decodes each individual’s unique autism challenges, curates the relevant research, and tailors do-it-yourself strategies for families, educators, supporting professionals, workplaces, and spectrum adults to optimize the gifts, and minimize the challenges of autism.

 

She also has interests, experience and unique skills with food systems, wild-crafting, microbiome support (including home lacto-fermentation), sustainable energy, healthy construction, alternative finance, appropriate technology, safe city cycling, therapeutic bodywork, trauma release, and so much more. 

 

Jackie is highly motivated to spare others unnecessary despair, debility, discomfort, and disease.  Her passion and joy for our home, our planet, shine through in everything she does.  Her guiding principle is, “If you know things have to change, you might as well enjoy it!”

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William (Bill) Shailor Clarke,
Field Geologist, B.Sc., Hydrogeologist, M.Sc., PGO,

Collaborator

 

Bill has been a field geologist (subsequent hydrogeologist) for almost 50 years. Being out-of-doors has been his life-long focus. In 2003, Bill entered the Tracker world of Tom Brown Jr., where Bill attended many courses in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey over the next several years. These experiences eventually led to a close association with people in Ontario who are outdoor enthusiasts with a deep desire to learn skills of our ancestors (tracking, bird language, plant identification, flint knapping, building stick bows and much more).

One of Bill’s passions has been realized as a regular volunteer at the Guelph Outdoor School for the last nine years. These experiences lead to a level of Nature Connection that is currently absent in the lives of too many young people.  It’s so rewarding to be able to pass on a lifetime of bush skills to youngsters who long for those experiences.

Bill is also involved with older-life-stage folks who are exploring ways to have elders/mentors readily available to next generations, as often as possible. Trained older mentors can support and encourage in ways that often allow youngsters to try new experiences, and gain confidence in themselves and support their decision making process.

Other commitments have included participation in several Mens’ Groups over almost three decades. The one group has been together for about 28 years.

 

Bill has immersed himself in the Anishinaabek culture, especially with the intention of learning the language. He believes that the teachings of Earth-Based people are the most appealing ways to connect with Earth Mother, and show us humans how we are really meant to live this Spiritual journey in sacred balance.  Bill’s dream is to be on land that will feature a community setting, surrounded by forests, wetlands and naturally running water. By design, he will be off-grid and as self sufficient as possible.

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Richard Szponarski,

Collaborator

Richard has a passion for the out-of-doors. He is retired as a mentor with Brant Family and Children’s Services and has worked with The Circle For Change since its inception.

 

He has expertise in wilderness skills, woodworking, fire-making, archery and other outdoor survival skills, and has been blessed to sit at the feet of many elders of many nations, including study with Odawa Medewin Elder Eddie King (Wassa) for over 30 years. 

 

Richard found his calling while out on a solo 24 hour fast. It was in Northern Ontario that he attended a cultural immersion camp where the natural world “spoke” to him. From that day on he has worked tirelessly to show that everything we have is dependent on our relationship to our common Mother and we need to respect all life in all its forms. It was on there that he met Wassa and began a lifelong passion to learn and to teach these principles! 

 

He also brings decades of experience working in carpentry and construction to his mentoring work and in support of The Circle For Change programs.

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Della Chenier

Collaborator

 

Della Chenieris an Aboriginal Storyteller, Traditional Crafts and Visual Arts and Facilitator.

Born French Canadian – Metis – Anishinabek, Della Chenier did not seem to the outside world to embrace her Aboriginal heritage until later in life. She was raised in a predominantly colonial world and was encouraged to practice the Catholic religion.
As a child she sketched with charcoal and pencil and was drawn to the images of horses, hands and nature. As a young woman her curiosity of native culture rooted within her began to emerge with a self study project in high school, comparing four significant Christian bible stories with a parallel story in Native myths and legends.


A serendipitous meeting with Chief Red Cloud, catapulted her into the study and sharing of her Aboriginal ancestry. She learned to apply her sewing and crafts skills to design and produce a traditional dress and a pair of moccasins to be used during her presentations. She gathered traditional knowledge through storytelling and received teachings, continued to work with leather and learned traditional beading and crafts and plant medicine. She transitioned from young woman, to wife and mother and eventually grandmother.
Along the way, a shift occurred as she became the one telling the stories and providing instruction for arts and craft, first with her family, then with her community and then outside her community.

 

Today, she works with children and youth to inspire dignity and pride and caring for ourselves, one another and Mother Earth.

Working With the Best Clients and Partners

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