About Our Team

Connection, collaboration, shared learning and community action define the intent of our local trauma- and violence-informed community of practice with a shared focus on programming for youth. Our circle is ever-expanding and program referrals are always welcome. Call the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre at 705-748-5901. All project participants are required to register with your parent or guardian.


Pictured (l-r); Cheryl Wood, Beverley Clifton, Dr. Kateryna Keefer, Susan Hardy, Jennifer Garland, Sonya Vellenga, Nicole Oattes, Katie McKeiver, and Vivianne Burmester

Our Delivery Team

Sonya Vellenga

Former Executive Director, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre

Sonya is the project lead for Building Internal Resilience Through Horses. Her work experience includes 18 years of service in Child Welfare and over 6 years of Teaching experience at Fleming College in a variety of areas including a course that explores Family Maltreatment and Intimate Partner Violence across the Lifespan. This project fits in well with the Centre’s vision of providing opportunity for young people who are working towards equitable and respectful change in their relationships and their communities. The Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre is a not-for-profit, charitable organization established to provide sexual assault services and public education in the City of Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes and throughout the Counties of Peterborough, Northumberland and Haliburton.

Dr. Kateryna (Katia) Keefer

Trent University

Dr. Keefer is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Trent University and is the research lead for Building Internal Resilience Through Horses. Her program of research is focused on the developmental dynamics and applications of socioemotional competencies in the promotion of wellness and resilience across the lifespan. As an emerging scholar, Dr. Keefer has co-authored over 30 journal articles and book chapters on the topics of emotional intelligence, resilience, mental health, and psychological assessment; delivered numerous invited talks and conference presentations on these topics; and is currently co-editing the Springer Handbook of Emotional Intelligence in Education. Dr. Keefer’s team includes next generation researchers with a growing list of academic achievements who are also supporting the program, including: Nicole Oattes, Alexandra Ha, and Emilie Storey-Hurtubise.

Lisa Clarke

Executive Director, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre

Lisa Clarke is the Executive Director and Community Engagement Manager at Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre. She has worked in non-profit research, communications, education, fund and community development for over 15 years. Her interests include violence against women, developmental disabilities and youth engagement. Lisa is a graduate of the Masters of Adult Education and Community Development at St. Francis Xavier University researching social movement theory, public education and gender-based violence.

Jennifer Garland

Owner/Program Director, The Mane Intent Inc.

Jennifer serves as Project Manager and Lead Facilitator for Building Internal Resilience Through Horses. Jennifer is also Owner and Program Director for The Mane Intent Inc., offering Health and Wellness workshops, Coaching, Team Building and Leadership Development working in partnership with horses as natural coaches. With over 25 years of leadership experience as a strategist, facilitator and effectiveness coach, Jennifer has provided counsel and support to senior leaders from all walks of life to build productive relationships, facilitate learning and to embrace change.

Our Delivery Team

Katie McKeiver

Social Worker, Building Internal Resilience Through Horses

Katie supports the program as social worker and co-facilitator. Katie has been involved with other projects at Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre in the past including The Clothesline Project, Weaving Our Voices, The Tea and Talk Toolkit, and the Volunteer Hours In a Box. Some of Katie’s other experiences includes mentoring youth at a therapeutic farm, and working with youth in remote northern Ontario communities. Katie holds a Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Victoria and has over 5 years of experience in Social Service in the City of Peterborough. Katie is committed to practicing trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, critical social work. Providing therapeutic services to marginalized youth, who have experienced trauma, is a deeply personal passion for Katie and it shows in her work.

Annette Vlieg

Clinical Counsellor, Peterborough Youth Services and Co-Facilitator, Building Internal Resilience Through Horses

Annette has supported this community, focusing on child and family emotional well-being, for the last 14 years. She is passionate about helping youth find their way through the ups and downs they encounter, placing perceived difficulties in a larger social context. Her previous experience includes working within residential and home-based treatment programs. She volunteered for two years in a remote Ontario community, mentoring youth through school programming. She has a Bachelor of Social Work from Carleton University.

Susan Hardy

Associate Equine Program Facilitator, The Mane Intent

Susan co-facilitates Building Internal Resilience Through Horses.  She is a certified FEEL™ (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning) facilitator and brings to this work over 20 years in corporate learning and management. She has provided personal and professional coaching, organized international conferences and facilitated workshops enabling professional growth using Jungian typology. Her many years of volunteer work with children and seniors have afforded her experiences that strengthened her both personally and professionally.

Beverley Clifton

Associate Equine Program Facilitator, The Mane Intent

Bev co-facilitates Building Internal Resilience Through Horses. She is a FEEL™ (Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning) facilitator and brings to her role a life-long experience as a high school educator. Bev offers a safe and humanistic approach to teaching and delivering curriculum; and as an educator, thousands of students have learned and gained life-long skills enabling them to become self-sufficient contributors to society. Throughout her career in education, Bev received awards and recognition and has continued her studies at the University of Waterloo and Brock University.

Jordanne McLaren

Counsellor and Advocate

Jordanne McLaren is a Counsellor and Advocate at the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, working in a front line role to support individuals affected by sexual violence. In her work, Jordanne supports individuals by providing crisis support, safety and stabilization, counselling, advocacy and accompaniments to the police station, hospital and court hearing.

Jordanne supports the recruitment aspect of the Building Internal Resilience through Horses program by scheduling consultation appointments with interested individuals to discuss the program’s structure, intent and deliverables. Jordanne also helps to support participants with active listening and by providing appropriate referrals to community services. Jordanne works from a trauma and violence informed lens and a client-centred and strength-based approach. Jordanne is committed to providing supportive services to those affected by harm and victimization.

The Herd at The Mane Intent

The real magic of this program comes down to the relationships that develop between the participating young women and our herd of horses. This is a shout out to:  Belle, Blue, Maggie, Mystic Mel, Maggie, Misty, Sunny, Samson, Sebastian, Prinz Harry and Leroy Brown. They each bring their gifts and stories to the experience. This is a powerful herd that is teaching us all about love, connection and empowerment.


Black and white photography by: Lora Jude DeWolfe