Shawn Marsolais

Founder & Executive Director

Shawn MarsolaisI am the Founder and Executive Director of Blind Beginnings, and a registered clinical counselor.  Growing up with a visual impairment I was personally impacted by the limited support that was available to families raising children who are blind or partially sighted across BC.  While in University I knew I wanted to work with youth; it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to do an internship at a school for the blind in England in 2000, that I discovered my passion to support children who are blind or partially sighted to reach their full potential.  Both professionally and personally I saw that families needed much more support.  Since 2008 I have created a range of programs and services for children and youth who are blind or partially sighted and their families.

I invite you to connect with me about:

  • Counseling and support groups for children, youth, and parents
  • Current Blind Beginnings programs
  • Requests for programs in new regions of BC
  • Partnership opportunities
  • Blindness 101 training for your school or workplace
  • Media requests
  • Opportunities to join our Board or Committees

Lia Dicicco

Director of Operations

Lia Dicicco

I am thrilled to have joined the Blind Beginnings team in May 2019 as the Director of Operations.  I have over 20 years of experience as a management professional specializing in finance, administration, human resources and governance best practices, with the last 10 years working in a leadership capacity in the not-for-profit sector supporting the arts and young people. It is my passion and belief that all young people should have equitable rights to develop their talents and abilities to their fullest potential and make connections that help give them a sense of self and of success.

Please connect with me about:

  • Financial Management
  • Fund Development & Donations
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Administration and Facilities
  • Human Resource Management

Lisa Odland

Program Coordinator

Lisa OdlandI have been the Program Coordinator for Blind Beginnings since June of 2017. After graduating from the Recreation Management program at Dalhousie University, I came to Blind Beginnings through my involvement with the goalball community. One of the first programs I was involved with was Do The Grind Blind which was an empowering and rewarding program that truly highlighted the potential of youth who are blind or partially sighted through a tough mental and physical challenge. As an avid hiker myself, that experience made me believe I had the best job I could ever ask for. I love watching the personal growth that happens when children and youth push themselves and uncover their strengths.

Please connect with me about:

  • Registering for camps, programs or workshops
  • Renewing or purchasing memberships
  • Questions or suggestions for programs
  • Charitable tax receipt inquiries

Amy Amantea

Manager of Volunteer Services &  Human Resources

Amy AmanteaI can’t believe that July 2019 will mark my one year anniversary with Blind Beginnings — time has sure flown by fast!

I have been connected with the blind community for the past 12 years, when I lost my own sight. I have been a passionate advocate for people with disabilities and have reinvented myself as an accessibility consultant and human resources professional.

I am pleased to be working with the youth of tomorrow as they build their life skills in order to reach their full potential. Having lived with sight loss of my own I can uniquely understand the barriers that exist and creatively conventionalize strategies to overcome them.

At Blind Beginnings, my role is as Manager of Volunteer Services and Human Resources Generalist. I also help with some of the programs sharing my skills as a speaker, presenter and as a mentor. In addition to my role at Blind Beginnings, I continue to volunteer in the both the blind and disability communities — sitting on many boards and committees in sports and recreation, arts and culture and accessibility in the built environment, transportation authority and internal audits.

Please connect with me about:

  • Volunteer Services, opportunities and interest
  • Human Resources information