VARJ Board Members, 2018 -19

Deno Hurst – President and Chair of the Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice Deno Hurst shares a strong and enduring interest in restorative justice through both community participation and capacity building. This commitment is reflected in his ongoing work as a social worker with individuals and communities struggling with issue of violence, inequalities and inequities. Deno’s contribution to restorative justice includes mentoring and working with diverse communities internationally as well as locally. Deno’s lifelong commitment to restorative justice is also informed and embedded in the concept of safety, healing, and agency for survivors. Deno supports both accountability and transformation for people who harm through community action, healing, and accountability. It is through the application of restorative justice transformation of the social conditions that perpetuate violence, domination, systems of oppression on both individuals and communities can be address.

Frank James Tester,  Co – Chair B.Sc., D.Phil., M.E.Des., M.S.W. is an Adjunct Professor, Kutenai Art Therapy Institute, and Department of Native Studies, University of Manitoba. He has an interest in restorative justice as an alternative to the criminal justice system in Nunavut Territory in relation to reconciliation, healing and the restoration of Inuit to their families, communities and culture. Frank’s research interests include Inuit social history, the problem of young Inuit suicide and the social, cultural and environmental impacts of mining and mineral exploration in Nunavut Territory. He is a former chair of the Family Court/Youth Justice Committee, City of Vancouver, a former board member of CUSO and the Georgia Strait Alliance and was a research advisor to the Qikiqtani Truth Commission (2008-2010). He is the author of books and papers dealing with Inuit social history, Canadian social policy and environmental issues.

Jim Mandelin – Treasurer: is a fully pardoned ex-offender, ex- gang member and recovered drug addict and alcoholic. Jim is 41 years clean and sober, is a public speaker, counselor and author and was the recipient of the Coast Mental Health’s 2015 Courage to Come Back Award for the province of BC.  In 2016 Jim wrote a chapter (Chapter 1) and worked with Theo Gavrielides from London, England and twelve PHD’s from around the world on a University text book on Restorative Justice and Offender Rehabilitation called: Offenders No More:

Jim has facilitated restorative justice conferences while working in the past with the John Howard Society of the Lower Mainland of BC. His website is:

At present Jim works for the Homelessness Services Association of BC as the Coordinator of Training & Membership for the Province of BC

Fiona Pierce – Manager Graduate of Royal Roads University (RRU) with a BA in Justice Studies. She has been active with VARJ since September 2015. Fiona studied restorative justice at Camosun College and RRU since 2012. She received the Saanich Police Department Restorative Justice Graduating Award upon completion of her Diploma in Criminal Justice, for her commitment to restorative justice in the community and for demonstrating restorative values in the classroom. While at Camosun College, she also volunteered for Restorative Justice Victoria. She plans on continuing her education at UBC’s law school; focusing on social justice and international law.

M. Asadullah – Member at Large  is a PhD student at Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology, M. Asadullah is a sessional faculty of Peace & Conflict Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley. His research interests include restorative justice, village court, peacemaking criminology, community policing, and indigenous justice. He has trained as a conflict resolution and restorative justice practitioner with Dr Howard Zehr, Dr Brenda Morrison and Cpl Jim Cooley.

Caitlin Grisack – Member at Large is a restorative justice facilitator, trainer and advocate, specializing in providing service to at-risk youth and the victims of serious crime and trauma. Caitlin has a Bachelor of Criminology and Political Science from Simon Fraser University, is a certified Community Justice Forum facilitator trainer and has worked in diverse areas of law enforcement, including strategic planning and communication, victim services and alternative measures. Currently Caitlin coordinates the Burnaby R.C.M.P Youth Services Restorative Justice Program.

VARJ Associate Members 2018

Mary Etey – is a registered massage therapist.  She has studied psychology at UBC and conflict resolution at the Justice Institute. She volunteers with the East Vancouver based community group “A Community Aware” to learn about and address social issues through education and action.

Evelyn Zellerer –  Ph.D.  is founder and director of Peace of the Circle, as well as a professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Evelyn is a facilitator, trainer and speaker, working internationally with government agencies, businesses, non-profits, schools, police, corrections and communities. For more information visit

Tanyss Knowles –  is a social worker, who is dedicated to promoting resilience, capacity-building, and meeting local needs through research, policy, and community development. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from UBC.