Fernwood NRG welcomed two new Directors to over the last while—here’s a bit more about them in their own words. Welcome to the Fernwood NRG Board of Directors, Justin and Tonny!
Tony Kiptoo – Member at Large
We are a family of six – myself, Ashley, Kibet, Nandi, Kigen, and Makena (two weeks old as of writing this). My wife and I met in London, England and are both from fairly big families, which naturally results in a lot of hosting and entertaining. It also doesn’t hurt that we are both classically trained chefs. She is a culinary instructor at Camosun College and I am a project coordinator at a local development company.
We have been in love with the Fernwood neighbourhood since we moved to Victoria in 2011. We finally had the opportunity to move into the neighbourhood in 2016. Three of our children have both come home to Fernwood after birth and we also got married here in our front yard.
Fernwood is so unique because of the diversity of the people in the community, the walkability and proximity to services, schools, and parks. The colourful character of the people is complemented by the heritage buildings and the vibrancy of the businesses in the community.
We currently use Fernwood NRG programs like the before and after school care, the Good Food Box, and weekly family dinner. We’ve also attended many workshops and events at the community centre.
I’d love to recognize Yolande, the owner of Who Dyd Your Hair, in the village square. She is a personal beacon of inspiration and a selfless ambassador of people of colour, both new to and living in Victoria. (whodydyourhair.com)
Justin Best – Secretary
In 2001, my Fernwood journey began in an apartment above the George and Dragon (currently Fernwood Inn). I’ve lived on many streets in Fernwood over the years including Spring, Denman, Bay, Haultain, and now back on Gladstone once again. My twin teenagers and I are tenants of the Cornerstone building, owned and operated by Fernwood NRG, and we love being part of such a vibrant community. By day, the kids go to Vic High and I am based out of an office on Pembroke where I work on a healthcare team with Island Health. We are true Fernwoodians!
I think Fernwood is different because the people here have such a strong appetite for community connection. Fernwood is a place where there is an endless bounty of quirky characters; whether at one of the cafes or restaurants, or at any one of the many local shops, the streets of Fernwood are a reflection of the neighbourhood and those who live here.
My favorite thing to do in the ‘hood is hang out in the field during the summer, or ride my bike and explore. I also enjoy chasing the sunshine on the Fernwood Inn and Stage patios on a warm summer evening.
I have volunteered with the Fernwood NRG delivering the Good Food Box and was a Gift of Good Food recipient in 2020. Now I donate back to the program every year since and purchase Good Food Boxes directly from the community centre.