>> Rana Battah
My name is Rana Battah, and I’m originally from Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan. Since August 2019, I’ve had the privilege of living in the Lekwungen people’s homelands. I am delighted to present myself as the new Director of Community Programs at Fernwood NRG, where I will oversee the Family, Youth, and Seniors Programing.
I am highly committed to social justice, human-centered leadership, and the creation of community-centered projects in collaboration with the neighbourhood.
I aspired to be a care bear as a child, and I grew up to be a humanitarian worker, which was the closest I could come! I started volunteering when I was 15, co-founded a local charity in Jordan when I was 23, and then moved to the international field in the hopes of making a greater impact. I worked on the Syrian conflict for six years before coming to Victoria to pursue my MA in Leadership Studies at UVic.
I am excited to continue the quest to improve the quality of life in Fernwood with you.
>> Aaren Topley
I’m Aaren Topley, a trans man of Scottish, English, and Jewish descent, residing on the homelands of the Lekwungen people. I am thrilled to introduce myself as the new Director of Strategic Priorities at Fernwood NRG. You might be wondering what that title entails. Essentially, I will be responsible for overseeing all of Fernwood NRG’s food security initiatives and co-building new community-focused neighbourhood projects.
My passion lies at the crossroads of social justice, food security, climate resilience, and community connectedness. To give you a glimpse of my past work, I played a pivotal role in initiating the Harvest4Knowledge project at Vic High. This project set out to bring Indigenous plants and traditional knowledge into the minds and hearts of children and youth. Additionally, I worked with Mason St. Farm and Vic High students to establish the Vic High Learning Farm. These initiatives brought together individuals from our community to forge connections with one another and the land, all while growing food and medicine.
I am eager to bring this same spirit of collaboration and learning to my new role here at Fernwood NRG, as we work together to address critical issues and build a more connected and resilient community.