Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, ON Chapter

Get in touch with our Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge team by:

Safe Families Canada | Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge
77 Everglade Crescent, Upper Unit, Kitchener, ON, N2E 3Y5
Phone: 519-504-2516


Safe Families Canada | Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge
Chapter Director – Vanessa Ploc

Residing in Kitchener ON since 1985, this Jesus-loving, single mom of five children knows firsthand the struggles of raising a family alone amidst addiction, mental health issues and divorce.  A graduate of the University of Waterloo with a background in Psychology and Early Childhood Education, Vanessa’s lifelong passion for children and families has led her from running her own vibrant home daycare while raising her own children to the exciting world of non-profits, where she was instrumental in establishing a chapter of Safe Families Canada in Kitchener Waterloo and later accepted a position as the Regional Director in January of 2018.  Vanessa’s passion for family preservation, ending social isolation and connecting the local church with families who are experiencing temporary crisis’ drives her to empower volunteers and to help create circles of support around isolated families, in part though not exclusively, through family breakdown, unhealthy relationships and distance. In her spare time you can find Vanessa in her kitchen preparing meals and decorating cakes for her family and friends, curled up by the fire with her favourite blanket and book or going for long walks in the forests and trails surrounding her home with her son Jesse and their faithful Barbet Luna.

Family Placement Coordinator – Karen Saulesleja

Raised in the City of Kitchener, Ontario, Karen’s upbringing in a close-knit Christian family has deeply influenced her values, with a strong emphasis on serving others. She is currently working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Religious Education, specializing in Social and Family Ministries, with her expected graduation in the spring of 2024. Karen brings a wealth of experience to the team, having previously been involved with a pregnancy centre, summer camps, admissions work, and various compassion-based initiatives. She’s no stranger to life’s challenges, having battled a mental health illnesses, which have uniquely equipped her to empathize and relate to others on a profound level. Guided by her deep faith in Jesus and her unwavering commitment to serving in His ministry, Karen is excited to be our Family Placement Coordinator. She is especially thrilled to give back to the community where she grew up, living out her Christian values by extending a helping hand to those in need. Outside of her professional pursuits, Karen finds joy in the simple pleasures of life, such as hiking, reading, and indulging her passion for sports, with a particular love for watching lacrosse and hockey.


Safe Families Canada | Kitchener – Waterloo – Cambridge has screened and trained over 100 compassionate volunteers since their launch in 2018.  We have supported families whose children are transitioning back home from foster care, families experiencing addictions, mental health or medical crises, domestic violence, and other difficult and overwhelming situations.  Receiving referrals from local FACS, shelters, hospitals, Public Health Units and other community organizations, we work closely alongside them to surround, strengthen and build resiliency in socially isolated and struggling families through our volunteer Circles of Support who provide extended family-like relationships which many families do not have.  Hear the story of one of our families and how the support of SF volunteers has transformed the lives of her and her daughter HERE.

Kitchener Waterloo-Cambridge Leadership Council

Candace Kikkert -Chair          Katherine Sweet – Secretary
Kyla Shaw – Social Media      Jessica Kauenhofen


We are looking to fill three to four roles on our Leadership Council. If you are interested you
can apply here: MyImpactPage – Leadership Council (


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