Our Team


Our Board of Directors

Desert Sun is guided by a passionate team of community builders.

  • Rachel Cox – Board Chair
  • Gayle McConnell – Treasurer
  • Patricia Roberts – Board Member
  • Heather Andrews - Board Member
  • MaryAnne Galey - Board Member
  • Marko Boznjack - Board Member
  • Maureen Doerr - Board Member

If you might like to join our board team, find out more here.


Desert Sun’s heart and hands are its staff: a group of caring committed, and engaged change-makers.


Due to the sensitive nature of much of the work we do, we are not able to use volunteers in all of our programs. However, we enormously value and appreciate the dedication of our individual and group volunteers in the key roles they hold.

For more information about the volunteer positions we have available, click here.

Our People

Marieze Tarr
Executive Direector

What do you like about working at DS?

I think my work at Desert Sun encompasses everything I love, helping people, research, science, working with people and governance. I have a passion for children and youth and mental health and this position affords me the opportunity to be creative and find ways to help people who are facing challenges in their lives at any given moment. I do not do this by myself, we have a very talented and passionate staff and everything that we accomplish at Desert Sun we accomplish as a team.

Tell us about your role:

I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of Desert Sun and oversee all of our programs ensuring that we have enough funds to run the different programs and making sure that our day-to-day operations align with our Strategic Plan set out by the Board. No two days are the same and every day we are faced with different challenges and problems that I help to solve. I am the leader of a team that works extremely hard to improve the quality of life for our community members. I am very proud of our team and the work that they do.

How long have you worked at DS?

3 ½ years.


How long have you worked for Desert Sun?

I've worked for Desert Sun since 2017. Though my passion helps this feel less like work.

What is your favourite part of working with Desert Sun?

  • That our staff is so cohesive, we are honest, clear and do our best to include everyone in the laughter we all create.
  • The clients who teach me how to be a better person in this life. They give me an opportunity to practice compassion, vulnerability and integrity. They show me what resiliency looks like, and what needs to be improved in our community for the wellbeing of all.
  • There is a movement of care and respect that permeates our workplace. The intentions of the larger community encompass and promotes forward-thinking about how we can adapt and change.

Tell us a bit about your program…..

The Stop the Violence program is funded by the Ministry of Justice. We have hours of free counselling and consultation to offer the women of our society their healing & empowerment.

The Stop the Violence program is here to intercept the high percentages of women who are impacted by outdated belief systems which perpetuate violence against women, children and pets. We manage and assess relationship abuse, power and control dynamics, self-esteem issues and past abuse with subsequent habitual behavioural patterns. It is a program that facilitates an upgrade in human kindness, well-formulated boundaries and respectful & self-integral communication skills.


How long have you worked with DS?

I have been with DS for 1 month as of tomorrow.

What is your favourite part about working for DS?

My favourite part of the job is the diversity of my working day, the stellar people I work with and the memorable conversations I have with seniors.

Tell us a bit about your program:

The TAPS program is a program sponsored by the United Way Healthy Aging, designed to connect seniors experiencing isolation, connecting them to friends, family and the community at large. We are in the start-up stage where I am designing programs for connecting seniors via teleconferencing(due to Covid). The next stage will be developing a tablet lending library where seniors will be able to borrow a tablet and get training on how to use the device. This will allow them to stay connected to friends and family, access important internet safety protocols and how to avoid fraud, as well as give them access to health and wellness information, the business community, and government agencies. When Covid restrictions are lifted programming will include in-person social gatherings for seniors. Behind the scenes I am reaching out to volunteers, formalizing volunteer training and safety protocols and fundraising for the program.

Executive Assistant & Community Outreach Coordinator

What do you like about working at DS?

I love being part of this organization! I have a huge heart for community and even before I worked here I always supported Desert Sun. For me, working with the people at Desert Sun has been completely fulfilling. Whether it's clients or our own team. Our team is filled with difference-makers in our community that collectively want to make a big difference in helping people.

Tell us about your program:

Well, I don't run a program but I'm a resource and connect all the programs. A day and the life for me at Desert Sun is completely different every day.

How long have you worked for Desert Sun?

Almost a year and a half

Family Support Coordinator

How long have you worked at DS?

11 years

What is your favourite part of working with DS?

Desert Sun Board and Staff have an eclectic mission and vision for the communities we serve. It’s this dedication commitment and mutual support that makes working at DS not feel like “work”.

Tell us a bit about your program.

As the Community Action Program for Children (CAPC), Early Years and Community Kitchen/Garden Coordinator, I offer a variety of resources for parents and caregivers of children 0-6 years. These include pre & post-natal support, individual and group parenting programs, children milestone assessments, early literacy, resources and referrals.

The Community Kitchen addresses food security by offering DSCooks, a teaching kitchen, where families gather on a weekly basis to explore different aspects of food cookery, nutrition and budgeting while enjoying a hot lunch. Food Security is also addressed at the Community Garden where produce is grown and distributed to families while also being utilized in the Community Meal program.

For more information on these programs, Nancy can be reached at 250-485-7499

Better at Home Program Coordinator

How long have you worked for DS?

I have been with Desert Sun since August 2022

What is your favourite part of working with DS?

My favourite part of working with Desert Sun are the seniors and getting to know all of them and hearing their stories.  I have always felt that as a community, we need to take of our seniors and this job allows me to be a small part of that.

Tell us a bit about your program:

In my role as the Program Coordinator, I set up non-medical services for seniors in our community that allows them to stay longer in their homes.  This may include housekeeping, yard work, snow removal or transportation.

For more information contact Armelle at 250-495-6925.