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Meet the LINC Team!

The LINC Team would like to introduce you to the amazing people who work restlessly to help newcomers in the North Island improve their English!

Comox Valley

ESTHER KARASOVA – PBLA LEAD/LINC Instructor

Esther Karasova started teaching English in the Czech Republic over 20 years ago and hasn’t stopped! After a taste of teaching Business English and Cambridge Exam classes abroad, she decided that she loved the work so much that she became certified in TESL, TELLS, LINC and PBLA Leadership. Her Master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) involved research specific to LINC and language learning strategies. Along the way, she learned that students are the best teachers and they are the joy of her work days! When not working, she enjoys long walks, bike rides, spending time with her family and her cat.

CHRIS ITO – LINC Instructor

My name is Chris. I have been involved with the Immigrant Welcome Centre for a few years in different capacities, and I am now with the LINC program. I used to work in Japan teaching English in public schools. I speak English and Japanese and enjoy learning other languages. In my spare time, I enjoy being in the great outdoors of Vancouver Island (I also love to snowboard!). I’m very happy to meet you. Welcome to the LINC program!

 

MALVINA ODROBNY – LINC Instructor

Malvina hails from Edmonton, AB, growing up in a Polish immigrant family. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Linguistics and a minor in English from the University of Alberta, Malvina ventured abroad. Teaching stints included one year in South Korea, followed by four years in Vietnam, and a final two-year stop in Poland. Beyond Academia, she finds love in everyday pursuits like walking, cooking, and learning new things. Interaction with people from diverse backgrounds fuels her passion for understanding the world. An animal lover at heart, Malvina shares her home with two cats. Celebrating a one-year milestone, Malvina reflects on a journey marked by cultural exploration, academic pursuits, and a genuine appreciation for life’s simple pleasures.

YVONNE MUIR – LINC Instructor

Yvonne has been teaching English courses since 2014. Before that, Yvonne worked in research and education from 2010 to 2015. She helped with projects for different organizations like the Industry Training Authority and Vancouver Foundation. Yvonne started her career as a teacher almost 20 years ago. She taught programs to help immigrants to Canada, including ELSA and ESP for Engineers, Technicians, and Nurses. She’s also certified to assess language skills and rate CELPIP tests. Yvonne has worked in administrative roles too, helping start Alexander College and developing English programs at Vancouver Central College. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia and a CELTA from Cambridge, UK.

BRIAN CASEY – LINC Instructor

Hi, I’m Brian, and I moved to Canada a year ago from the United States with my wife, son, and cat. Prior to moving here, I taught for over ten years in Chigaco, Boston, and Quito and have a master in education. Outside of the classroom, I like to play ultimate frisbee, and go hiking. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know many of the beautiful places that are on Vancouver Island and I’m looking forward to exploring more!

 

Campbell River

MORGAN ARMOSTRONG – LINC Coordinator
Morgan has been with IWC as the LINC Instructor/Coordinator since 2021. She is a recent transplant from the Okanagan where she grew up and began her teaching career. Her favourite part about this role at IWC is building relationships with amazing people from all over the world and seeing them flourish. When she’s not teaching, you can usually find her on, in, or under the water, admiring the dazzling sea life of the Pacific Northwest.

 

LORI KOBELAK – LINC Instructor
Meet Lori, a lifelong language enthusiast and dedicated ESL teacher with a diverse background in education. Lori’s teaching journey includes guiding adult immigrants in Quebec, working with children in school District 72, and currently teaching adult immigrants in Campbell River. With a significant part of her career spent as a school counselor for middle school and high school students, Lori brings a wealth of experience to her role. Fluent in French and on a continuous journey to master Spanish for seven years, Lori understands the challenges of language learning intimately. Originally from Ontario, Lori has embraced BC as her home for half her life, captivated by the natural splendor of the province. Nestled in the tranquil setting of Campbell River with her husband, Lori finds joy in the serene lifestyle and the breathtaking beauty of British Columbia.

Administration

THRESA BLACKBURN – LINC Intake Worker
My name is Theresa and I started working for the Immigrant Welcome Centre in 2022 as an intake worker for LINC covering Campbell River and Courtenay. I emigrated from Manchester, England with my husband in 2013 and came straight to Campbell River. I have 2 children and 6 granddaughters back in the UK along with a few siblings. We love the town and Island and of course the weather. In my spare time I love to participate in Archery (target) using the outdoor and indoor range in Campbell River, exploring the island either by car or in our RV which has allowed us to see some of the island (weather permitting).

 

MIKE STOLTING – LINC Intake Worker
Mike is a dedicated Realtor making a mark in the Comox Valley and Campbell River areas. Beyond the world of real estate, Mike is a passionate coach, leading senior boys’ basketball at Highland Secondary School and contributing his expertise to the local competitive basketball club, Dime Valley Basketball. When he’s not closing deals or coaching on the court, Mike finds joy in spending quality time on the family farm with his two young boys and his wife. Mike’s commitment to both his professional and personal pursuits reflects a well-rounded individual deeply rooted in the community, family, and a passion for helping.

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Immigrant Welcome Centre

We provide free specialized services for immigrants, refugees and newcomers in Campbell River, the Comox Valley, and northern Vancouver Island.

Immigrant Welcome Centre

Free Professional Services for Immigrants & Newcomers in Courtenay, Comox, Campbell River and northern Vancouver Island.