Long-time anti-violence advocate remembered

Former EVA BC director Jan Seelinger died suddenly this past June and the anti-violence sector lost a powerful advocate and community champion.

Jan served as a director on the EVA BC board representing Region 5 (Interior), for over ten years. She worked as a program coordinator for SAFE Society Women’s Shelter in Salmon Arm for 13 years.

SAFE Society’s current executive director, Jane Shirley, remembered Jan as “a fierce advocate for many clients in the Shuswap.”

Jane Shirley recalls she often “went above and beyond the contracted hours of service to make sure people were supported.”

She was well known in her community for her passion for anti-violence work, and was often invited to speak at local events. She brought EVA BC’s Be More Than a Bystander program to the region, took the lead in a local Purple Lights Campaign and participated in many anti-violence vigils. She also helped co-facilitate the RCMP’s youth training in schools on the topic of drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Current EVA BC director Donalda Beeson, Region 11 (Northeast), joined the board in 2014 and remembers becoming friends with Jan, who was already a long-time director. When Jan stepped off the board in 2018, the two kept in touch.

“Anything I say about her sounds cliché,” said Donalda. “She was a super fierce advocate and wasn’t afraid to speak out. She was a feminist in all aspects of her life. Always learning, always good at doing things on her own.”

“Jan loved the outdoors and the Shuswap region that she called home,” Jane Shirley said. “She was able to raise funds for [SAFE Society] by participating in a local boxing event and she helped at many events in her community of Canoe. Jan was a strong and vibrate person whose life was taken too soon!”

The SAFE Society is creating a serenity garden in Jan’s name that will include a gazebo and water feature.

Jan’s friends and family created a GoFundMe account to help Jan’s son and to cover expenses to celebrate her life.

EVA BC shares the loss and extends condolences to her son and all who knew her.