Engaging With Community to Build a Strong Future

Established in 1978, the SPEC Association for Children & Families, began as a fee-for-service program with Alberta Social Services and Community Health. Since SPEC’s incorporation in 1979, the programs have continued to grow and offer services for children and families under the guidance and leadership of dedicated board members, staff, and volunteers.

The SPEC Association offers a continuum of services providing information, family supports and community connection through a positive and welcoming environment. This includes a central hub of information and navigational services for all people in Brooks and within the County of Newell, connecting clients with the right information and services to assist them to increase their capacity to deal with life challenges. SPEC also provides services that support the needs of children and their families.”

Our Mission

Empowering people with information, family supports and community connection.

Our Vision

A thriving community of resilient individuals and families

Our Annual Report

2022 -2023 Report | click to view

Our Annual Report

2021 -2022 Report | click to view

Our Annual Report

2020 -2021 Report | click to view

We Value

  • Respect: SPEC values all people as individuals who will be treated with dignity in an environment that is open-minded and non-judgmental

  • Empowerment: We value encouraging the development of self-reliance and resiliency through support and advocacy

  • Community Contribution and Involvement: We value building relationships with other agencies, programs and resources in the community to better serve children and families.

We Believe

  • • have a right to:
    • • well being
    • • be safe
    • • be heard
    • • have hope
  • • have the capacity to change
  • • need positive relationships

Board of Directors and Our Management Team


Catherine Siakaluk

Board Chair
About Catherine

Catherine serves as the Communications Officer for the County of Newell. With a Masters degree in Communication & Leadership, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role. Catherine’s professional journey took her through the realms of corporate Economic Development and then into the non-profit sector, offering her a diverse background to draw upon in her current role.

Born and raised in Calgary, Catherine moved to Brooks In May of 2023, and is loving small town life in the prairies. Beyond her professional commitments, Catherine is a proud mother to four mostly grown children. As she navigates the joys and transitions of the ‘Empty Nest’ phase, her love for the prairies and dedication to effective communication remains constant.


Tim Peters

Vice Chair
About Tim

I am a registered massage therapist who co-owns and operates Brooks In Touch Therapy. I am originally from Manitoba and have a background in farming and management. I moved to Brooks with my family officially in 2021.

In my spare time I enjoy spending with my wife and three little boys, always up for adventure. I also enjoy making creative pieces of furniture with wood and spending time with dogs and horses.

Lisa Patton

Lisa Patton

About Lisa
I moved to Brooks 14 years ago with my young family. Soon after we each made our first new friends in a SPEC program!
I’m passionate about quality programs that meet community needs. I’m eager to share my excitement and experience in board-level efficiencies including Strategic Planning and policy development.

Ruby Tatem

About Ruby

Rubidia (Ruby) Tatem joins the SPEC Board of Directors after previously working at SPEC parentLINKcentre for 13 years as Coordinator and Accredited Triple P Parenting Education Facilitator.  

She and her husband have raised their two sons in Brooks and operate a small business in the city. Both have volunteered their time on various other community boards, including the Grasslands Soccer Association and The Newell Integrated Child Care Society. 

Some of her passions include early childhood education and development, child safety, equal human rights for all and investing in our communities futures. 

Rubidia looks forward to investing more time in Brooks and the County of Newell in order to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Ghandi


Chelsea Opperman

Program Manager- SPEC Hub (FRN)
About Chelsea

Chelsea joins SPEC after previously working at Grasslands Public Schools for 16 years as the Prevention and Education Wellness Mentor, developing and delivering specialized universal programs to all of the schools within the district for Kindergartens to Grade 11.  She was a member of various community committees, sat on volunteer boards and collaboration projects throughout Brooks and area.  She has also worked closely with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection bringing the Kids in the Know program and Commit to Kids resources to children, families and our community.   

Chelsea was born and raised in Brooks and continues to live here with her family.  Some of her passions include child safety, resilient children and youth, healthy relationships, and building community connections.  Chelsea looks forward to continuing to grow connections and promote positive well-being with children and families within Brooks and the County of Newell! 

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Xin Zhang

About Xin

Xin continues at SPEC in her new position as LINKS Newcomers Services Manager. She spent the last nine years as a Settlement Worker in Schools and most recently as the SWIS team coordinator. Before her time at SPEC, Xin worked in Human Resources at JBS Food Canada and in an executive/senior management role for 10 years in China. In her home country, Xin had extensive experience managing a large number of staff and the responsibility for multi-million dollar budgets.

Xin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration as well as first hand understanding the newcomer experience. She has been in Canada for over 13 years- with her husband and two children.

Xin looks forward to continuing to work with the local community and serving SPEC’s great clients!

Jennifer 2021

Jennifer Scholz

About Jennifer

Jen joined the PCAP program at SPEC with over 15 years of experience working in non-profit and support-based organizations in Brooks and region. 

Growing up in a rural community near Brooks and starting her own family in the same community, she has established deep roots and a growing passion for Brooks and the rural communities surrounding it. She strives to empower families with the tools and community connections they need to navigate life feeling supported.

Jen believes strongly in the PCAP model of building relationships by meeting participants where they are at and assisting them to create the life they want.

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