These are our awesome staff that God has brought together.
Pray for them and reach out to learn more about their ministry areas and what DayStar looks like through their eyes.
Stephen & Dawn Vanelden
Lily (center), Tobias (Steven's lap), & Daniel (Dawn's lap)
My name is Dawn Vandelden. I am married to Steven Vandelden, and together we have 3 beautiful children. I am an American, born and raised in North Carolina. In highschool, I felt God calling me to serve Him in cross cultural ministry. While I was in university I felt God leading me to work among the Native people and learned about DayStar and their work here in Canada. After an initial summer internship God led me to begin work full time with DayStar. My main focus is on the children and young moms of the community. Working with them to teach practical skills and spiritual truths that will help them as they walk through this life. But, ultimately my desire is to serve God in whatever ways He calls me to.
I am Steven Vandelden from Bowmanville, Ontario. I am responsible for the “internship program” for DayStar.
God put His call on my life in my late teenage years to serve Him. Through serving the Lord by ministering to homeless people in Oshawa and local church discipleship, through various church, missions and service experiences He has helped shaped my heart. God has created me passionate about loving concern for anyone on my path. I am blessed to care for those around me and I especially desire to help those who recognize a deeper need in their lives whether it is spiritual, financial, or practical. I desire to see a revival in the church of our call to prayer and selfless love and seek continually to grow in these ways to model them – in short discipleship. God has called me to Wiky, and Daystar to serve in walking with Him in building His church by nurturing the faith of local believers and serving the people of the community. We do this with the hope to build a bridge for our First Nations people to know, especially by experience, who Jesus is. God has blessed me with a beautiful wife Dawn who is a life partner and partner in the ministry.
Her time in Thessalon First Nation began as a volunteer through the summer camp programs which eventually led to her leaving the south and moving to Thessalon to work full time with Daystar. Lue received her honourary Indigenous name from elders Mary Simon of Eabametoong First Nation, and the late Vicki Simon of Thessalon First Nation, which means Smiling Turtle. She is passionate about building bridges with the First Peoples and enabling others in their journey of learning and growth to see transformation in their lives.
Office Assistant (Wiky)
My name is Tanya Pangowish. I live in Wiikwemkoong, Ontario and I have three wonderful children. I grew up here and am the oldest of three children.
When I was growing up, I always looked forward to summertime, because I was able to attend the DayStar Children’s camps that were held here in Wiikwemkoong. I always had a great time, as the people who ran the camps were so kind and friendly. As I got older, my mother would attend the DayStar Ladies’ programs, and I would often tag along. When I was old enough to attend as a mom and young woman, I started going to the programs more regularly. It was a happy place and again everyone was so kind and friendly. I always looked forward to going even though I was shy. It really helped me to meet other ladies and get out of my comfort zone. My children have attended the day camps as well.
I started working at DayStar doing Community Placement, which is offered here in Wiky through Ontario Works. It is seventy hours a month, doing three hours a day. I took advantage of the program for two years, from September to June. My two older children were in school, and my youngest was in daycare. I then did Employment Placement, which is a year-long program, which gave me full-time employment at DayStar. I worked mostly in the Clothing Depot and kitchen. I had a great team to work with and learned a lot. I was able to get an extension after the first year. By the time my contract ended, everything had shut down for Covid, in 2020. After a year off, I was asked to come back to work for DayStar for a six-month contract from February 2021 to September 2021.
I really enjoy working at DayStar. The staff are great to work with, I am learning a lot about office administration, and by also being involved with the programs here, I can meet a variety of people in the Wiky area. I am no longer as shy as I once was and feel that I have come a long way in my personal growth and ability to fit into many work situations.
Anthony and Barbara Pennings
Lydia & Samuel
Anthony and Barbara serve in M’Chigeeng First Nations. Reaching out in practical ways sharing the Truth of the Gospel message. Anthony spends much of his time walking one on one with the men of the community Mentoring and Discipline them all while building trust. Barbara has been working in the School as a Literacy Coach, enjoying the opportunity to get to know the children and teachers in the community. They have been involved in addictions and mental health circles, as well as youth programming, and sports-related outreaches.
Greeting my name is Sheldon Wigwans. I am a father of 5 and came to know Jesus as my Lord in 2008. I became involved with DayStar in 2011 after one of the DayStar summer camps. Together with Anthony Pennings, we have been serving the M’Chigeeng community spreading the love of Jesus to those who He leads us to. God has given me a passion to serve those who struggle with addictions. As I join the DayStar Staff, I will be able to focus more of my energy and time on the community around me. Part of my role will be to mentor others in their faith, plan and develop outreach opportunities, and work on developing a united Body of Believers in M’Chigeeng. Thanks so much for your willingness to partner with me to serve my community and neighbours in M’Chigeeng.
Cheryl Lynn Peltier
DayStar Center (Wiky) Manager
Cheryl Anne Peltier