Remembering Brenda Copeland

Brenda Copeland passed away unexpectedly on March 19. Brenda’s passion for her family and for improved quality of life for marginalized children and youth shone through all of her endeavours. She will be most remembered for her devotion to her beloved daughter, Eirene, and husband, Russ. Brenda’s joy in becoming a family and watching her daughter grow brought vibrancy to her teaching in the School of Child and Youth Care, which was her academic family for 28 years. She completed a BA with distinction from the School of Child and Youth Care in 1989. She went on to complete a Masters in Policy and Practice at UVic. She began teaching in the School of Child and Youth Care in 1995. Over the years she taught almost every undergraduate course offered in the school. She volunteered countless hours to developing and revising courses and mentoring new instructors, drawing on her wealth of experience both as an instructor and as a practitioner in a range of community service roles. At the time of her passing, she was a continuing sessional instructor and a valued member of the Community Life committee within the school.

Brenda’s students consistently praised her organization and her skill in applying research and theory to practice. In a recent evaluation, a student said: “She loves what she does and it shows. She’s passionate and caring and makes it easy to learn.” Another student said: “I really appreciated Brenda’s genuine consideration for the students. She was very respectful and kind, creating a comfortable class environment.” Many students commented on how she illustrated points about family life and child development with “sweet stories about her daughter.”

For almost 2 decades, Brenda contributed to knowledge transfer in many areas affecting the well-being of children, youth and families on southern Vancouver Island, especially in services for young adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, youth in care, youth in transition, child and youth advocacy, women’s empowerment, and parenting networks.

Brenda taught so many students over the years that no doubt the quality of practice in Victoria and beyond is much better because of the wisdom and generous spirit she imparted. While Brenda’s cheerful presence will be greatly missed by the faculty, staff and students in child and youth care, her determination, commitment to justice and good heart has left an indelible mark and will always be with us.

Students and community members wishing to share their thoughts and recollections for a memorial gift to Brenda’s family are invited to email Caroline Green ().