Board of Directors

Allan Pole BA, MDiv, DMin—President
Al studied at various institutions—Eston College (Pastoral Studies), Foothills Christian College (BA, Christian Education), Taylor Seminary (MDiv) and Fuller Theological Seminary (DMin). Al has had the privilege of teaching and preaching God’s Word in other parts of North America, as well as in Europe, Asia and Africa. All of this points to his personal mission—to help others fulfill God’s call.

Pastoring in various Pentecostal churches since 1984, Al and his wife Brenda have lived in Edmonton, Lethbridge and Wetaskiwin, Alberta, moving back to the Calgary area in 2003 thinking it would just be for a short time. But the Lord has a way of working things together for good—in August of 2004 they planted New Beginnings Church. Since then, the church has grown and God is using them to reach out to others in the surrounding area. 

Al loves Jesus and His church. As followers of Christ, we have an amazing opportunity to band together in welcoming and integrating newcomers who are eager to meet new friends while learning English.

Will you partner with us? If you wish to make a contribution to the work of Cooperative ESL Ministries, please see our donation page. Thank you!!

Kathryn Seib
Kathryn SeibVice-President
Bill Demaer
Bill DemaerTreasurer
Helen Ohlhauser
Helen OhlhauserVolunteer Coordinator

Kathryn, a native Albertan, has a keen interest in diverse cultures and a deep love for Jesus. Serving for over 15 years on three continents, she spent several years in Zambia experiencing both the joys and challenges new Canadians face when integrating into a new culture. Following Jesus’ example by building relationships, as well as working cross-culturally, has become her favourite adventure.

Currently living in the Calgary area, Kathryn enjoys working, volunteering and gardening. She has a head for numbers, a heart for people and her eyes on Jesus. She is passionate about missions at home and abroad, as well as serving in the local church.

Bill considers it a privilege to partner with other volunteers and donors to further the mission of this ministry. Many lives have been positively changed so far and there is much more to be done. We can expect great things as we work together as ambassadors of the One who has always been concerned for the stranger among us.

Helen, her husband Terry and three adult children were all born and raised in Calgary—they are true “Calgarians.”  Helen’s parents immigrated to Canada after WWII. Growing up, she and her brother experienced first hand what it was like to live in a home with parents learning to speak, read and write in a new language.

Helen’s first experience with an ESL Program was in the faith community when she was asked to oversee their ESL program. With volunteer management in her background, she began recruiting and training teachers through CESLM. ESL classes ran on Tuesday evenings, Thursday mornings and in a Sunday School class prior to the service to review the sermon. Included in the program was Life Skills sessions, as well as special events like Christmas, Chinese New Year and other holidays. A Friday evening ESL care group was set up to study the Bible. For those who could not speak any English, they set up one-on-one tutoring. Today, under the new leadership, the program continues at Hawkwood Baptist Church in Calgary. This is an exciting, wonderful ministry offered to newcomers who come to learn English.

With a Cardiology Technology diploma, management certificate from the University of Calgary and experience working in Foundation and Volunteer Resources departments, Helen has the experience to fulfill her role as CESLM’s Volunteer Coordinator.

Helen enjoys travelling with her husband and being a Nana to her grandchildren. A special Bible verse she likes, because her name means “light,” is Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”


Sandy Baldwin
Sandy BaldwinMarketing Coordinator
Darlene Penner
Darlene PennerResources Coordinator

Sandy, having a deep call to work with non-profits focused on children in impoverished countries, was offered an opportunity to work with a charity helping children in Myanmar, India, Philippines and Kenya. Together with his wife Janelle and their three children moved from Calgary to Kelowna in 2016. Later, in 2018, Sandy joined the Cooperative as the fourth nonprofit he has worked for over the past 18 years. Sandy and his family felt they were to be back in Calgary and moved back in July of 2020.

Linkedin Bio

Growing up across the USA and having friends from all cultures, Darlene learned to love internationals and newcomers at an early age. Later as an adult, she trained as an ESL teacher and enjoyed helping her students not only learn English, but adapt to a new culture. She has taught students from all parts of the world, in all levels of English. Attending a Spanish-speaking church for many years, Darlene and her husband were immersed in both the language and culture of people from Latin America and Mexico. Currently, Darlene serves as a volunteer at Centre Street Church’s New Canadian Friendship Centre, leading an ESL Knitting/Crochet class with students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.

LinkedIn Bio

To submit a newsletter article, learn more about our training events, or update your  church ESL program info in our ESL Directory, contact