Our Team

Each of our team members brings a unique lens to our work and a passion for youth and youth worker wellbeing across Ontario.

Uzo is the Founder and Provincial Academic Director of YouthREX. She is the York Research Chair in Youth and Contexts of Inequity and an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, York University. Her educational background includes a PhD in Social Work from the University of Toronto; MSW and BSW from York University; and BSc and MSc from University of Nigeria.

Uzo’s community-engaged research is focused on critical youth work. She conceptualizes her research as a community dialogue that is centred on equitable collaborations with community stakeholders. Her research projects emphasize multi-methods / multi-focal research that make space for multi perspectives.

Uzo has served on a variety of boards, including being appointed by an Order in Council by the Government of Ontario to the Board of Directors of the Central Local Health Integrated Network for two terms of six years (2011-2017). 

Cyril (he/him) is a social justice advocate and community educator. At YouthREX, Cyril supports professional development and learning opportunities for Ontario youth workers.

As a proponent of Social Justice, Cyril has led professional development and media art projects across the Greater Toronto Area and abroad for over a decade in community centres, schools, open custody detention centres and in his photography studio. As a community educator, Cyril is interested in amplifying the voices of young people and youth workers in research and policy to reduce the gap that often exists between well-meaning theory and critical practice.


Chanel (she/her) leads the operations and administrative aspects of YouthREX and supports our capacity building opportunities. She is a published author with a B.A. in Sociology and Creative Writing from York University and a M.Ed. from the University of Toronto.

Her experiences as a Barbadian immigrant to Toronto fuel her interest in research on persons of African descent and how they're impacted by the intersections of race, immigrant status, and class within the education system.

Outside of work, Chanel likes reading, watching documentaries, and spending time with family and friends.

James (he/him) is a Multimedia Storyteller for YouthREX. He has a BFA in Film Studies from Ryerson University with a focus in documentary film. James has experience mentoring youth in media production, archiving experiences of migration with newcomer communities, and working in the documentary field. Much of his past work covers the multitude of experiences of living in Toronto: from migrating here to navigating the city’s systems and structures.

Outside of work, his interests include exploring all corners of Toronto by transit and by bike, trying new cuisines, vegetable gardening, and slowly learning how to speak Farsi.

Maria (she/her) is a Graphic Designer for YouthREX. She received her Bachelor of Design with honours from the YSDN Program at York University. As a designer, she focuses on thinking critically about the capacity that design has as a transformative tool to educate, empower, and inspire people, especially youth.

Outside of work, she enjoys illustrating, travelling, and hanging out with her dog Mango. Born in Colombia, Maria often likes to bring elements of her own culture into the work that she creates.

Kathe (she/her) is the Program Director at YouthREX. She is a registered social worker with extensive experience in communications, advocacy, public education, counselling, and community building, having supported a variety of projects across not-for-profit organizations and community-based initiatives.

Kathe is a former film student, seasoned storyteller, engaged lover of art and music, amateur star-gazer, novice embroiderer, and pop culture trivia guru.


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