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.

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Lidia Abraha (she/her) is a digital storyteller dedicated to helping non-profits empower the communities they serve.  She has a journalism degree from Ryerson University and writes about social justice, arts and culture for publications like Rabble, NOW Magazine, and VICE.  She’s also managed digital projects for the UN Refugee Agency, Nia Centre for the Arts, and was a national reporter at The Canadian Press. As the Communications and Digital Engagement Associate at YouthREX, Lidia helps animate our work through our various platforms such as social media, newsletters and blog writing. Outside of work, Lidia likes to hang out with her cat and paint.

Follow her on Twitter @lidiabraha or LinkedIn.

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Uzo (she/her) 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). She is currently on the Board of Directors of the York Region Children’s Aid Society.

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Kaushi (she/her) is a Senior Research Associate at YouthREX. She has worked in education and youth policy research in England, Scotland, and Sri Lanka and recently migrated to Canada. She holds a Master of Arts in Education from the Institute of Education, University College London.

Outside of work, Kaushi is a theatre and film enthusiast and contributes to various creative projects in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where she grew up. She also loves spending time with dogs and cats and hopes to adopt soon. She speaks English and Sinhala. 

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Cyril J. Cromwell (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.

CyrilCromwell.com

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Timothy (he/him) is a multimedia storyteller producing and supporting a variety of video projects across YouthREX. He has a background in filmmaking specializing in cinematography and editing. Timothy has his Bachelor’s in film and media production from Humber College.
 
Outside of work Timothy likes to play soccer and works as a professional chain reaction and domino artist. He is fluent in English and French.

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Dorrie (she/her) is the Research and Evaluation Manager at YouthREX. She received her Ph.D. from the Applied Social Psychology program at the University of Windsor. Drawing from her past experiences in research and evaluation, Dorrie provides support to Ontario youth programs in their various evaluation needs, from logic model development to the creation of data collection tools to analyzing and reporting data.

Dorrie grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, and travels back as often as possible with her three children.

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Jen (she/her/siya) leads YouthREX's social media engagement and digital storytelling. She specializes in strategic and accessible communications, critical policy analysis, and multimedia design. Jen holds a Joint Honours Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Development Studies from McGill University.

Outside of paid work, Jen is an organizer in the Filipino-Canadian community. She also really enjoys cooking, sci-fi, and urbanist / public transit memes. She speaks English and French.

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Katarina (she/her) supports the creation and curation of resources for the Knowledge Hub, and is involved in research and evaluation work at YouthREX. She is committed to using data to drive social change, and has worked to advocate for cultural and youth-friendly urban spaces. Katarina studied Sociology at McGill, and went on to obtain an MA in Human Geography from the University of Toronto.

Her interests include coffee, electronic music, and dabbling in different forms of movement. Born in Serbia, she has also found inspiration in the youth (sub)cultures of Montreal and Berlin.

LinkedIn

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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.

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Khadijah (she/her) is supporting evaluation at YouthREX. She received her Master's of Social Work in 2017, where her research examined queer subjectivity in the Toronto South Asian diaspora. Khadijah also works for an Islamic educational centre, where she focuses on anti-Islamophobia education and activism, and is a board member for a non-profit serving 2SLGBTQ+ youth across Ontario.

Khadijah writes and speaks regularly on issues of race, gender, and sexuality. She has worked previously in therapy and research.

muckrack.com/khadjiah-kanji

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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.

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Nkem (she/her) works as a Research Associate at YouthREX. She graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Labour Studies at Brock University and has been working in the private sector since then. She is excited to work and learn more about the public sector. 

Outside of work, some of her hobbies include listening to music and occasionally binge-watching TV shows on Netflix or Crave.

 LinkedIn

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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.

@katherogers
LinkedIn

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Annette is completing a fellowship with YouthREX.

She is the founder of Black Youth Write, a non-profit organization that works with Black youth to write and create content for publication for other kids and youth. She is also the founder and editor of Black Girl’s Magazine and Teen Black Girl’s Magazine, two publications written and created by Black girls from the ages of 8 to 17. Black Girl’s Magazine publications are currently in over 200 public and school libraries.

Annette holds a PhD in Social Justice Education from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

 

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Alexander (he/him) is a Research Assistant at YouthREX. Alexander is a 4th-year student at York University in the Law and Society Bachelors program and a member of the Dean’s Circle of Scholars. His academic interests include philosophy, law, socio-legal studies, and theories of political economy. Inspired by post-modern legal thought and contemporary ideas of governance, Alexander aspires to pursue a Juris Doctor degree at one of Canada’s top law schools, where he can help make lasting changes in our legal system and social institutions.

Outside of academia, Alexander enjoys spending time outdoors with his loved ones, volunteering, and writing short stories.


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Nate (he/him) is a 4th year student, majoring in Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University. He is also pursuing a minor in Communication and Design. Nate is actively involved with the Graphic Communications Management Course Union (GCMCU) and was its President for 2019-2020. He is a Research Assistant at YouthREX, helping with digital content creation. Nate aims to convey emotion and narratives through his minimal yet effective design. In his free time, Nate is an avid cook, enjoys working out, and loves watching anime with his boyfriend. Nate speaks English, Filipino and is currently learning Japanese and Korean.


nate.evangelista

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Helen (she/her) is a Research Assistant at YouthREX. She graduated from York University with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work and currently studies at the University of Toronto in the Master of Social Work program. Outside of work, Helen is involved in affordable housing committees and community environment/gardening initiatives. Also, she enjoys dance and jogging. Helen knows English, Cantonese, and French - she especially loves the French language!

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Suzanne (she/her) is a Research Assistant at YouthREX. She is in her final year of the Specialized Honours Psychology Bachelor of Arts Program at York University, and she holds a Bachelor of Design from the Ontario College of Art and Design University.

Suzanne is pursuing a career in Clinical Psychology, after working extensively in process analysis and development.

In 2018 and 2019, Suzanne participated in the Peace of Minds Yogathon Fundraiser for the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario. She enjoys creating and consuming art and design, and she is fluent in English and French.

LinkedIn

 Website

 B.A.G. Sketchbook

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Amberlynn (she/her) is a Research Assistant with YouthREX. She has experience working with youth and adults involved in the justice system and child welfare system. Amberlynn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Amberlynn is currently a Master of Social Work candidate at York University. 

She really enjoys gardening, working out, cooking, eating snacks, and being at home.

LinkedIn

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Chantal (she/her) is completing a fellowship with YouthREX. Her research interests include addressing anti-Black racism in academic, political, and health-based contexts. Chantal received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Medical Science from Western University and is currently a medical student at the University of Toronto.  

Chantal is passionate about her faith and how this intersects with social justice. Her hobbies include running, experimenting with coffee beverages, and spoiling her baby nephew.

@chantalp_MD 

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Jenny (she/her) is a Research Assistant at YouthREX. She is interested in how language intersects with social and cultural identity and hopes to work with the youth sector in the future. She is currently completing an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from York University. During her free time, she volunteers with a variety of non-profit organizations, ranging from providing resources to those with disabilities, to raising awareness for mental health. She also enjoys learning languages, reading true crime novels, and consuming horror media.

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Monica (she/her) supports YouthREX’s administrative functions in addition to research in the areas of social work field education and evaluation. Monica holds an Honours Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Windsor and an Honours Bachelor's of Social Work degree from York University. She is currently pursuing a Joint Master of Social Work and Juris Doctor degree at the University of Windsor.

Outside of work, Monica actively volunteers with organizations that promote the protection of human rights. She is an avid horror and psychological fiction reader and a coffee connoisseur.

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Rahma Siad-Togane (she/her) is a PhD candidate at York University's School of Social Work. Her research examines surveillance and policing within public housing communities. Her areas of interest include neighborhoods and housing, urban poverty/income polarization, youth development, social policy, race and policing, resiliency, and community surveillance. Rahma has also worked in the non-profit sector for 14 years in youth engagement and settlement services for racialized newcomer Canadians, with a focus on Black women's health and wellbeing.

 

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Clementine (she/her) is a Research Assistant at YouthREX. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Studies with a specialization in Health Management from York University. Clementine is excited about amplifying youth voice in research and evaluation and the possibilities of arts-based approaches.

@clementineutch

Our province-wide Academic Network bringing together professors with an interest in youth wellbeing from across Ontario's colleges and universities.

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Uzo Anucha (she/her) 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). She is currently on the Board of Directors of the York Region Children’s Aid Society.

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Annette is completing a fellowship with YouthREX.

She is the founder of Black Youth Write, a non-profit organization that works with Black youth to write and create content for publication for other kids and youth. She is also the founder and editor of Black Girl’s Magazine and Teen Black Girl’s Magazine, two publications written and created by Black girls from the ages of 8 to 17. Black Girl’s Magazine publications are currently in over 200 public and school libraries.

Annette holds a PhD in Social Justice Education from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

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Corliss Bean is a member of YouthREX’s Provincial Academic Network. She is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University. Her educational background includes a PhD, MA, and BSc from the University of Ottawa in Human Kinetics, with particular focus on Sport Psychology.

Corliss’s research involves working with community organizations at local and national levels to develop, implement, and evaluate their programming with the goal of fostering youth psychosocial development and building organizational and/or community capacity. She is also committed to bridging research and practice through accessible media including blogs, webinars, and workshops. Corliss has extensive publication and granting records.

Corliss presently facilitates two of YouthREX’s online certificates, including Program Evaluation for Youth Wellbeing and Using Spreadsheets in Program Evaluation. Corliss is also a Credentialed Evaluator certified by the Canadian Evaluation Society. She also sits on variety of boards, including being a delegate on Canadian Tire Jumpstart Community and an Academic Partner within the Research and Evaluation Team at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment LaunchPad. 

@corliss_bean

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Mary Goitom is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, York University. Mary’s research explores migration, mobilities, diasporic connections, transnational processes, and social relations. Her work is centered on community-based research and is grounded in Ethiopian epistemologies and larger African traditional knowledge systems. Mary’s work explores transnational social fields in relation to the constitution of settlement, citizenship, wellbeing, agency, resilience, and identity making. 

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Daniel Kikulwe completed his PhD in Social Work at York University in 2014 where he is now teaching. The focus of his doctoral research was on the work and practices of racialized child welfare workers in providing services to families and children.

His area of academic interest is in child welfare practices and policies, as well as immigration. Other areas of research interests relate to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children and its applicability to the global south, as well as kinship care trends in Canada.

In the past, Daniel also has worked in child welfare, as a frontline staff and supervisor for 14 years. He has experience working with youth, families, and communities. His child welfare experiences have been both in Ontario and the Yukon.

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Bryn King, MSW, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, and an affiliated researcher at the Children’s Data Network and the California Child Welfare Indicators Project. She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Youth Wellness Lab, a youth-driven collaborative research hub housed at the University of Toronto.

Bryn's research examines the epidemiology, service involvement, and outcomes of families who come to the attention of the child protective system in North America, with a focus on disparities in involvement and the experiences and trajectories of youth.

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Kristen Lwin is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Windsor, and has social work practice, child welfare research and program evaluation, and knowledge mobilization experience over the past 20 years.

Prior to her current academic position, Kristen served as the Executive Director of a national non-profit child welfare knowledge mobilization organization for six years.

Kristen’s teaching and research focuses on Evidence-based/informed Practice and examining whether child welfare worker characteristics play a role in their decisions and practice. 

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Naomi Nichols is an Associate Professor (Sociology) and the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Community-Partnered Social Justice at Trent University.

Until August 2020, she was an Associate Professor (Education) at McGill University.

Naomi is the Principal Investigator for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Grant called, Data Justice: Fostering equitable data-led strategies to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness, and another called, Building from Experience: Youth-led strategies for homelessness prevention and housing stabilization.

She is also a research theme lead (knowledge mobilization) for the SSHRC partnership grant: the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and a research theme lead (prevention) for the Networks of Centres of Excellence: Making the Shift: Youth Homelessness Solutions Impacts Accelerator.

Naomi's research activities and publications span the areas of social inequality; poverty; youth homelessness; youth justice; child welfare; education; “youth at risk;” youth mental health; higher education, research impact and community-academic research collaborations.

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Olufunke Oba, BSc, MSc, MSW, PhD, obtained her bachelor's and master’s degrees in sociology from Nigeria, followed by her MSW and PhD degrees in social work from Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU). Funke received the Ontario Graduate Scholar and outstanding dissertation awards, as well as the WLU Teaching Excellence Award.

She founded the Community Academic Reciprocal Engagement (CARE) incubator space for Black youth in 2016.

She is a fellow of the Carnegie Foundation, associate fellow of the Tshepo Institute for the study of contemporary Africa at WLU, and the university of Regina’s Social Policy Research Centre. 

Funke's community-based research on child welfare, liberatory youth engagement, field education, domestic violence, and the scholarship of teaching and learning are funded by Social Sciences Humanities and Research Council (SSHRC). Current projects include Investigation of the Schooling Experiences of Black Youth in Saskatoon, a pan-Canadian study on access to post-secondary education among Black youth with refugee backgrounds, a study on the experiences of racialized students in professional helping disciplines, and a SSHRC study through a Partner Engage Grant with Waterloo Region High Schools and WLU. Her CARE project was funded by the Women’s College Hospital and supported by YouthREX. Her scholarship, including those funded by the Ontario government, Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research, University of Regina’s Teaching and Learning Scholar fund, and internal grants are framed by anti-Black racism and Afrocentric theories in the pursuit of equitable outcomes for Black youth particularly.

Funke is a reviewer for SSHRC, varied academic journals, and academic publishers, and serves on the board of The Working Center, the African Community Wellness Initiative (ACWI). She is also an elder/adviser with Black Lives Matter Waterloo and other Black-led initiatives in the region. Funke has served on the Kitchener Record Community Editorial Board, Waterloo Region District School Board’s Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group, KW Counselling Services Board, and as president of the African Canadian Association of Waterloo Region.

Internationally, Funke facilitated field instructor training, student seminars, research, and curriculum development during a 90-day fellowship funded by Carnegie Foundation to professionalize social work in Nigeria.

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Neil Price is an educator, writer, and higher education administrator. Neil is currently Dean of the School of Justice and Community Development at Fleming College. Previously, he was Associate Dean in the Faculty of Social and Community Services at Humber College.

Neil is President of LogicalOutcomes, a not-for-profit consulting firm that aims to improve human services work and social policy. His consulting practice focuses on applied research, community engagement, strategic planning, and stakeholder consultation.

Neil's writing has appeared in NOW, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Hazlitt, Canadian Art, This Magazine, and other publications. He was previously Reviews Editor at Humber Literary Review.

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Joey-Lynn Wabie is an Algonquin Anicinabe ikwe from Wolf Lake First Nation in Quebec. She is an assistant professor in Indigenous Social Work at Laurentian University located on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek territory (Sudbury, Ontario). Joey-Lynn works in communities at the grassroots level focusing on wellness, culture, and bringing people together. Her research interests are Indigenous youth's perspectives on Truth & Reconciliation, spiritual wellness/healing, and land-based teaching/learning.

Joey-Lynn takes the role of sister, auntie, cousin seriously and is dedicated to ensuring her culture and traditions are passed on through storytelling, ceremony, and the occasional latte.