Michelle Holbrook has worked in the field of Child and Youth Care for 20 years and has been a member of the OACYC since she was a student at Lambton College. She has obtained her Bachelor of Science on Counselling Psychology and Masters in Counselling Psychology. Throughout her career she has worked with children, youth and their families in the residential sector, education system, the area of youth justice and community based agencies. Michelle has held numerous frontline and management positions within the field of Child and Youth Care throughout her career. Currently, Michelle is a full time faculty and the Field Coordinator for the Child and Youth Care program at Lambton College. Michelle is very active in the CYC community as well as in her own community in Sarnia through volunteer work and sitting on numerous boards. Her interests on the OACYC Board include seeing CYCs become a regulated profession in Ontario and increasing membership and awareness of Child and Youth Care.
Mardi Ennis-Gregory graduated from the CYW program, class of 1997, at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario. She also completed a BA in Women’s Studies and Psychology at York University in 2007. Mardi has worked in several aspects as a CYC in residential, intake, counselling, day treatment, group facilitation, and private practice. Mardi’s passion lies in supporting families and currently is the Coordinator of Family Service for Toronto and Peel at Bartimaeus. In this role, she coordinates and consults with other CYC’s to provide in-home family support, provides a solution focused, brief counselling service called Parent Help, and facilitates workshops and trainings to families and professionals promoting positive mental health. Mardi also teaches as part time faculty at Humber College in the CYC Diploma Program teaching courses specific to family support and engagement. Mardi has lived in Toronto for the past 20 years, has two young children and is even married to a CYC. Mardi is passionate about the promotion and articulation of our work as CYC’s and believes strongly in the need for legislation and professionalization. She is very excited to join the OACYC Board of Directors and has been a member for several years.
Rachelle Coleman is a 2006 graduate of the Child & Youth Worker program at Lambton College and has been a member of the OACYC since she was a student. Rachelle loves working with children, youth and their families and has a special interest in empowering the next generation of young leaders in her community. She has worked in many different areas of Child and Youth Care including the non-profit sector, community-based programs, residential services, youth justice, youth employment, individual and in-home counselling as well as the education sector. Rachelle currently works full-time as the Executive Director of the Northwest London Resource Centre, supporting children, youth and their families and is a part-time Faculty in the Child and Youth Care program at Lambton College. In addition to her work in the field, she is currently working towards her Masters of Education. She is excited to join the OACYC Board of Directors, building a stronger connection to the London community and assisting with promotion of membership.
Aurrora De Monte graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor’s in Child and Youth Care and a minor in Indigenous Studies in 2008 and has been a member of the OACYC since moving back to Ontario. Aurrora’s practice has involved a variety of community and school based programs/agencies. Currently, Aurrora is full time faculty in the Child and Youth Care program at Fleming College, and supports young women and families involved in the justice system, as well as works as an independent practitioner within a private practice. Aurrora is completing her MSc in Child and Youth Care Studies at the University of Strathclyde and their dissertation explores relational teaching in Child and Youth Care. Aurrora is passionate about advocacy as it relates to Child and Youth Care practice, including legislation and professionalization.
Patrick is a graduate of George Brown College in Toronto, where he completed his diploma in Child and Youth Care. In addition, Patrick holds a BA degree in Child and Youth Care, obtained through Ryerson University. It is both these academic attainments, and passion that have allowed him to utilize skills in an education setting, within the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). While employed by the Board, Patrick has worked in a variety of school-based program, supporting children and youth with varying degreases of abilities, and diagnosis. A common thread throughout his professional practice has been a collaborative, strength based approach, aimed at supporting and priming clients for success both within, and outside of school. A further professional pursuit has allowed Patrick the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals in supporting those diagnosed with Autism, as a centrally assigned member of a professional team within the TDSB. Currently working in Attendance Services, Patrick holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work, obtained through the Windsor University. Patrick hopes to augment the profession through active involvement in legislative initiatives, focusing on better serving the most vulnerable.
Sarah has worked in the Education field for 25 years. She has been a CYW in the Secondary and Elementary panels as well as Intensive Behavioural Programs and Section 23 classes. Currently, she is the school-based Child and Youth Worker for the WRDSB where she is also the head coach for the senior boys’ volleyball program. She has taught Non-Violence Intervention and Behavioural Management Systems to board employees for over 12 years and has a private counselling practice. She has just completed her Addictions and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy certificate programs through the Faculty of Social Work at Laurier. Sarah's background as an executive member with the Educational Assistants Association for the WRDSB, which included the roles of CYW Rep and Second Vice-President, will hopefully assist her as she transitions into a new position with the OACYC. While in school, Sarah was a varsity volleyball player and then went on to play on the beach volleyball circuit. She now coaches for an elite volleyball club in KW and provides team psychology support with various age groups as well as individual-athlete counselling. She is a busy mom of two teenage daughters: a volleyball player and a hockey goalie. She is looking forward to being an integral part
of the OACYC and helping to promote and highlight the role of the CYWs.
Lasburn Gordon completed the Child and Youth Worker diploma program in 1997. Prior to that, Lasburn spent some time in the Caribbean completing a Certificate in Counselling and in 2009 completed the CYC program at Ryerson. Lasburn has used his acquired knowledge to work in Group homes, Hospitals, Day treatment programs, Foster Care, Education and as an Adjunct professor. Lasburn currently works with the Caring and Safe Schools department within Toronto District School Board. Lasburn’s passion in the field is to develop quantitative evidence-based measures that give credence to work being done within the field. Lasburn has a desire to see the OACYC increase its relevancy to CYC’s across Ontario. However, in order to do so, he understands that this effort requires an insistent and tenacious push towards Legislation. Likewise, Lasburn would like to see a deliberate effort to have various individuals from diverse communities involved in the process of steering the OACYC into its next chapter.
Shai Loyie graduated from Confederation College with her Advanced Diploma in Child and Youth Work in 2017, and is presently furthering her education in the Honours Bachelor Degree in Indigenous Learning at Lakehead University. Shai is a proud Anishinaabe Kwe (Ojibwe Woman) born and raised in North Western Ontario, originally from Rainy River First Nation, was raised on Couchiching First Nation and attended school and grew up in the community of Fort Frances, Ontario. Shai moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario in 2014 and has lived there ever since, falling in love with the CYC field and with the community. She is currently employed with Children’s Centre Thunder Bay working within an intensive assessment and treatment residential program, assisting with the weekly Oshkiniikidjig Miikanens (O.M) cultural group with Indigenous youth, as well as assisting The New Mentality adult ally with weekly groups and programs. Shai has a strong passion in her advocacy efforts for the mental health and well being of Indigenous peoples and young people. She has dreams and ambitions to receive her Masters Degree in Child and Youth Care, and eventually finishing with her Law Degree. Shai is honoured and excited to bring an Indigenous woman’s voice to the OACYC Board of Directors.
Krysteli Needham has been working in the field of Child and Youth Care for 10 years in the Ottawa area and has been a member of the OACYC since 2012. She received her Child and Youth Work Diploma from Algonquin College, before obtaining her Bachelor of Social Work from Carleton University. Krysteli further studied Play Therapy through the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy and is working on completing certification as a Play Therapy Associate. She is currently working on her Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology. She works for Stepping Stones Foster Care which operates in the Ottawa region, where she oversees the work completed by the CYC’s of the agency and provides clinical consultation. Krysteli is the practicum supervisor for Stepping Stones and has supervised over 25 students from local Colleges and Universities as they complete their practicum placements. She is passionate about the work completed by CYC’s and is excited to join the Board of Directors.
Catlin Thorn has been a dedicated Child and Youth Care Practitioner for nearly 12 years. He received his Child and Youth Worker Diploma from Centennial College, before moving on to Ryerson University where he obtained a B.A. in Child and Youth Care with a minor in Family Supports and Community Practice. Catlin is currently in the process of furthering his education. He is in his final year of the Interdisciplinary Studies in Education M.Ed. program at the University of Calgary, where he is specializing in Supporting and Enhancing Children’s Mental Health. He is currently employed by the Toronto District School Board, working with students in an inner-city high school to support their overall mental and emotional wellness. He has had the opportunity to work as a frontline professional in various clinical, residential, and educational programs and he remains passionate about improving the quality and standards of care for young people in this province. Catlin’s passion for supporting young people leads him to continually advocate for professional legislation of the Child and Youth Care field. Away from his practice as a Child and Youth Care professional, Catlin likes to get away to the cottage and spend time outdoors. He is also a huge music fanatic; in his free time, Catlin enjoys attending live shows and collecting vinyl records.
Rebecca Ward (Bernst) graduated from Malaspina University College (Now VIU) with her Bachelors degree in CYC in 1999, and in 2005 from the University of Victoria, with her Masters degree in CYC. Prior to finding her passion in teaching, she worked as a CYC professional (frontline, management and training) for 20 years. Her experience is rich and varied and includes exposure to most service sectors (Addictions, Mental Health, Youth Justice, School-Based, Early Intervention, and Child Protection) in her quest to support children and families in finding the resources they need to reach their potential. Her area of interest has been in assisting youth and students in celebrating their sense of resilience, strengths and solutions in attempt to uncover their true sense of self. She has taught in the CYC department for Ryerson since 2006, and since, 2007, fulltime with Confederation College. As an OACYC board member, Rebecca is passionate about enhancing the professionalization of Child and Youth Care through research, certification and legislation processes, and is super stoked about bringing a northern voice to the table.
Are you interested in joining the board of directors of the OACYC? Please send us an email to express your interest or give us a call to find out about the activities of our board.