OUR PEOPLE

It takes a group of people who really care.

Message from the President and CEO and Chair, Board of Directors

While Canada remains one of the world’s most prosperous nations, almost 67,000 of our children are living in foster or group homes as a result of the abuse, neglect, and insurmountable poverty. Several hundred thousand more are living with their families in unstable homes while under the watch of child protection services. Those who have become Crown wards often require significant assistance transitioning to independent living, as they’re financially and emotionally alone at just 18 or 19 years of age.

Many other complex issues exist for these young people. While our funding reached thousands of vulnerable kids across Canada this past year, there is still a huge gap to fill. The lingering effects of trauma are very real and can continue to negatively impact their lives; approximately 82% have been diagnosed with special needs that include physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and social challenges. With little support from their families, the odds are stacked against them, and, sadly, many will drop out of high school, abuse substances, become involved with prostitution and gangs, end up pregnant at a young age, or become incarcerated or homeless.

Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is dedicated to funding enriching, educational, preventative, and healing and recovery programs that encourage these kids to build their self-esteem and realize their full potential. With our $60-million National Campaign for Child Welfare, the Foundation is dedicated to expanding its reach and providing increased resources in the areas of health and well-being, education, crisis and permanence, identity, inclusion, and equity, and support while leaving care.

Truly, we would not be in the position we are today without those who believe in and support our work. Together, we will continue to build a brighter future for our nation’s most vulnerable young people.

Valerie McMurtry - President and CEO

Valerie McMurtry
President and CEO

Barry Hildred - Chair, Board of Directors

Barry Hildred
Chair, Board of Directors

Gordon Raman - Vice Chair/Secretary

Gordon G. Raman
Vice Chair/Secretary
Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Lynn Factor - Past Chair

Lynn Factor, O.Ont, BAASS, MSW, LLD
Past Chair
Child Witness Advocate, Boost Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention

Lynn Belzberg

Lynn Belzberg
Corporate Director
Social Worker

Bill Butt

Bill Butt
Campaign Co-Chair
Corporate Director

Andrew Dunn

Andrew W. Dunn, FCPA
Treasurer
Founder & Managing Partner, Canadian Shield Capital

Christian Exshaw

Christian Exshaw
Managing Director and Head, Capital Markets and Trading, Wholesale Banking, CIBC

Charyl Galpin

Charyl Galpin, FICB, ICD.D
Executive Vice President & Managing Director Head Private Client Division,
BMO Nesbitt Burns

Brian Gluckstien

Brian Gluckstein
Principal Interior Designer,
Gluckstein Design

Pruyn Haskins

Pruyn Haskins
Managing Director, Co-Head of Global Equity and Advisory, The Bank of Nova Scotia

Jason Henderson

Jason Henderson
Executive Vice President Head of Global Banking and Markets,
HSBC Bank Canada

Dougal Macdonald

Dougal Macdonald
Campaign Co-Chair
President & Managing Director-Investment Banking Division, Morgan Stanley Canada Ltd.

Shannon McGinnis

Shannon McGinnis
Senior Vice President, Retail Risk Management, TD Bank Group

Victoria Pelletier

Victoria Pelletier
CEO,
ValidateIT Technologies

Jenny Poulos

Jenny Poulos
Senior Vice President Human Resources Personal and Global Recruitment
RBC Royal Bank of Canada

Sandra Roberts

Sandra Roberts, CRMA
Partner,
PwC Canada, Risk Assurance Public Sector/Healthcare

Donna Toth

Donna E. Toth
Corporate Director

Andrea Weissman-Daniels

Andrea Weissman-Daniels
Co-Founder IGNITE THE SPARK FUND

Bill Butt, Co-Chair
Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Co-Chair
Dougal Macdonald, Co-Chair

Eric Bélanger
Ted Boyd
Scott Burrows
Joseph C. Canavan
Mark Daniels
Andrew W. Dunn, FCA
Christian Exshaw
Lynn Factor
Richard D. Falconer
Brian Gluckstein
Jason Henderson
Barry Hildred
Peter Rawlins
Stephen L. Sandler
John Sherrington
Donna E. Toth
Andrea Weissman-Daniels

Founded in 2013, the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Young People’s Advisory Council (YPAC) shares their lived and professional expertise, wisdom and experiences to guide us on how to best serve Canada’s young people involved in child welfare and represents the Foundation in the community. We are grateful to all members throughout the years for lighting the way forward.

Tolumade Atkinson

ToluTolu was born in London, England but was raised in Vancouver, Canada for most of his life. He recently moved to Toronto two years ago to change his environment and, in doing so, discovered his true passions: health and business. He enrolled in a college program studying anatomy and business for fitness and health, becoming the second person in his family to graduate from college. In 2016 Tolu attended the Children’s Aid Foundation’s five14 Talks in celebration of Ontario’s Children and Youth in Care Day where he met a YPAC member who highly recommended he apply to join the council.

High school was a difficult time for Tolu. He and his single mother, who tried her best, moved between homeless shelters. Due to increasing conflict at home, he was eventually taken away and thrown into foster care where he also faced bullying. He searched for every quick fix until he realized the pain was within him. During this difficult time, his foster parents encouraged him to express himself though fitness, enrolling in mix martial arts. He began to flourish like a flower from concrete. Living a healthy lifestyle became his outlet, his source of healing and happiness.

Tolu’s ultimate goal is to develop a company specializing in men’s health worldwide, from nutrition, skincare, fitness, fashion, giving personal advice and giving back to the community. Another bucket-list goal is to deliver a TED Talk, inspiring others with his journey to self-care and entrepreneurship.

Alisha Brooks

AlishaBiography to come

Troy Elleston

TroyBiography to come

Brittany Herbold

BrittanyBiography to come

Anna Amy Ho

AnnaImmigrating to Canada at a young age, Anna’s childhood has been marked by change, instability and abuse. On the day of her grade eight graduation, she witnessed the murder of her mother and grandmother at the hands of her mother’s abusive common-law partner. Orphaned at 13, she moved between kinship homes before transitioning to independent living at age 16. Without family she could rely on and without stability, she turned to the arts. Dance and musical theatre became her safe haven and sense of identity.

Anna is now an aerialist, crisis counsellor/case coordinator, and an outspoken public speaker/advocate for youth touched by the child welfare system. In addition to being a YPAC member, she is a Board Executive for Ryerson Radio Inc. and an advisor to the CAS Investigations Unit with the Provincial Advocate’s Office. In 2015, along with graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Social Work degree, she received the Attorney General’s Victim Services Award of Distinction in recognition of her service to victims of crime and vulnerable youth.

Despite childhood trauma that completely altered her life, Anna’s resilience has resulted in determination and resilience that leads her to succeed in the face of adversity. One day, Anna hopes to use dance movement therapy in trauma treatment and create a therapeutic arts center where people can access arts-based forms of psychotherapy.

Christina Li

ChristinaChristina came into care when she was eleven years old. A survivor of sexual abuse, she struggled to fit in and overcome her hardships. But 15 years later, she stands before you a strong and independent woman. Christina has chosen a career in nursing so that she can help and make a difference one life at a time.

Passionate about empowering youth to realize and reach their full potential, Christina believes anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it. Knowledge is power, and that power will allow you to achieve your goals and dreams. It’s so important for youth to pursue an education so they can get the jobs they want in life.

Christina is excited to be involved with YPAC to give back to the community and to help be part of the process of making change and taking action toward the issues that young people in the child welfare system face.

Erine Roberts

ErineBiography to come

Breanna Ryan

BreannaBiography to come

Samidha Singhal

Samidha-webBiography to come

Eli Shour

EliBiography to come

Reshma Shiwcharran

Reshma-webBiography to come

Riley Spence

RileyRiley is in her 3rd year of an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Development Studies, with a specialization in Social Work at the University of Waterloo, and plans to complete the Masters of Social Work at Western University.

Riley was in and out of foster care from the age of seven until becoming a crown ward at 14 due to enduring physical and emotional abuse as well as severe neglect and abandonment prior to becoming a crown ward.

Horses and their therapeutic effects have been a huge and healing part of her life. Riley currently teaches horseback riding lessons and offers therapeutic horseback riding to clients on her foster family’s farm.

A recipient of the Dr. Steinhauer scholarship through the Children’s Aid Foundation, Riley has joined YPAC because she wants to use her experiences in care to help as many current and former youth in care that she can. Riley is committed to making a positive difference and does not want to wait until she’s in her career to do so.

Ultimately, Riley would like to work as an Equine Facilitated Psychotherapist for youth in care working with horses as a co-facilitator to the therapy and healing process, with a focus on attachment, self-compassion and the work of Dr. Brene Brown, Dr. Kristin Neff and Dr. Gordon Neufield.

Young People’s Advisory Council members serve 2-year terms, and during that time have a significant impact on our work at the Foundation and the child welfare sector. When terms end, every member’s contributions live on, and so our alumni remain Honorary YPAC Members.

2016-2017

Tolumade Atkinson
Alisha Brooks
Crystal Groves
Brittany Herbold
Anna Amy Ho
Christina Li
Shyanne Nichols
Shameer Rahman
Melissa Sayers
Riley Spence
Jemal Thompson

2015-2016

Michele Farrugia
Jemmy Felix
Kristy Graves
Crystal Groves
Wendy Hayes
Shyanne Nichols
Shameer Rahman
Maya Ramchandani
Cheyanne Ratnam
Melissa Sayers
Jemal Thompson

2014-2015

Michele Farrugia
Jemmy Felix
Kristy Graves
Wendy Hayes
Tamia Kerem
Shameer Rahman
Maya Ramchandani
Cheyanne Ratnam
David Rutherford
Jemal Thompson

2013-2014 (Founding Members)

Michele Farrugia
Jemmy Felix
Kristy Graves
Wendy Hayes
Tamia Kerem
Noah Negash
Nana Quainoo
Cheyanne Ratnam
David Rutherford
Yuan Barnes

brittany