President – Michelle Shelswell
Michelle Shelswell 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.
Vice President – Theresa Fraser
Theresa Fraser graduated from Humber College's CCW program in 1983. For over thirty years she has worked in most CYC practice milieus including Justice, Residential, Community and Education. Theresa and her husband have been treatment foster parents for over 25 years. She has continued her education with a Diploma in General SW from the University of Waterloo, B.A, Certificate Child Abuse Awareness, Life Skills Coach Certificate, Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology and Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy Certificate to obtain certification as a Child Psychotherapist Play Therapist. Theresa has published two books and many book chapters and is an international presenter on topics related to the Neurobiology of Trauma, Play Therapy, Resiliency, supervision and foster care. She was named the 2008 National Institute for Trauma and Loss Clinical Specialist of the Year. Theresa is the current president of CACPT and a full time Professor At Sheridan College (half time in the CYW program and half time as a Teaching and Learning Consultant for the Centre for Teaching and Learning). Theresa is excited to be on the OACYC board as we move to National Accreditation for CYC Practitioners and Provincial Certification for our OACYC Members.
Secretary – Mardi Ennis-Gregory
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.
Treasurer – Rachelle Coleman
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.
Board Member – Jennifer Foster
Jennifer Foster is a returning OACYC Board Member. She is a graduate of Humber College and Ryerson University Child and Youth Care Programs. With over 23 years of experience, she has held a number of positions in the field including child welfare, CYC college faculty and as an owner/operator of a residential group home in Alliston, ON. Jennifer is also a long standing member of the OACYC and with the Board of Directors, acting as Chair of the Residential Care Committee (2006 – 2009) and Executive Director from 2009-2012. Jennifer was part of a MCYS team that established residential care staffing standards in 2009 that continue to be used as a fundamental goal in which the profession strives for. Jennifer remains passionate about the field of Child and Youth Care, believing that it remains an unequivocally important, unique and extremely specialized area of human services where all CYC’s deserve legislative recognition in order to provide services in which children, youth and families thrive!
Board Member – Catlin Thorn
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.
Board Member – Rebecca Ward
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.
Board Member – Aurrora De Monte
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 CYC practice, including legislation and professionalization.
Board Member – Krysteli Needham
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.
Board Member – Lasburn Gordon
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.
Board Member/Past President - Christine Gaitens
Christine Gaitens has been working in the field of Child and Youth Care for 27 years in both Ottawa and Toronto. She has been a member of the OACYC for over 10 years and joined the Board of Directors in 2012. Christine is a graduate of the Child and Youth Worker program at Algonquin College (1991) and the Child and Youth Care program at Ryerson University (2005). She has worked in many different sectors and roles including residential care, family preservation services, foster care, child care and the education sector. She has been in leadership roles in residential services and in education. Currently Christine is employed as the Manager of Child and Youth Services at the Toronto District School Board. Christine is a passionate supporter of legislated practice for CYCPs and is interested in connecting the many networks of CYCPs of Ontario to each other, to develop new relationships, to promote our profession and support our own development.