Since 1989, Kids Help Phone (KHP) has been a place where generations of young people can Feel Out Loud about any issue, big or small. With leadership, grit and courage of individuals, teams and councils from coast to coast to coast, KHP is Canada’s only free, 24/7, multilingual and confidential e-mental health care service offering youth support through phone, text and online resources.

Our team

Photograph of Katherine Hay, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone

Katherine Hay

President & CEO

Katherine Hay

President & CEO

As President and CEO of Kids Help Phone, Katherine (Kathy) Hay drives the strategic direction, innovation imperative and culture of Canada’s only national, 24/7 bilingual e-mental health service for young people. In 2020, Kids Help Phone’s team of counsellors and crisis responders made over 4.6 million connections with youth in every province and territory — with an ever-growing mandate to always be there for youth when, where and how they need mental health support.

Read more about Katherine Hay

Photograph of Alisa Simon, Executive Vice President, E-mental Health Strategy and Chief Youth Officer of Kids Help Phone

Alisa Simon

Executive Vice President, E-mental Health Transformation and Chief Youth Officer

Alisa Simon

Executive Vice President, E-mental Health Transformation and Chief Youth Officer

Alisa Simon brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in health-care access and non-profit management to her role as Executive Vice President, E-mental Health Transformation and Chief Youth Officer at Kids Help Phone. As a champion of innovation, Alisa is integral to the organization’s development of virtual health solutions for youth. Using comprehensive data and research, Alisa drives improvements in e-mental health services and strategies that respond to evolving technologies and the changing needs of young people. Under Alisa’s leadership, Kids Help Phone has evolved from a phone-based helpline to a comprehensive solution that fully integrates a growing number of access points, programs and resources. In her role, Alisa oversees Kids Help Phone’s 24/7 clinical services as well as the organization’s knowledge translation, quality assurance and equity programs.

Alisa holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 and was named the Digital Health Canada 2021 Digital Health Executive of the Year. Alisa volunteers on many national boards and committees.

In her spare time, Alisa enjoys being a mom and travelling the world with her husband.

Portrait of Justin Scaini

Justin Scaini

Executive Vice President, Culture and Chief Strategy Officer

Justin Scaini

Executive Vice President, Culture and Chief Strategy Officer

Justin Scaini brings extensive consulting, financial services and health care experience to Kids Help Phone as the Executive Vice President, Culture and Chief Strategy Officer. He joined the organization in 2021 and supports young people across Canada by leading the design and coordinated implementation of Kids Help Phone’s strategic portfolio of projects and initiatives.

Justin holds a Bachelor of Science, Honours from Queen’s University and a Master of Health Science in Health Administration from the University of Toronto. Justin started his career as a management consultant at Accenture. He then made the leap into health services where he designed and led Capitalize for Kids’ pro-bono consulting program. This enabled him to help 30+ mental health organizations and government partners build capacity. Most recently, Justin was a senior strategy consultant at Mackenzie Health, supporting the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic and the opening of the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital.

Outside of work, Justin was the founder of the Jack Summit and is currently the chair of the board for Progress Place. In his spare time, Justin has a passion for camping, photography, golf and reading non-fiction.

Aaron Sanderson

Senior Vice President, Advancement and Chief Development Officer

Aaron Sanderson

Senior Vice President, Advancement and Chief Development Officer

Aaron Sanderson leads Kids Help Phone’s fundraising efforts, and, in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Community Officer, is the senior liaison to the organization’s community of generous supporters. Aaron joined Kids Help Phone in 2020.

Aaron is an international award-winning fundraiser with over 13 years of experience at leading non-profit organizations, including BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Plan International Canada, SickKids Foundation and War Child. In addition, he has over a decade of senior volunteer experience with non-profit boards and committees, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Athletics Ontario, The Arthritis Society, Habitat for Humanity GTA, Heritage Toronto and the University of British Columbia.

Aaron also holds a Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Development, an Associates Certificate in Non-Profit Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations. He is the 11th Canadian to be awarded the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) designation, the top credential of the fundraising profession, and was inducted as a Fellow of the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy (FAHP). He was named a Top 40 Under 40 in North America by AHP in 2018, and was named “Difference Maker” by the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Susan Morris

Senior Vice President, Operations and CFO

Susan Morris

Senior Vice President, Operations and CFO

Susan Morris joined Kids Help Phone as head of Finance & Administration in July 1997. Prior to this, she ran her own accounting practice specializing in non-audit reviews, special projects and individual tax returns. She has a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in December 1987. While at Deloitte & Touche, she specialized in small business and not-for-profit.

An active volunteer, Susan served on the Board of Directors of the Jean Tweed Treatment Centre for nine years, participated in volunteer tax clinics, served as an active school volunteer throughout her children’s elementary and secondary school years, and remains a committed Kids Help Phone volunteer. She enjoys gardening, long walks and, travelling. Susan lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she studies piano.

Jenny Yuen

Senior Vice President, National Partnerships & Government Relations

Jenny Yuen

Senior Vice President, National Partnerships & Government Relations

Jenny Yuen is the Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Government Relations at Kids Help Phone. Responsible for an enterprise-wide partnership strategy to enable KHP’s bold strategic directions, Jenny’s leadership is transforming how young people seek and engage with mental health services and programs from coast to coast to coast.

With specialized expertise in signature event fundraising strategies and execution, Jenny has spearheaded the top fundraising events for two of Canada’s leading charities — the Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation and Kids Help Phone. Her success in community engagement translated into her leadership of KHP’s corporate and government portfolios, which she evolved into an integrated partnership strategy that engages stakeholders to expand their impact at community-based and national levels.

Jenny brings a multidisciplinary approach that includes partnerships, philanthropy, corporate and community engagement, sponsorship, volunteer leadership development and establishing systems to implement cross-functional programs, among others. Having held leadership positions that have both regional and national oversight, Jenny has developed experience in planning centrally and implementing locally — developing a team-centred, objectives based approach and bringing synergies to stakeholders.

Jenny is a proud mom of two not-so-little humans who fuel her commitment to evolving the community in which we raise our kids and continue to adapt with them.

Photo of Rebecca Stutley

Rebecca Stutley

Senior Vice President, Brand, Storytelling and Communications

Rebecca Stutley

Senior Vice President, Brand, Storytelling and Communications

Rebecca Stutley is the Senior Vice President, Brand, Storytelling and Communications at Kids Help Phone. She joined the organization in 2018.

For over 20 years, Rebecca has honed her craft in agencies and as a client across a range of categories and brands from homegrown to global. She has a proven track record of building emotionally relevant and resonant creative platforms that people connect with and respond to. Her contributions have led to award-winning work for brands such as TD and IKEA, and most recently for Kids Help Phone.

At KHP, Rebecca leads a cross-functional team of storytellers who develop and deploy service outreach strategies, revenue generating campaigns, internal and strategic communications, immersive and empowering content and personalized recognition of generous donors from coast to coast to coast.

As a passionate collaborator, Rebecca spearheaded Kids Help Phone’s brand transformation in 2022. KHP’s new identity and creative platform reflect the organization as a space where young people can feel safer and more secure to free themselves from all the feelings that weigh them down (and even lift them up!).

As a mother to two sons, Rebecca is personally driven to enrich the lives of all youth in Canada by normalizing conversations about mental health and destigmatizing help-seeking behaviours. As a marketer, she’s humbled by the opportunity to make meaningful social impact through such a beloved and important brand.

Photo of Mariana Catz

Mariana Catz

Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer

Mariana Catz

Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer

Mariana Catz is the Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Kids Help Phone. She’s responsible for leading the intersection of innovation, technology, data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) at Kids Help Phone to help revolutionize the e-mental health landscape for youth across Canada. She started her journey with the organization in 2023 (and has been a fan for many years!).

Over the course of two decades, Mariana has been a driving force behind change, innovation, and strategic positioning, cultivating excellence in organizations through the introduction of disruptive technology and the implementation of impact measurement strategies. She holds a master’s degree in Health Science from the University of Toronto and is Adjunct Faculty at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Mariana’s extensive experience includes leadership roles across the non-profit, public and private sectors in Canada and beyond. She served as Policy Advisor at the Ontario Health Ministry, Chief Information Officer at Academic Health Centers and Chief Advisor for eHealth at Health Canada. As Chief Operating Officer at the Ontario Trillium Foundation, she engineered the shift to becoming an outcomes-based funding organization, transforming people, processes and technology. Mariana also brings her international experience at the World Health Organization in Geneva and as a partner at Accenture Inc. to Kids Help Phone.

Mariana is passionate about mentoring the next generation of leaders and giving back to community with a long history of volunteering and being a board member for charities. Originally from Argentina, Mariana — who came to Canada as a teen fleeing a military regime — is passionate about social justice, human rights and equity.

Photo credit: Ethan Catz

Juanita Gledhill

Leadership Development Facilitator and Strategic Advisor

Juanita Gledhill

Leadership Development Facilitator and Strategic Advisor

Juanita Gledhill is an award winning Human Resources (HR) professional who’s provided public, private and broader public sector organizations with strategic and operational business solutions to improve organizational effectiveness. As Principal of MCC Group Inc., Juanita has worked with many clients on projects related to varying HR and general operating functions. Juanita brought her skills and experience to Kids Help Phone as an HR consultant in 2018, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer in 2020 and Leadership Development Facilitator and Strategic Advisor in 2023.

Juanita holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from McMaster University and a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Mohawk College. She also holds both a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) and Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation. Juanita is the recipient of many awards and honours, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service and the Ross A. Hennigar Memorial Award from the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) for her academic, career and community service achievements.

Juanita’s community volunteerism includes, but is not limited to, her roles as past Chair of the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA (HBSPCA) and Board Member of the Healthcare and Municipal Employees’ Credit Union (HMECU).

Andréanne Deschamps

Vice President, Clinical Operations and Chief Clinical Officer

Andréanne Deschamps

Vice President, Clinical Operations and Chief Clinical Officer

Andréanne Deschamps, Vice President, Clinical Operations and Chief Clinical Officer, brings more than 10 years of combined experience in counselling and youth support program management and development to Kids Help Phone. In her role, she oversees service and youth mobilization programs such as Resources Around Me, Counsellor in the Classroom, Good2Talk and the National Youth Council (NYC). She also brings leadership to services for the organization’s focus communities through Kids Help Phone’s Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs. She’s also responsible for the clinical training and quality assurance of counselling services.

Andréanne has dedicated her career to leveraging her passion for mental health support and skills to advance young people’s rights to autonomy and self-determination in help seeking and receiving support. Holding a master’s degree in clinical sexology, Andréanne uses her experience in providing counselling and therapy to young people and adults in service program design and development.

Andréanne has also been involved in the development of several youth mental health and wellness services and projects such as Live Chat counselling, resource development and more. She has promoted and advocated for the understanding of diverse perspectives in order to achieve positive outcomes while maintaining an open and empathy-driven environment. She has a passion for learning, believes in values-based work and is keen to imagine and action new and improved ways for youth to get the help they need, in the way they need it most.

Darren Mastropaolo

Vice President, Innovation & Data | The Lang Family Foundation Chair in Innovation

Darren Mastropaolo

Vice President, Innovation & Data | The Lang Family Foundation Chair in Innovation

Darren Mastropaolo, our Vice President, Innovation & Data and The Lang Family Foundation Chair in Innovation, joined Kids Help Phone in 2020. Darren’s portfolio includes both innovating within Kids Help Phone’s existing services, as well as strategy and implementation of new services. He works with our advancement team to raise funds for our innovation pipeline and also manages our data team to help us continuously enhance our service offerings for young people across Canada.

Darren holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Bucknell University. Over the past 10+ years, Darren’s career focused on innovations that support young people. He began his professional journey in New York City, working on digital products in entertainment, publishing and education. He left the corporate world to feed his soul and joined DoSomething.org, and later, Crisis Text Line. As the former Director of International at Crisis Text Line, Darren worked in partnership with Kids Help Phone for three years. At Crisis Text Line, Darren found his passion for mental health and helped bring Kids Help Phone’s texting service to fruition in Canada in 2018. Outside of work, Darren stays active with tennis, golf, skiing and surfing. He practices self-care by being outside in his garden, travelling, writing music, fly-fishing and spending time with his partner and their dog.

Photo of Allison Riva

Allison Riva

Vice President, Youth Marketing and The Story Studio

Allison Riva

Vice President, Youth Marketing and The Story Studio

Allison Riva combines storytelling, innovation and human insight to reach and support people in Canada as the Vice President, Youth Marketing and The Story Studio at Kids Help Phone. She joined the organization in 2019 as a creative, adaptable and empathetic leader. Allison has since encouraged Kids Help Phone to turn a page by transforming our mental health library into The Story Studio — a powerful house of immersive, interactive digital experiences anchored by technology. Allison champions the organization’s brand voice and draws on her curiosity about human behaviour to open doors to trusted support for young people and the adults who care about them.

Allison’s narrative includes a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto and certifications in publishing and leadership. During her 20 years in professional services marketing, communications and content, Allison has made her mark through integrated strategies and a consultative style. This mix of skills allows her to create genuine connections that drive results, including empowering people to navigate each chapter of their wellness journey. She strives to amplify vibrant voices, particularly those from equity-deserving groups, by collaborating with trusted partners with heart.

Allison is a proud mom to her young daughter who she describes as the light of her life. She loves to travel, laugh, dance and share her ideas for interesting new inventions.

Portrait of Winnette Sampson by Kevin Van Paassen

Winnette Sampson

Interim Vice President, Philanthropy and Community Partnerships

Winnette Sampson

Interim Vice President, Philanthropy and Community Partnerships

Winnette Sampson is the Interim Vice President, Philanthropy and Community Partnerships. She joined Kids Help Phone in 2022. Winnette supports the organization in preserving and unlocking philanthropic opportunities for young people across Canada.

Winnette has over 16 years of expertise in establishing strategic corporate partnership programs, fundraising initiatives and marketing campaigns to drive new and sustained investment from donors. She hopes to build upon Kids Help Phone’s previous successes by deepening relationships and developing philanthropic opportunities with new and existing partners.

Born and raised in Trinidad, Winnette now calls the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home. Here, she indulges in books, music, travel and food in order to find joy and celebrate with her loved ones.

Photo credit: Kevin Van Paassen

Stephanie Vasiliou

Executive Director, Equity, Programs and Innovation Implementation

Stephanie Vasiliou

Executive Director, Equity, Programs and Innovation Implementation

Stephanie Vasiliou is the Executive Director, Equity, Programs and Innovation Implementation at Kids Help Phone.

She came to Kids Help Phone in 2023 from the non-profit organization, batyr Australia. In her role as Head of Global Impact, Stephanie led the integration of impact, research, advocacy and global partnerships into the organization, advancing best-practice approaches for lived-experience storytelling and peer models for youth. Previously as batyr’s Head of Programs, Stephanie scaled digital and in-person lived-experience programs in schools, post-secondary institutions and communities with a focus on stigma reduction and improving access to support for youth.

Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Criminology and Criminal Justice with a concentration in Psychology, and a post-graduate certificate in Forensic Practice. She was a speaker at several international conferences in Australia, the U.S., South Africa, Denmark, the U.K. and Brunei. She’s the Co-Chair for the Child and Youth Working Group of the Global Mental Health Action Network, leading 900 global members working in mental health. As Board Director for the U.K.-based charity It Gets Brighter, and member of the Global Anti-Stigma Alliance and NEXUS Global, Stephanie is passionate about fostering knowledge sharing opportunities to elevate youth voices.

After residing in Australia for 10 years, Stephanie is enjoying reacquainting herself with Canada and navigating winters once again.

Photo of Sandra Chiodo

Sandra Chiodo

Executive Director, People and Culture

Sandra Chiodo

Executive Director, People and Culture

Sandra Chiodo joined Kids Help Phone in 2023 as the Executive Director, People and Culture. For more than 25 years, Sandra has worked in the Human Resources (HR) field in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Sandra has dedicated her career to organizations that help make a positive impact in their communities and focus on the well-being of young people. She joins us from the child welfare sector, where she has spent most of her professional life.

Sandra has broad experience in strategic HR management. Her experience includes the development of various strategies to enhance employee engagement and organizational performance as well as leveraging technology-based solutions to improve efficiencies. Sandra also brings a wealth of expertise in labour relations, having served as the lead negotiator in numerous successful collective bargaining sessions. Her core objective is fostering a people-centered culture that promotes strong connections, inclusivity and well-being.

Sandra holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Toronto and a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Sheridan College. She also holds both a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) and Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation. She’s an active member of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) and serves as a member of the HRPA’s Appeals Committee. Outside her professional life, Sandra is a proud mom to two daughters. She loves to travel, read and spend time outdoors.

Photo of Tracy Sandler

Tracy Sandler

Partner, Insolvency & Restructuring, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP Chair

Tracy Sandler

Partner, Insolvency & Restructuring, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP Chair
Photo of Mike Davis

Mike Davis

CEO, Davis Pier Consulting Vice Chair

Mike Davis

CEO, Davis Pier Consulting Vice Chair
Photo of Claire Gillies

Claire Gillies

Co-Chair, Feel Out Loud Campaign Cabinet Vice Chair

Claire Gillies

Co-Chair, Feel Out Loud Campaign Cabinet Vice Chair
Photo of Paul Griffith

Paul Griffith

CEO, Over The Edge Secretary

Paul Griffith

CEO, Over The Edge Secretary
Photo of Neil Manji

Neil Manji

National Energy, Utilities, Mining and Industrial Products Leader, PwC Canada Treasurer

Neil Manji

National Energy, Utilities, Mining and Industrial Products Leader, PwC Canada Treasurer
Photo of Brian Ross

Brian Ross

CEO, Jackman Reinvents Past Chair

Brian Ross

CEO, Jackman Reinvents Past Chair
Mark Cecchetto

Mark Cecchetto

Business Executive Officer, Confectionary, Nestlé Canada

Mark Cecchetto

Business Executive Officer, Confectionary, Nestlé Canada
Tonie Chaltas

Tonie Chaltas

CEO, Achēv

Tonie Chaltas

CEO, Achēv
Photo of Tony Cugliari

Tony Cugliari

VP & General Counsel, Lactalis Canada

Tony Cugliari

VP & General Counsel, Lactalis Canada
Photo of Mary Deacon

Mary Deacon

Chair, Bell Let’s Talk Mental Health Initiative

Mary Deacon

Chair, Bell Let’s Talk Mental Health Initiative
Photo of Lianne Hannaway

Lianne Hannaway

Founder, Wealthnuvo Financial

Lianne Hannaway

Founder, Wealthnuvo Financial
Photograph of Katherine Hay, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone

Katherine Hay

President & CEO, Kids Help Phone Ex-officio

Katherine Hay

President & CEO, Kids Help Phone Ex-officio
Photo of Gordon Hicks, C.M.

Gordon Hicks, C.M.

CEO, BGIS

Gordon Hicks, C.M.

CEO, BGIS
A photo of David Kines

David Kines

President & Co-founder, Hollywood Suite

David Kines

President & Co-founder, Hollywood Suite
John McNain

John McNain

Chief Operating Officer, North American Personal & Business Banking, BMO

John McNain

Chief Operating Officer, North American Personal & Business Banking, BMO
Doug Nathanson

Doug Nathanson

Executive Vice President, Chief Development Officer and General Counsel, Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc.

Doug Nathanson

Executive Vice President, Chief Development Officer and General Counsel, Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc.
Jennifer Publicover

Jennifer Publicover

CEO of RBC Insurance

Jennifer Publicover

CEO of RBC Insurance
Photo of Laetitia Satam

Laetitia Satam

Co-Chair, Kids Help Phone’s National Youth Council

Laetitia Satam

Co-Chair, Kids Help Phone’s National Youth Council
Carole Shankaruk

Carole Shankaruk

Indigenous Education Coordinator, Mountain View School Division

Carole Shankaruk

Indigenous Education Coordinator, Mountain View School Division
Charmaine C. Williams

Charmaine C. Williams

Dean, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto

Charmaine C. Williams

Dean, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto

These courageous young people are supporting youth and their mental health and well-being across Canada as members of the 2024 National Youth Council (NYC) at Kids Help Phone.

Group of young people sitting around a table discussing ideas on how they can be contribute towards improving Kids Help Phone services and initiatives as members of the National Youth Council.
A photo of Anjana Sudharshan

Anjana Sudharshan

she / her

Anjana Sudharshan

she / her

Anjana Sudharshan (she / her) is passionate about collaborating with like-minded individuals to help spread awareness about the importance of mental health and well-being. Her own experiences and work in mental health research led her to joining the NYC to connect with and help other youth, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Anjana is currently studying life sciences at McMaster University, with an interest in public health and science communication. She hopes to continue supporting youth-led mental health initiatives with the NYC to help increase access to and awareness of mental health resources and create safer spaces for youth to express themselves. In her spare time, she enjoys birdwatching and singing.

Breanna Laggo

Breanna Laggo

Breanna Laggo hopes for more, equal and affordable access to care for equity-deserving communities, and that makes them passionate about youth and their mental health and well-being. As a soon-to-be teacher, they want the students in their class to feel like they can be themselves without judgment. They’re a coffee enthusiast, dog lover and enjoy creating art.

A photo of Fazayl Zahra

Fazayl Zahra

she / her

Fazayl Zahra

she / her

When Fazayl Zahra (she / her) became involved in her school’s student council a few years ago, she realized that some of the student population faced barriers to accessing mental health resources in her small, rural community. Ever since, Fazayl has become passionate about advocating for those affected by the disparity in mental health resources across the country. She decided to join the NYC because it was the ideal opportunity for her to try to highlight her community and make an impact on a national level. In addition to her advocacy of equitable mental health, Fazayl is also involved in other health and wellness initiatives, including those related to nutrition and facial differences. A fun fact about Fazayl is that she’s bilingual, being fluent in both English and Urdu. In her spare time, she likes to play basketball, read and spend time with her birds.

Ida Demair

she / her

Ida Demair

she / her

Ida Demair (she / her) is highly passionate about law and criminology as it pertains to youth, homelessness and mental health. Her research and career interests stem from her lived experience with the law and foster care systems as a young person, which remain a motivator for her to support youth who experience adversity within the law, at home and at school. She hopes to go to graduate school for developmental clinical psychology to achieve her goals of supporting kids and teens as a clinical pediatric psychologist. She’s currently a third-year student at the University of Guelph studying psychology with a double minor in neuroscience and family and child studies.  Alongside being a member of the NYC, Ida is a volunteer crisis responder at Kids Help Phone. She also supports other organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Homewood Health Centre, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), SickKids and more. Additionally, she serves as a member of the Youth Advisory Committee at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the Early Lab at the University of Ottawa. She hopes to learn more about youth who face mental health challenges through her research and the NYC. In her spare time, she loves to go to the gym, spend time with her family, watch movies and cook new recipes.

A photo of James Ehiagwina

James Ehiagwina

he / him

James Ehiagwina

he / him

James Ehiagwina (he / him) is deeply committed to bringing about change in his community’s youth mental health landscape. He aspires to be an advocate for change and support for people who are new to Canada and may be experiencing mental health challenges. James has worked as a youth intern for the Newcomer Youth Leadership Development Program at the YMCA and as a member of the Youth Advisory Squad at OneChild. He also hopes to grow as a youth advocate and leader on the NYC. James enjoys reading novels and taking photographs, and is now learning to play the piano in his spare time.

 

 

 

Jorja Cain

she / her

Jorja Cain

she / her

Jorja Cain (she / her) is a Grade 12 African Nova Scotian student raised in North Preston, Nova Scotia. Jorja enjoys travelling, swimming and playing rugby. She’s one of the captains on her school’s rugby team and played for the Keltics U17 Women’s Team, who won gold at the 2023 Atlantic Championships. Jorja is also a member of her school’s student council on the social justice and events committees. In her spare time, she’s a Sunday school teacher, a member of her community church’s Black youth and fellowship choir and volunteer community consultant with Cole Harbour Public Library. This past summer, she participated in the Nia Summit as one of the youth ambassadors and received the Human Rights Commission Youth Award. Jorja became a member of the NYC to share personal experiences from her community to help generate ideas and educate others. Through this work, she hopes to help offer more African Nova Scotians and African, Caribbean and Black youth support to help mitigate any stereotypes related to mental health that they may face.

 

 

A photo of Joshua Chooi

Joshua Chooi

he / him

Joshua Chooi

he / him

Joshua Chooi (he / him) realized the importance of mental well-being in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through his own mental health challenges, it was ultimately the people he connected with and the network of support he formed that helped him the most. Joshua first got involved with Kids Help Phone as a volunteer crisis responder for the organization’s texting service, which has been one of his most rewarding experiences. As a part of the NYC, he enjoys learning and collaborating with like-minded individuals. Currently in university studying psychology, Joshua hopes to get involved in mental health research. In his spare time, he loves playing tennis, drawing, listening to music and spending time with his dogs.

Joshua Clarke

he / they / she

Joshua Clarke

he / they / she

Josh Clarke (he / they / she) is passionate about supporting mental health initiatives in their spare time, along with watching reality TV shows in Canada and reading queer romance books. In the future, they hope to include a culinary approach to mental well-being.

Kade Nolan

she / he / they

Kade Nolan

she / he / they

Kade Nolan (she / he / they) is an Anishinaabe-kwe from Missanabie Cree First Nation, raised in Brampton, Ontario, who travels to Missanabie Cree’s Traditional Land in northern Ontario each summer to participate in Indigenous teachings. Committed to serving her community, she holds the rank of Petty Officer First Class at the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and has experience as a crewmember on a tall ship. She’s a high school student studying in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Program in arts and culture. She’s an artist, painter and illustrator who’s been passionate about creating art since childhood. Her artwork was featured at a 2023 Truth and Reconciliation Ceremony in Brampton, which is now on display at Brampton City Hall. She also showcased her artwork at the PIXEL: Indigenous Art Exhibition, which helped to foster her connection with art and her culture. Navigating mental health challenges and a learning disability has made her very aware of the stigma that can affect many young people. This experience has underscored her goal to advocate for youth and their mental health and well-being. She’s passionate about 2SLGBTQ+ activism and is an active member of the Missanabie Cree First Nation Youth Council, where she dedicates her time to supporting other young people.

A photo of Laetitia Satam

Laetitia Satam

she / her

Laetitia Satam

she / her

Laetitia Satam (she / her) began her mental health advocacy journey when she was 12 years old by volunteering with Kids Help Phone. Today, she’s 20 years old and serves as co-chair on the NYC and co-chair on the Board of Directors at Kids Help Phone. She’s also a member of the Campaign Cabinet at Kids Help Phone. Having lived all across Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, Laetitia is inspired to address inequities that often exist in accessing mental health care services, especially among members of equity-deserving groups and remote communities. As a second-year nutrition student at the University of Alberta, with a minor in global health and a certificate in international learning, she’s passionate about holistic health practices and works as a researcher on a wide variety of nutrition and wellness-related topics.

A photo of Maxine Joly-Chevrier

Maxine Joly-Chevrier

she / her

Maxine Joly-Chevrier

she / her

Maxine is a second-year medical student at the University of Montreal. She has been volunteering with Kids Help Phone as a member of the National Youth Council since 2018. She is passionate about public health, community involvement and disruptive technologies that have the potential of optimizing patient care. Maxine is the founder and president of “Et si on se racontait?” an intergenerational program in partnership with the non-profit Contact Aînés, which aims to connect older adults and youth over the phone. Based on the phone exchanges, an intergenerational book is written, printed and published each year. In her spare time, she enjoys playing sports and she loves outdoor activities.

 

A photo of Might Gouta

Might Gouta

he / him

Might Gouta

he / him

Might Gouta (he / him) is a passionate philosophy student at the University of Toronto. Might is actively engaged with youth organizations and has observed the pressing need for advocacy. As a university rugby player, he understands some of the challenges athletes may face, which motivates him to become a mental health advocate with the hope of empowering others. Might is dedicated to bridging gaps and addressing issues within the athletic community along with many others. His journey in philosophy and theology inspires him to reflect on Scripture, contributing to a more holistic approach in his advocacy work. With a desire to make a difference, he thrives on community engagement and values every opportunity to connect with people. In his spare time, Might enjoys the camaraderie of rugby, community involvement, learning and relaxing.

A photo of Paniz Arbabi

Paniz Arbabi

she / her

Paniz Arbabi

she / her

Having navigated the COVID-19 pandemic as a young person, Paniz Arbabi (she / her) knows personally the toll it has taken on many youth and other demographics. This experience motivates her to help as much as she can, hoping that more and more people can get the support they deserve. Paniz first learned about Kids Help Phone through a poster at her school. She connected with the organization to determine if there were any opportunities to help others and decided to join the NYC. Paniz enjoys art and figure skating in her spare time. She also likes going to the gym and trying new things.

Paula

she / her

Paula

she / her

Paula (she / her) invests in advocacy of inclusive and equitable mental health because of her own personal experiences, and she became very involved with youth initiatives through teaching rock climbing. This led to her continuing passion for youth and their well-being. Her work with young people for around five years as a rock climbing instructor and camp counsellor gave her a more diverse perspective on youth experiences. For her bachelor’s degree, she did a project on inclusivity and figure skating. This, combined with her work experience, led her to join the NYC. In her spare time, she enjoys video game reselling, soccer and scrapbooking.

A photo of Raissa Amany

Raissa Amany

she / her

Raissa Amany

she / her

Raissa Amany (she / her) is pursuing an undergraduate degree in health sciences at the University of Ottawa. Having personal experience with the mental health system in Ontario, Raissa continues to advocate for the improvement of accessibility, equity and youth engagement within the sector. Passionate about systems-level change, she’s the co-executive director of the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health and serves on the Youth Advisory Council with the Knowledge Institute on Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions. Beyond these roles, she also holds various leadership, research and advisory positions within the mental health and pediatric health-care sectors. In her spare time, she enjoys trying new foods, overanalyzing medical shows and curling.

Ray Manji

he / him

Ray Manji

he / him

Ray Manji (he / him) knows that for people who identify as men, there can especially be a stigma around communicating about mental health and seeking support. As someone who identifies as a man, he knows personally how hard it can feel to open up or connect for support, and he strives to help more people feel more comfortable with their emotions, themselves and asking for help. Playing sports throughout his life, he knows that the pressures and expectations of sports can affect one’s mental health. Due to this, he wants to reduce the stigma associated with talking openly about mental health in sports communities. He wants everyone to know you don’t always have to feel “OK,” and that help is available right around the corner. At school, Ray has accepted many leadership roles, such as club executive and student council member, and works toward making his community a better place. He volunteers at his local women’s shelter and is a swim instructor at a nearby university too. In his spare time, Ray enjoys lifting weights, watching soccer and playing video games.

Rick Aiyer

he / him

Rick Aiyer

he / him

Rick Aiyer (he / him / il) is a young person on the move across Canada as well as Europe, East Asia and the Middle East. His travels exposed him to the continuing inequities and barriers in access to mental health services on both a national and global level, particularly among equity-deserving and rural communities. He first began advocating for improved services and destigmatizing mental health care in high school as the student representative on his school’s Board of Governors. He’s continued his advocacy through Kids Help Phone since 2019. A university student studying law, Rick is a “Big Brother” mentor to first-year students, which often involves having conversations about finding a balance between academics and wellness. Outside of school, Rick has recently been involved with a Quebec non-profit organization that supports newcomer and racialized women. He previously served on the National Youth Advisory Committee at the RCMP, where he supported the development of their youth engagement programs. Rick is fluently bilingual in English and French, and functional in Mandarin, Hindi and Tamil. He’s an avid skier and enjoys touring farmers markets in the summer.

Rukshika Krishnamoorthy

she / her

Rukshika Krishnamoorthy

she / her

Rukshika Krishnamoorthy (she / her) is passionate about cultural diversity. She’s observed racism and noted the way it can affect people’s mental health and well-being. She wishes to support people facing racism to help minimize its effects on their mental health and well-being. At school, she’s the president of a cultural club, Zaga-Gon Cultural, which shines light upon diversity and makes space for people to celebrate their cultures. Rukshika’s hobbies include dancing, painting and reading. She also dances a cultural dance called Bharatanatyam and loves to put on mini shows with her siblings.

Sanjeevani Kumar

she / her

Sanjeevani Kumar

she / her

Sanjeevani Kumar (she / her) is passionate about mental and emotional well-being because of her own mental health challenges and wants to be able to give back and support other youth. She wants young people to be a part of the conversation when it comes to making services for them. Sanjeevani’s work on the Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee (OYEC) and many other youth initiatives led her to being a part of the NYC. Sanjeevani loves art and dance. She’s had art exhibited in Europe and performed a dance called Odissi on Parliament Hill.

Serena Bains

she / her

Serena Bains

she / her

Serena Bains (she / her) wants to help address the stigma around mental health and educate others about it because she’s observed the effects of mental health challenges in many ways. Being a person of colour, she’s especially dedicated to enhancing mental health services for people in remote communities and members of equity-deserving groups. A cause that’s important to her as a student athlete is helping to destigmatize mental health care in sports, which she advocates for in her local community. She’s had her art displayed in a gallery and enjoys spending time with friends when she can (when she’s not in the gym or listening to music).

A photo of Stevie Lanigan

Stevie Lanigan

he / they

Stevie Lanigan

he / they

Stevie Lanigan (he / they) is driven by a desire to channel personal experiences into meaningful change. He joined the NYC to help shape Kids Help Phone’s services so that they can offer more support to youth facing interpersonal challenges. Stevie takes initiative to support causes close to his heart and considers his involvement in the NYC as an opportunity to contribute to creating real change. Believing in the importance of prioritizing mental health regardless of age, Stevie is proud to be a part of an organization that places a strong emphasis on this critical aspect of well-being.

Kids Help Phone recognizes the importance of Indigenous leadership in all of our work. Under the direction of the Manager of Indigenous Initiatives, and with the collaboration of our internal Indigenous Initiatives Committee, our Indigenous programs are also led by an external, Indigenous Advisory Council.

Our Indigenous Advisory Council is composed of Inuit, Métis and First Nations experts, half of whom are youth, who’ve demonstrated a strong commitment to the mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of Indigenous young people. We invite you to learn more about Finding Hope: Kids Help Phone’s Action Plan for Supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis young people and how you can support this important work.

  • Ashley Cummings
  • Breanna Laggo
  • Brooke Supernault
  • Carole Shankaruk
  • Emily Bennett
  • Jacqueline Parrish
  • Jadyn Normore
  • Justin Broderick
  • Kayla Way
  • Louise Cervini
  • R. Stacey Laforme
  • Shania Clark

Kids Help Phone is committed to supporting the mental health and well-being of African, Caribbean and Black youth. We know this work must be done with the guidance of Black leadership. Our Black Advisory Council is made up of 12 members from across the Afro-diaspora with an incredible diversity of experiences and a shared commitment to Black excellence and joy. Half of our members are youth 29 and under, and the council has a dedicated space for Kids Help Phone board membership. 

The Black Advisory Council operates under the leadership of our Manager of Black Youth Initiatives, a program supported by The Slaight Family Foundation. The council provides expert insight and feedback on RiseUp powered by Kids Help Phone, Canada’s first national, 24/7, bilingual e-mental health support service for Black youth.

Photography credit: Cesar Ghisilieri

Three kites flying above a beach
Hannan Mohamud headshot

Hannan Mohamud

she / her

Hannan Mohamud

she / her

Hannan (she / her) is an award-winning policy researcher with a successful track record in citizen engagement and mobilization. As an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta 2019, Hannan studied a dual BA in Psychology and Sociology. Her research explored the importance of understanding the impacts of historical and contemporary oppression and trauma on policy development and decision-making.

Currently, Hannan is a law student at the English Common law faculty. Hannan has advised political parties, consulted organizations and writes about the need for an intersectional and critical race analysis on a freelance basis. She has been elected by her peers to be a board member on the University of Ottawa’s board of governors and has recently also joined the Canadian Council of Muslim Women’s board of directors.

Evelyn Bradley headshot

Evelyn Bradley

she / her

Evelyn Bradley

she / her

Evelyn Bradley (she / her) is the owner of the diversity, equity and inclusion consulting company Bradley Consulting. She works with non-profits, businesses and universities to develop materials that centre on culturally competent programming. Her passion for food, cultural diversity and the community is rooted in every aspect of her personal identity.

Kafiya Mudey headshot

Kafiya Mudey

she / her

Kafiya Mudey

she / her

Kafiya Mudey (she / her) was born in Somalia and grew up in Toronto. Kafiya is an activist who organized with Black Lives Matter – Vancouver, created and held events like Know Your Rights, A Night of Black Magic, and March on Pride. Kafiya has also organized with the Hogans Alley Society and held discussions and art tours. Kafiya has a strong interest in advocacy, protection of people’s privacy, rights, the arts and so much more.

Lianne Hannaway headshot

Lianne Hannaway

she / her

Lianne Hannaway

she / her

Lianne Hannaway (she / her) is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), an experienced financial executive and an investor. Lianne helps first-generation business owners bringing in six figures or more (but not seeing that in their bank account) achieve financial freedom by taking control of their business finances. She is a Board Member and Treasurer at The Equality Fund, a groundbreaking collaboration that supports women’s rights organizations and feminist movements globally with a backing of $300 million from the Canadian government. She is also a board member of Kids Help Phone, Canada’s only 24/7 national support service providing professional online and telephone counselling and volunteer-led, text-based support to youth across Canada in both English and French. Previously, Lianne was an advisory partner at KPMG and held a variety of senior finance roles at TMX Group.

Martha Nduwayo headshot

Martha Nduwayo

she / her

Martha Nduwayo

she / her

Martha (she / her) is a Black organizer passionate about activism, community empowerment and mental health, especially among the Black community.

Martha is currently based in the Anishinabe / Ottawa region, although her heart is in Tio’tia:ke / Montreal. As a member of the Black Healing Fund, she focuses on translation, finance administration and grant application.

Mdu Mhlanga headshot

Mdu Mhlanga

he / him

Mdu Mhlanga

he / him

Mdu (he / him) is a current Master of Global Affairs candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. He works at the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity helping support the creation and enhancement of infrastructure to support black youth pursuing and in the employment space. Outside of school he enjoys reading about finance and economics, and looks to become a strategy consultant in the long-term.

Melissa Booker headshot

Melissa Booker

she / her

Melissa Booker

she / her

In 2019, Melissa Booker (she / her) completed her MHE at the University of Waterloo, following the completion of her BA in Health Studies at the University of Toronto, St. George campus. To fulfill her graduate requirements, Melissa completed her practicum at the AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario and obtained a teaching assistantship for the Foundations for Program Evaluation course (HLTH614). Her core research interests include: mental health and access to culturally safe care for black and LGBTQ+ populations, as well as HIV and sexual health care epidemiology.

Melissa’s undergraduate research focused on the barriers to the utilization of sexual health care services faced by women who have sex with women living in Canada. She then began working as a research assistant at St. Michael’s hospital with the Centre for Global Health Research, supporting large-scale epidemiological studies that aimed to prevent mortality and improve health outcomes in lower and middle-income countries. Today, she continues to strengthen her research skills and demonstrate her commitment to health equity and social justice by volunteering at CANVAS Arts Action Programs, an arts-based not-for-profit organization that promotes the unlearning of gender-based violence, sexual violence, homophobia and transphobia.

Neyna Dansoh headshot

Neyna Dansoh

he / him

Neyna Dansoh

he / him

Neyna (he / him) was born in Ghana and raised in Toronto where he currently resides. He is a Consultative Digital Media Professional with 10+ years of experience within Advertising and Media industries – including Rogers Sports & Media, St. Joseph Media and now currently at Spotify, to name a few. His areas of expertise include strategic media consultation, identifying revenue upselling opportunities, cultivating key relationships and growing an organization through new business development. As a young Black man having worked in corporate for most of his career, Neyna is fully aware of the lack of Black representation within the corporate environment, specifically within leadership positions at Advertising and Media companies. As a leader, mentorship is a key focus area for Neyna. He’s helped out numerous BIPOC folks who’ve reached out to him as they navigate their own careers around Advertising and Media. His hope is to one day see more diverse representation across the Director-level roles and above within corporate organizations.

Tee Garnett headshot

Tee Garnett

they / them

Tee Garnett

they / them

Tee Garnett (they / them) has been developing equity and inclusion-based services with marginalized communities and programs for over two decades. Tee’s roles have all been in support of bringing attention to inherent systemic barriers. Tee’s work as a senior executive provides the expertise required when supporting leaders in change management, yet their genuine openness invites anyone to be comfortable and feel included and belonging. Tee is committed to offering transformational equity, which involves providing the psycho-educational cognitive support to leaders who are interested in creating more equitable and safer workplaces.

Tyjondah Kerr headshot

Tyjondah Kerr

she / her

Tyjondah Kerr

she / her

While completing her Psychology Degree at the University of Windsor, Tyjondah started her career in gaming in 1994 with Casino Windsor. She began working for OLG in 1999 and has held management positions at OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack and OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack. During her 20+ years with OLG, Tyjondah has had progressive leadership roles.

She is currently the Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within People and Culture. She oversees OLG’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and other Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Tyjondah is accountable for the Equity Diversity and Inclusion strategy for the organization and helps to create a sense of belonging for OLG’s employees.

In 2019, Tyjondah received the Vaike Murusalu Empowerment Award at OLG. Her dedication for leadership and empowering people to reach their goals has been her driving force with every position she undertakes.

In 2020, Tyjondah became one of Canada’s 100 Accomplished Black Women by 100ABCwomen authored by the Honourable Jean Augustine.

Tyjondah is a married mother of two and resides in Brampton, Ontario.

Winjoy Tiop headshot

Winjoy Nyariaki Tiop

she / her

Winjoy Nyariaki Tiop

she / her

Winjoy Nyariaki Tiop (she / her) was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to South-Sudanese and Kenyan parents. At five years of age, her family immigrated to Canada. Currently, she is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s in Chemistry with a minor in Computer Science at the University of Calgary.

Winjoy is an active member of her community. She currently volunteers with The Football Hockey Link (FHL), the South Sudanese Youth of Canada (SSYC), Centre for Newcomers and is the founder of Golden Mti. The FHL supports new Canadian youth using sports as a tool to assist in integrating a sense of belonging and leadership development. SSYC is an organization that connects South Sudanese youth across Canada to support a holistic integration in their local communities while creating a strong base of youth leaders. The group has organized and executed a series of nationwide conferences in multiple provinces for the South Sudanese Youth. Winjoy is involved in community research for the Centre for Newcomers, specifically, their Regional 5-year initiative aiming to standardize the coordination of newcomer youth settlement services. Lastly, Golden Mti attempts to address barriers to post-secondary education for BIPOC children by equipping youth with resources to succeed through professional tutors, workshops and mentorship.

Being a first-generation immigrant that arrived in Canada as a refugee, Winjoy understands the significance of having services available to youth. As a result, she is committed to helping fill gaps she has seen.

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Thanks to our growing community, Kids Help Phone offers free, 24/7 e-mental health services to young people in Canada. Your generosity helps ensure that someone is always there when support is needed for any issue, big or small.

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