Berkha is a queer south asian that has come to consider the GTA home for the last 14 years. Most of their work has been focused on increasing services/programming for LGBTQ people, especially youth and people of colour, while creating spaces for building community.
Away from Youth Line, Berkha can be found working on community projects like a colour deep, the monthly QTBIPOC meetup in Mississauga or other short(er) term projects related to (queer, trans) BIPOC communities. Berkha is really excited by web/online technologies so is often trying to keep up with what’s new in social media or online tools, learn how to make websites or fake their way through a poster design.
Tamar is a queer-as-can-be POC with ancestors from the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis as well as the Scottish lowlands. They move through the world with a keen passion for social justice and equity work, advocacy for people of colour and youth, and radical community-building. This Aries is so excited to be a part of the Youthline, and can be found finding creative new ways to decorate Outreach tables and dreaming up incredible workshops for LGBT youth!
As a queer person committed to access and equity, Tanya is honoured to join Youth Line as the Fundraising Coordinator. Previously at Access Alliance, and working with various arts organizations, Tanya has extensive grant writing and networking experience. Tanya is working to improve Youth Line’s communications with donors and members. Expect to connect with Tanya to talk about the amazing work that LGBT Youth Line does and show your love for Youth Line! Tanya loves rainbows, cats, and kids.
Val Kalende is a communicator, journalist and activist. Throughout their career they have worked in the non-profit sector to manage strategic media and communications with a focus on transforming narratives. Val believes strongly in the power of strategic storytelling as a tool for challenging injustice and oppression. Originally from Uganda, their experience as a journalist and advocate for LGBT rights provided them with a people-centered approach to communications. They have previously held research fellowships with two human rights non-profits in New York City and San Francisco. Outside of work, Val enjoys reading, watching news channels, and traveling.
Originally from the Bahamas, Joelle has spent most of her life moving. Dealing with the many facets of her life she managed to push through and beat the odds landing in her new home, Canada. She relocated to Canada to start a new life for herself, one with opportunity and promise. She made it happen, and with each new step she made in her new home, it was her goal to let each effort she made count. After she got settled and found her bearings in her new beginning,she began to seek work. She came across a job posting, it seem to fit something she would want to be a part of, so she applied. That job posting was for youthline admin. She is glad to be apart of youthline and plans to give all she can through her abilities to be an asset and to further the initiative of youthline.
The Youth Line has four brilliant and talented shift supervisors. These folks listen to and support the volunteers who answer calls, texts, e-mails, and messages from Ontario’s youth. Their work is extremely valuable and appreciated. Without them, we couldn’t do what we do!
Youth Line has around 60 volunteers who range between 14-26 years of age. They go through an intensive 36-hour training program to be able to staff the lines. Our volunteers bring with them diverse experiences and knowledge of LGBT issues and much more These folks are really the heart and soul of our program, staffing the lines every Sunday-Friday, rain or shine. Volunteers bring so much to every call, but also to each other and to the organization. We wouldn’t be where we are without the amazing work of our volunteers. Thanks folks!
Adriana Chang has been a member of the Youth Line Board since September 2015. She is a self-described nerd that likes pop culture, research, politics, music, playing guitar and ukulele, singing, karaoke, dancing, and checking out queer dance parties. Adriana currently works at the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, where she works on housing and homelessness prevention program development and analysis. When she’s not working or board membering with Youth Line, Adriana also runs a queer and trans dance club that offers classes in salsa, west coast swing, and hip hop.
Adriana grew up in Vancouver, BC and made the move to Toronto about 10 years ago. She still misses the mountains.
Khadijah Kanji is currently completing her Masters of Social Work at York University. She also works part time at a community centre, working mostly on anti-Islamophobia activism.
Saira’s areas of expertise include marketing, communications, design, and hacking policy and organizational solutions. She is interested in applying lean start-up strategies to tackle resource and outreach challenges for community organizations seeking social change; and equally passionate about challenging socioeconomic and institutional barriers that affect visible/ invisible minorities and marginalized people.Saira currently leads the marcomm team for one of North America’s leading consultancies for building and infrastructure projects. In addition to being a board member for the LGBT Youth Line, she is also a content strategist for TechGirls Canada, an organization focused on mobilizing and amplifying support for women in STEM fields.
Amy is a member of Youth Line’s Board of Directors and sits on the Policy and Finance Committees. She completed her B.A. in History and M.A. in Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Gender, Feminist, & Women’s Studies at York University. She has also been involved in LGBTQ community-building work for the past few years, helping to organize social and support groups, an anti-racist LGBTQ book club, and an anti-gentrification queer zine project.
Colan joined the Board of Directors in 2015 and currently serves as the Treasurer of Youth Line. An incorrigible introvert, Colan loves Coldplay, hates being cold called, and occasionally experiences cold feet. Colan completed his B.A. at Western University and currently works as a Consultant at Deloitte.
Who is Adanyi? (ah-danny)
Was a volleyball player
Loves to socialize
Lover of SVU, DC’s shows, Grey’s, Criminal minds, and saving hope
Loved Rookie Blue and Lost Girl (gone too soon :’( )
Plays video games poorly, but loves it! Ori anyone?
Can’t do the splits or a cartwheel
Was a phone line volunteer for 4 years
Was one of the first people to do a Youth line MSN chat
Can roll her tongue and
Is completely open to be contacted if ever someone has a question or wants to chat
Kanaka Kulendran is a queer tamil person who has spent 20+ years in Toronto. She has 10+ years experience working with children and youth locally and internationally. Kanaka has spent a number of years working in the non-profit sector, doing front line work in Scarborough, Davenport-Perth and Regent Park. Most recently, she worked as a children and youth facilitator with The Stop Community Food Centre, an anti-poverty & food justice organization, where she developed and ran innovative youth leadership programs for 4 years. Currently she oversees all the exciting community projects that go on at The Stop Community Food Centre’s Green Barn. Kanaka has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & a Bachelor of Education, both from York University. She has been volunteering with the board since 2016.
Zac Johnstone (they/them) is a queer nonbinary young person with a passion for youth engagement, mental health and anti-oppression. They are a third-year social work student at Carleton University, a board member with the Lesbian, Gay, Bi & Trans Youth Line, and an experienced young consultant, facilitator and community organizer. Zac has supported advocacy, social policy and youth-led education initiatives on a local, provincial and national level, including co-organizing the Canadian Day of Pink campaign in 2014, supporting the implementation of youth engagement in child and youth mental health agencies across Ontario, and numerous other initiatives dedicated to supporting the health, well-being and inclusion of young people. They believe deeply in the power of young people, and the potential young people can unleash for system-change. Outside of work, they can likely be found either planning their next bruching opportunities, hanging out at a coffee shop, or getting a bit too opinionated on Twitter.
Adri is a fierce 22-year-old South Asian trans woman who wants nothing more than to disrupt the “cistem” using her recently-discovered brown trans woman superpowers. A recent graduate of Western University’s Ivey Business School, where she specialized in entrepreneurship and sustainability, she has made her mark as a student organizer to advance mental health and LGBTQ inclusion conversations in the tough environment of business school. Adri presently works as an intern for non-profit “Civic Action”, supporting the “Mental Health in the Workplace” project. Beyond her work, she volunteers for Planned Parenthood Toronto’s LGBTQ Youth Initiative, and is creating a short film for “New Visions”, a queer video mentorship project facilitated by Inside Out LGBT film festival. With a spark of anger and flame of hope, Adri wants to write herself and her communities into the spaces of the world where they’ve been told they can’t exist, creating mirrors wherever she goes. She loves singing loudly in the shower, watching Survivor unironically, and going on geocaching adventures.
Sylvan is a transmasculine youth of color with a background in accounting. They are passionate about social equity and making a difference, especially towards supporting queer and trans migrants, whom often struggle to find resources. In their spare time, they like to take long walks in parks and browse through pug photos and videos. Sylvan is also fairly easy to be found around the 519, Sherbourne Health Centre, and Planned parenthood Toronto. If you see them strolling by, feel free to say hi and connect with them.
A born-and-raised suburbanite, Melanie came to Toronto to complete their M.S.W. degree, and is enlivened by the queer community that they’ve found and made here. They had a blast on the 2017 Craftathon committee, and are super excited to rejoin as a co-chair for Craftathon 2018. On an average day, Melanie can be found exploring the following, in no particular order: the streets of Toronto, recent grad life, gender fluidity, and their biracial identity. When not exploring, Melanie enjoys browsing Tumblr, listening to and writing music, napping on the GO bus, practicing Mandarin, and thinking about bowties.
Jackie is a queer femme who is super excited to be supporting Youth Line again. As a former phone line volunteer, she has been involved with Craftathon (YL’s annual fundraiser) for the last two years: first as a lead crafter and most recently as a member of the Craftathon Planning Committee. She previously volunteered with the Rainbow Health Network to advocate for accessible and appropriate queer and trans health care. Currently, Jackie volunteers as a facilitator for peer support bereavement groups with Bereaved Families of Ontario – Toronto. When not crafting or volunteering, Jackie spends her time working as a perinatal and paediatric social worker in a community hospital.
Jeff Cooke is a former peer support volunteer and Board of Directors member from 2011-2015. Jeff has performed a variety of different roles such as serving as Co-Chair from 2012-2013 as well as Chair of the Fundraising Committee and Marketing Committee. With an honours degree in business, Jeff pulls on his professional experience working within the field of marketing and advertising to lead branding, design and youth-focused campaigns/projects.Completed projects involve spearheading the redesign of the organizations website and rebranding as well as producing a fundraising initiative called ‘Axe Out Homophobia’ which pits advertising agencies across Toronto in a tournament of axe throwing. An avid supporter of Youth Line, Jeff has remained involved by acting as the Website Administrator and volunteering on the Fundraising Committee.