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.
Saph is a Queer Black person who believes in the magic of her people. Born and raised on Algonquin Territory (Ottawa) to Jamaican immigrants, she lives for conversations and discussions about the intersectionality of identities. Saph is the current Service Coordinator at the LGBT Youth Line a peer support help line for LGBTQ+ in Ontario. She also sits on the board of directors at Kind*, Ottawa’s LGBTQ community centre. She volunteered as well with Kind* facilitating a group for queer people of colour, and founded the centre’s LGBTQ fitness program. In her spare time she loves going to the gym, listening to her favourite podcast The Read, and listening to 90s R&B (she is a dedicated Janet Jackson fan).
The Youth Line has three 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 is a queer, Latinx and Asian person who is currently one of the Co-Chairs of the Youth Line Board. She is a self-described nerd who likes pop culture, research, politics, music, playing guitar and ukulele, singing, karaoke, dancing, and checking out queer dance parties. Prior to joining Youth Line, Adriana was president of LGBT Dance, a queer and trans dance club that taught classes in salsa, hip-hop and west coast swing. Adriana has a MSW in social policy from the University of Toronto and currently works at the Ontario Ministry of Housing as a Policy Advisor in the area of homelessness prevention.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shayla is a queer and nonbinary person with a commitment to social justice and a passion for visual arts. As a current student at U of T, in Sexual Diversity Studies and Religion, Shayla is particularly interested in doing research in the area of sex, disability and religion. When they aren’t working on their current research project, they can be found with their nose in a book and having imaginary conversations with their favourite fictional characters.
Valerie is a queer, cis white woman who is currently working in Fundraising & Development at the Humber River Hospital Foundation. Her first fundraising job was right here at Youth Line, and this org has a big piece of her heart. Valerie’s favourite thing to do is spend time with other people who differ from what’s considered ‘typical’ in all sorts of wonderful, fascinating, beautiful ways. She lives in Toronto with her partner, 2 kids and her dog.
Jaime is a writer and community organizer who has focused on the intersection between queer culture and technology. He has a passion for supporting youth and previously served on the board of directors for the Ten Oaks Project and volunteered for the CLGA and Bike Rally.
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, cis, white femme who is super excited to be supporting Youth Line again. As a former phone line volunteer, she recently supported YL with Craftathon (YL’s annual fundraiser) for the last two years: first as a lead crafter and now as a co-chair of the Craftathon Planning Committee. She previously volunteered with the Rainbow Health Network and 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.