Berkha is a transmasculine queer south asian that has come to consider the GTA home for the last 15+ years. Most of their work has been focused on increasing services/programming for LGBTQ2+ people, especially youth and people of colour. Away from YouthLine, Berkha can be found working on community projects like a colour deep or the monthly QTBIPOC meetup in Mississauga. On a personal note, Berkha’s currently exploring ways to centre joy, healing, and community in all their spaces – something that they love to talk about where ever they can.
Hayley is a queer, two-spirit Anishinaabekwe with roots from the French River area, England and Germany, and currently lives along the Haldimand Tract in ‘Brantford.’ Most of her work has centered around sexual violence advocacy, and working with youth in a counselling and support role, always prioritizing healing as an act of resistance. She spends a lot of her time being critical of the Canadian colonial state, and dreaming of land reclamation and youth-led revolutions. She can also be found watching ridiculous TV shows, putting maple syrup on all foods, and finding ways to connect to her traditional territory.
Minna is a white queer person and has worked with her LGBTQ2S peers in different capacities for many years. Minna grew up in the deep woods of rural B.C. on unceded territories of Sinixt-Lakes people and now calls Tkaronto (Toronto) and the GTA home. Her professional skills have been developed through experiences in social work, higher ed/student services, and through caring for herself and for her communities. Minna loves working with other LGBTQ2S youth at Youth Line, and finding ways we can all support and be present for youth across Ontario. She also loves horses and plants.
Sierra is a non-binary, second/third generation settler half Anglo-Indian half-Gujarati queer. They grew up in Toronto and Brampton – coming from a mixed race and mixed religion background while growing up in Canada has made for a layered experience. They continue to have “home” relationships with multiple places, spaces, and people. They have been involved in volunteering and supporting queer and trans communities for many years – most recently, they co-organized zine and arts fairs for the 2SQTBIPOC community. They love climbing, being outside, and making spaces for people to be recognized and appreciated as their full selves.
Joan is a queer Indo-Caribbean living in the GTA for over 25 years. Most of their work has centered around supporting grassroots organizations in the GTA from; organizing youths and coordinating food drives to community campaigns around sexual violence and workshop facilitation in the VAW sector. The focus of their work has shifted to supporting racialized communities and advocating for deep transformative healing within the Caribbean community; with a special attention to generational trauma of Indo-Caribbean’s. Joan is committed to supporting racialized youths in every capacity; however, Joan loves peer mentorship and the potential of mentorship in young people’s lives. They are a coach and mentor working with young professionals of color and utilizing their privileges in many spaces to build their community up. They spend a lot of time building relationships from the ground up, connecting with community and dreaming of youth-led innovations. In their spare time, they are committed to their own healing process, which involves; ritual self -care, self-reflection, and personal development.
Katrina is a queer Indigenous person living in Northern Ontario, they have centered most of their current experience around volunteering within their community and supporting 2SLGBTQ youth in the area. They are passionate about caring for the vulnerable in their communities and being critical of the Canadian colonial state. In their spare time, Katrina enjoys learning about indigenous history and finding ways to connect with their heritage. Katrina can also be found walking their dog, taking pictures of sunrises, and enjoying a hot drink on an even hotter day.
Vincent So is a first-generation immigrant, Asian queer born in Hong Kong, who immigrated to Canada at the age of 1 year old. Vincent is currently the South Regional Assistant for the PYAP Program, and a medical student at Queen’s University. Prior to medical school, Vincent completed his Bachelor of Science at McMaster University, and a Master’s of Science at the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto. Vincent enjoys advocacy for queer interests as a volunteer in the local community, as well as in his academic role as a medical student. Vincent currently leads weekly recreational sessions for LGBT2Q+ youth in the Kingston community and is the lead of the LGBTQ2+ Health Committee, which aims to educate fellow students on queer health and promote awareness for LGBTQ2+ initiatives. On his free time, Vincent can be found cuddling with his cats or tending to his plants.
Elizabeth is a two-spirit Indigenous person living in Toronto, ON. She has worked over 12 years in Communications, coming from the corporate world into non-profit work over two years ago. She is passionate about storytelling through digital media, and spends her time writing and advocating for BIPOC in Canada and beyond. She is learning more about her Indigenous roots and connecting to her culture more and more daily. Liz has one cat, Fili, and a host of “part-time children”, as she babysits in her spare time.
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.
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 Adanyi17@hotmail.com
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.
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.
Juan Luis Garrido is a queer man living in Toronto. He works at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada national office as the manager, brand marketing; he joined the MS Society as an employee 5 years after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while he was in university. He spends his free time volunteering for progressive and intersectional causes or can usually be found watching a drag show. Moving through the world as a queer person of colour with an invisible disability, he endeavours to learn more about building up communities and allyship.
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.
Yara Kodershah is an education researcher who is committed to the principles of social justice education. She holds a Masters of Education degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from the University of Alberta. Yara’s work is focused on supporting, engaging, strengthening the immigrant- and refugee- sector to serve queer and trans newcomers, particularly those who identify as being part of BIPOC communities.