Board of Directors


Mhairi Kay - Chair of the board

Mhairi Kay (BA Psych) is the vice-chair and education program coordinator for Young Ones. She has a BA in Psychology with a minor in Criminology and is currently in the process of completing her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. Mhairi considers herself to be a “consumer survivor” and it is her own lived experience with the adolescent mental health sector that drew her to Young Ones. She has a passion for helping others to receive the treatment and support they need when struggling with a mental health or addiction issue and challenging the way in which mental illness is perceived by the general public. She has volunteered in the past as a tutor for elementary and high school students as well as the Think Wear artistic after school program run by Ryerson University. Since the growth of the Young Ones education program, Mhairi is a guest lecturer at Ryerson University and The University of Toronto and has spoken in front of more than 3000 people; she has also lectured at various healthcare organizations, for supportive housing workers, and for the KF Football team.


Darka Oleksij -  Executive Director and Ex-officio board member

Darka Oleksij (ICADC, SAP, ADS) is the Executive Director of Young Ones. She has been in the mental health and addictions field for the past 10 years as front line worker, manager, private practitioner and consultant. As a consumer survivor, Darka is well versed in both the experience and treatment of mental illness. Her personal experience, professional background and dedication to improving the lives of those with addiction is what drew her to Young Ones. She has been with Young Ones since its inception and has demonstrated compassion, enthusiasm and ongoing commitment.


Matthew Walker - Treasurer

Matthew joined Young Ones as the Treasurer with more than five years of experience in financial accounting and financial statement analysis. Prior to joining Young Ones, Matthew worked with and audited several not-for-profit organizations in professional practice for charities similar to Young Ones. Matthew received his Bachelor of Business Administration at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2011, and obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Accountant designations in October 2013. He strongly believes in the importance of raising awareness about youth mental health and addiction, which is misunderstood and underrepresented in Canada. Matthew will use his professional background and ambition to give back to the community to help improve the lives of those living with mental illness.


Geoff Wong - Secretary

Geoff's biography is in progress. Please check back soon.


Victor Sinclair - board Member

Victor's biography is in progress. Please check back soon.


Damian Reid - Board Member

Damian's biography is in progress. Please check back soon.



Susan Raphael, ICADC, ICCDP

Susan Raphael (ICADC, ICCDP) has a degree from York University, a graduate education in Applied Psychology from the University of Toronto and has specialized in Addiction and Recovery since 1999. Her goal is to provide effective counselling solutions to youth, individuals and families recovering from addiction and mental health disorders through sensitive, supportive and experiential care.Susan is active on various boards and works with numerous committees. She has been involved in social causes for several years and is extremely devoted to giving back to the community. In 2011, Susan began working with Young Ones, assisting youth struggling with mental health issues to achieve better care and services. Susan resides in Toronto with her husband, along with her therapy dog and cat, Buster and Harley. She enjoys practicing Yoga and Spins regularly.


Tarryn Chatz, MSW, RSW

My name is Tarryn Chatz and it is both a privilege and an honor to be a part of the Young Ones Team. I have an extensive amount of experience working with adolescents and adults struggling with mental health and addictions. I have worked with individuals and families and have been privileged to be given the opportunity to earn the trust and respect of clients who have let me into their lives. As a result of their invested faith and determination, I have been able to assist clients in improving their lives and bettering themselves. I use various therapeutic models which include CBT, DBT, Motivation Interviewing and Solution Based Therapy to provide clients with the skills they need to function successfully and healthily on their own. I have seen incredible success with my clients and believe I have the ability to support and challenge individuals looking to make a change. My non-threatening and warm approach provides clients with feelings of safety and permission to be vulnerable. I look forward to continuing to build my private practice and assisting in helping clients live their lives in a healthy and rewarding way.


Nigel Turner, HSC, CAMF, OSP

Nigel is Program Director for Anger Management and Domestic Abuse at Just for Today, a therapist for anger at Habitude in Hamilton. He has his own private practice in the east end of Toronto where he specializes working with men with addiction, anger, other difficult emotions and relationships. He also does couples work. Nigel is a clinical member of the Ontario Society of Psychotherapists. He is court approved and can offer services covered for EAP. He has a website, and can be viewed on youtube.


Cheryl Champagne, M.Ed, RP

I work with individuals who are dealing with the effects of abuse, loss, and life transitions: toxic, unhealthy or abusive relationships; sexual violence; bullying or harassment; death of a family member or friend; break-ups; coming out or transitioning; and in general feeling lost and needing to find the way forward. I am a Registered Psychotherapist with 25 years experience working with diverse clients, including individuals who are racialized, LGBTQ+, or have a disability. I identify myself as a white cis-gender female lesbian. I have extensive experience helping clients navigate and be successful in a post-secondary environment, whether they are dealing with trauma, mental health, or the challenges of being the first generation in their family to attend post-secondary.

I bring a trauma and violence informed perspective, along with many tools and approaches such as narrative training, mindfulness meditation, attachment, cognitive behavioral therapy and more. In therapy, we work together to set goals and make a plan for what you would like to work on. In addition to gaining more understanding of your strengths, coping skills, values and priorities in life, we identify and work on skills such as setting boundaries, decision making, stress management, and creating healthy relationships and community. The past need not define you— you can take what you learned from it, and work towards the life you want for yourself.

I love to travel and have lived overseas in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. I have two very affectionate cats and enjoy balcony gardening, riding my bicycle around town, camping and hiking. I also have a regular meditation and yoga practice. My clients tell me I bring a calm and compassionate presence to our work together. I look forward to meeting you and helping you wherever you are along your journey.

For more about me and my approach go to


Lori Slaunwhite, RSSW, HSC, CSAT. MADA-RY, RP

Lori's biography is in progress. Please check back soon.