Board of Directors
Lillian Birchall - President
Lillian Birchall is the founder of Young Ones. She is a philanthropist and an activist within the community. She is also engaged in community organizing, a large part of which is dedicated to the rights of persons with mental health and addictions issues. Apart from her involvement with Young Ones, Lillian has been involved in many different roles and organizations in the nonprofit sector, both in Toronto and internationally. Of this work, most of it has focused on the needs of people with mental health issues, addictions or street-involved youth. Presently, she sits as a director on the board of the William Birchall Foundation.
Mhairi Kay - Vice Chair
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
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.
Cheryl Stone - Director
Cheryl is thrilled to be a part of the Young Ones Board. She has held a variety of communications roles including positions with the United Steelworkers, Toronto Fringe Festival and is currently working with the Mississauga Arts Council. She has a post-graduate certificate in corporate communications from Sheridan College, and a double major in media, information and technoculture and women’s studies and feminist research from Western University. She hopes to continue the work Young Ones has done to destigmatize mental health and addictions.
Louiza Szacon - Director
Louiza joined Young Ones with a solid 7 years of experience in caused-based sponsorship and marketing. Prior to joining Young Ones, Louiza worked in corporate business development in the Fortune 500 rungs, as well as sponsorship development for various BIAs and NPOs. As a devotee to community development and activism, Louiza’s main expertise lies in fostering mutually beneficial strategic partnerships between cause-based properties and corporate stakeholders. For upcoming years, Louiza’s fund development strategic plan for Young Ones includes building on the foundation of existing sponsorships and donations, and providing a trusted framework for partnering associations to exercise social responsibility and community give-back. Louiza is an undergraduate alumni of Western University where she concentrated on social justice and peace studies. She also holds a Master of Arts from McMaster University in labour studies. She is currently pursuing postgraduate studies in Digital Marketing Management and Brand Management from the University of Toronto.
Nikolas Koschany - Director
Nikolas Koschany is a recent Board of Directors member, having volunteered for Young Ones for two years previous. Having lived with depression and anxiety for most of his life, Nikolas is passionate about stopping the stigma surrounding mental health issues. He has presented for Young Ones at Ryerson University, Durham College, and The Toronto District School Board.
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.
David Saxby (CCW) holds honours diplomas in social work, child care and chemical dependency counselling, has SASSI training as well as experiential training in Psychodrama, Gestalt and Motivational Counselling. He has a strong understanding of the issues youth who identify as LGBT and gender neutral. David has worked in a variety of settings, both professional and volunteer, including youth treatment centres, group homes, addiction treatment centres and outdoor recreation environments. He currently works at Recovery Counselling Services in Toronto performing individual counselling, assessments, aftercare services and group facilitation. David believes in ongoing personal growth (he has been clean and sober for over 26 years), follows Shin Buddhist teachings and enjoys travel, suba diving, art and hiking.
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.
Dianne Piaskoski (M.Math, M.A.) has a master’s degree in counselling psychology. She specializes in compulsive behaviour disorders such as Internet addiction, online gaming, food addiction, as well as the treatment of anxiety and depression. The path of recovery is different for everyone and Dianne warmly helps to find the right path for each individual. She is also certified in hypnotherapy which incorporates hypnosis techniques in the treatment of mood disorders.
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 https://www.cherylchampagne.ca