BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Natasha Reimer-Okemow

President | Director for Manitoba (joined 2018) || CONTACT: natasha@youthincare.ca 

Natasha is Afro-First Nation and a member of the Bunibonibee Cree Nation.  She spent most of her life bouncing around different group and foster homes. She graduate from the University of Winnipeg in 2019 with a BA Criminal Justice, minoring in Sociology and Conflict Resolution Studies. Natasha founded the peer support group called FOSTER UP in Winnipeg for youth who are aging out of the foster care system and trying to navigate post-secondary education. 

Marie Christian

Vice President | Director for Manitoba  (joined 2021) || CONTACT: marie@youthincare.ca

Hello! My name is Marie Christian. I am the director of Voices: Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network, and I am proud to represent Manitoba on the board of Youth in Care Canada. Over many years and a long and winding road, I earned my BA (2015), BSW (2017), and I am currently pursuing my MSW in Indigenous Knowledges through the University of Manitoba.  Working at Voices and volunteering on the board of YiCC allows me to combine my lived experience with professional and educational experience to help create a better system of care in Canada, for all children and youth in care.

Sharda Ayotte-O’Connor

Director for Yukon (joined 2020) || CONTACT: sharda@youthincare.ca

“Áyįzhi Sharda Ayotte-O’Connor ùye, Lhù’ààn Mân yû nìínje. Aguna ích’e, yè Metis ích’e. 31 yųk’e íchʼe. Dankwanjè ajesídla, yè shak’â kídan.” [My name is Sharda Ayotte-O’Connor, I live at Kluane Lake. I follow wolf clan and I am Metis. I am 31 winters (years) old. I work in Native Language, and I’m still learning.]

Sharda started out in foster care at the age of 2 in Whitehorse, Yukon. In 2009, at 19 she graduated from a 3DCG Art program in Vancouver, and since then tried on many different hats: in law, education, construction, mineral exploration, and more. Throughout, she always had a passion for languages, and tried on just as many until she came back to her hometown’s native Southern Tutchone. After a 2-year stay in Hong Kong, in 2016 she moved to a remote community to find edifying Southern Tutchone elders, where she has committed herself to language revitalization ever since.

Sharda hopes to advocate for the integration of indigenous ways of knowing and doing to address the overwhelming obstacles faced by youth in care in the Yukon – by cultivating a stronger sense of connection and identity.

Kealy Obey

Director for Saskatchewan (joined 2018) || CONTACT: kealy@youthincare.ca

At 23 years old, Kealy Obey strives to provide a brighter future for herself and her children through sharing her experiences, expertise and voice. Kealy is a member of the Saulteaux/Plains Cree Nation of Pasqua First Nation #79 on Treaty 4 Territory in Saskatchewan. Kealy is a first year youth care worker diploma student at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Regina.

 

Kealy also sits on two community non-profit and charitable organization boards, Youth in Care Canada as the Saskatchewan director, and the Saskatchewan Youth in Care and Custody Network as President since winter 2019. Kealys community spirit, passion for helping others and genuine good heart, drives her to participate in conversations, conferences, workshops, delegations & research projects related to indigenous culture, child welfare, youth justice, & the environment with the intent on influencing change to policy and practice in the child welfare system and environment.

The list of Kealy’s accomplishments are too many to mention, however during the pandemic Kealy continues to take part in online learning and discussions related to improving child welfare systems, advocacy, awareness and youth transiting through and out of care. Most recently Kealy has been working towards her first year apprentice in construction to provide better financial goals for herself and children.

Kelley Day

Treasurer | Director for Ontario (joined 2022) || CONTACT: kelley@youthincare.ca

Bio and photo TBA