BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ASHLEY BACH

YICC President, Director for British Columbia

Ashley is a member of the Mishkeegogamang First Nation and was born into indigenous foster care in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has since moved across the country for university and now lives in Ottawa. Ashley is interested in producing meaningful research, impactful programs, and policy recommendations to evaluate and address the child welfare system, with particular attention to on- and off-reserve First Nations youth in care. Ashley is thrilled to join the YICC Board of Directors and hopes her intersectional identities and experience in research and communications positively contribute to the organization’s mission. Ashley has been on the YICC Board of Directors since November 2017 and has served as President since November 2018.

ARISHA KHAN

YICC Vice President, Director for Quebec

Arisha is a student studying Health and Social Policy at McGill University. She spent time in and out of care in Ontario until supports were terminated on her 18th birthday. As a result, she is passionate about ensuring that youth are aware of their rights and that the policies and programs that serve them are reflective of their needs and lived realities. Arisha has represented the voices of youth in care at the regional and provincial levels. She successfully championed for the creation of two youth seats on her Children’s Aid Society’s Board of Directors and was subsequently appointed to serve on the Board. She also served as a Public Appointee on the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities where she led the first province-wide listening tour to gather and report on the voices of marginalized and underserved youth. Arisha is delighted to serve on YICC’s Board of Directors and hopes to use her time at YICC to strengthen localized research and advocacy to create impactful reform within the child welfare system. Arisha has been on the YICC Board of Directors since November 2016.

NATASHA REIMER

YICC Treasurer, Director for Manitoba

Natasha is Indigenous and Caribbean and spent most of her life  bouncing around different group and foster homes. She is currently in her final year of undergraduate studies at the University of Winnipeg. Her major is in Criminal Justice and her minors are 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. 

JOHNATHAN KOPCHUK

Director for Manitoba

Johnathan is an alumnus of Child and Family Services (CFS) care in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has successfully graduated from Gordon Bell High School despite facing the many challenges from being in CFS. Johnathan has received numerous scholarships for his outstanding work supporting ELA students and grade 7 and 8 band students. He has completed three and half years at the University of Manitoba in the Theatre and Music program with the goal of becoming a Performing Arts teacher. Johnathan is currently working for Voices: Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network as a Youth Outreach Worker. Johnathan is excited to be on the YICC Board to help make a better system for kids in care provincially and nationally. Johnathan loves to play music, is a licensed Zumba fitness instructor and can’t wait to share his passions with all of you! Johnathan has been on the YICC Board of Directors since November 2017.

AMANDA PAYNE

Director for Saskatchewan

Amanda is currently an Early Child Educator at a daycare & thoroughly enjoys her job. She is working towards a degree in childhood education. Amanda owns & runs a photography business that is her passion she hopes to some day run it full time. She is married to a fellow former foster child and together they have 2 kids. During her spare time, Amanda enjoys being involved in other non-profit organizations, reading, scrapbooking, and of course photography. She was in foster care for 6 years in Saskatchewan, and got connected with her local youth in care network when she was 13. Amanda served on the provincial network for 3 years as a youth and then for several years as an adult.  She has had many opportunities through the provincial network and looks forward to helping today’s youth become exposed to great opportunities! Amanda has been on the YICC Board of Directors since November 2016.

JESSICA MCFARLANE

Director for Saskatchewan

Jessica McFarlane lives in Regina, Saskatchewan and has been involved in Networking for 15 wonderful years. She considers herself fortunate to have been involved in Networking on a local, provincial, and national level. Youth in Care Networks played a huge role in her growth as a young person from care and has long been one of her best support systems. Jessica has met some of her favourite people through youth in care networks and is forever grateful for that. She is excited for the opportunity to give back to an organization that has given so much to her and to be a voice for young people through Youth in Care Canada. Jessica has most recently been on the YICC Board of Directors since October 2014.

MICHELLE CHARLIE

Director for Yukon

Michelle Charlie was 7 and a half years old when she first went into care. She has since been in 2 foster families as well as in group homes. Michelle is currently finishing up her last bit of high school work prior to graduation. She spent the summer of 2016 farming at the TH Farm School in Dawson City, Yukon. Michelle has been active all different kinds of sports, such as soccer and basketball. She has decided to express her kindness by being involved in YICC. Michelle has been on the YICC Board of Directors since November 2016.

NICOLE WITHERS

Director for Newfoundland and Labrador

Nicole comes all the way from the east coast, St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador. She spent time in care as a child, and had many interactions with the child protection system until her early 20’s. As a child she was a dreamer, and always envisioned a brighter and better life for herself and her future family. As she got older, Nicole began to witness and see the injustices that were happening all around her. She developed a strong sense of awareness and insight, which motivated her onto the path of pursuing social justice. She has been involved within the community on a provincial and national level, engaging with diverse populations, but always coming back to her roots. Nicole is currently in the 3rd year of social work at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Through all of her identities, as a community leader, student, employee, and past client, she utilizes her experiences, knowledge, and awareness to engage conversations and impact structural systems. As a new board member, Nicole wishes to bring her strengths and abilities to the table. Nicole has been on the YICC Board of Directors since November 2016.

SANDRA NOEL

Director for the Northwest Territories 

My name is Sandra Noel, I am the Director for the Northwest Territories at Youth in Care Canada. I applied for the position because, I want to help make a difference in children’s lives who are in care. I myself, was in foster care for 9 years in the north. I can relate to many of the different reasons why children go into care, and areas of the foster care system. I am the process of receiving the rest of my foster care records, from the Territorial Social Programs of the GNWT. 
 
My role and goals as Director for the NWT at Youth in Care Canada, are to do outreach to organizations, maintain current relationships with partnering places, raise awareness of issues for youth in care, and fundraise monetary contributions so Youth in Care Canada can continue to do good work. I want to learn as much as possible, and utilize the skills to keep helping others, throughput my life. I am grateful and honoured to be apart of Youth in Care Canada. 

NIKKI LITTLE

Director for Newfoundland and Labrador

Hello, my name is Nikki Little, I am from Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador. However, I am currently residing in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador as I am in the last year of my undergraduate degree in Social Work. I became interested in social work once I became old enough to realize how social workers helped me throughout my childhood. I entered into foster care around the age of 7-years-old, I was later adopted by my third set of foster parents at the age of 14. I have had a lot of encounters with social workers and I knew that I wanted to help someone else the same way I received help when I was younger. My goal is to become a social worker within a child protection agency with a focus on foster care so that I can advocate for those that experience the injustices that are present within the foster care system. 

ASHLEY BELL

Director for Ontario

Hello, my name is Ashley, I’m from a small town in Ontario about 2 hours outside of Toronto and currently working to finish up my undergrad by this spring at McMaster University. In May I will have successfully graduated with an Honours Bachelors of Sociology, a minor in Mental Health and Addiction, and a Certificate from Mohawk College in Leadership and Management in the Non-Profit Sector; I will soon be registering at the University of Toronto for a Concurrent Disorders Program. Additionally, I’m fortunate enough to be a part of the Youth Advocate Steering Committee within OACAS. This committee acts as a voice for youth in care by advocating primarily with leadership of the child welfare sector for improvements for children and youth in care and advising on child welfare sector policies and initiatives. 
 
Life was not always good for me, but I have found that my adversities have given me perspective and a strong desire to help others.  “As long as you keep going, you’ll keep getting better.” This is a quote that I’ve taken on as my own little personal philosophy. I believe that life isn’t always easy, and it will get hard at times, we will have downfalls, but we will get through it because we are capable of many amazing things and life won’t be like that for long; a new chapter will begin and you will be conquering your next journey. So no matter what life decides to put in front of us, believe that you will always get to the other side. 
 
I’m  thankful for the opportunity to be a part of YICC and excited for what’s next. 

WINSTON CHAN

Director for Ontario

Winston grew up in Barrie, Ontario for most of his life until he entered care at the age of 15, where he ended up moving to Bradford. Winston currently lives in Scarborough, where he is a 4th year student at the University of Toronto, doing a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology. Outside of academics, Winston also enjoys playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game, where he has won numerous trophies, in addition to several scholarships, based on his performance. Winston describes himself as an exceptionally curious individual, who likes to use his analytical skills to gain insight and understand how to best improve child welfare on a systemic level. Winston is also a member of the Youth Advisory and Steering Committee (YASC) and volunteers at a low-income tax clinic in his spare time. Winston recently joined the YICC Board of Directors in November 2018.

MIKE MCGUIRE

YICC Past President, Director for Manitoba

Mike spent much of his childhood in care in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and moved to Ottawa at 18 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Political Science at Carleton University. He was a recipient of the Ken Dryden Scholarship from 2000 to 2003. After Carleton, Mike moved to Europe, where in 2005 he obtained a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris in France. He then returned to Ottawa and began his current career working for the federal government. Mike believes that all kids in care should be given the opportunity to succeed and be empowered to speak out for positive changes in the system. He has been on the Board of Directors of Youth in Care Canada since October 2014, and served as YICC President from November 2016 to November 2018.