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Co-researchers

Donovan O'Neil Allen is a former Crown Ward. He is 25 years old. He is a founding member of the Voyager Project and thinks of himself as the 'glue' that bridges the different generations of Voyagers together. Among his many accomplishments, he has just completed his Transitions to Post-Secondary Education Certificate at George Brown College. He is currently attending a fashion industry certificate program, developed a clothing line during his engagement with the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (PARC) entrepreneurial program, and dreams to one day own his own business. He joined the Partnering for Change Research Project because he is interested in helping the research team to find solutions to the problems facing homeless youth with learning or mental disabilities. In addition, through his involvement with the project, he hopes to gain experience and network with other members in the community who share similar passion. He is a co-researcher at the local Toronto City Committee for the Partnering for Change Research Project.

Nathan Gray is a member of the Voyager project, which aims to improve the educational attainment of crown wards by encouraging young people in care to pursue their educational aspiration. He was also involved in directing a peer mentoring video. He is a rhythm and blues (RnB) singer. He joined the Partnering for Change Research Project because he is interested in research that addresses the systemic barriers faced by homeless young people with learning, developmental and mental disabilities. He hoped that this knowledge will reach a wider audience and inform change in policy and practices that serve this population. He is a co-researcher at the local Toronto City Committee for the Partnering for Change Research Project.

Kyla-Jade Stewart is a 2nd year student at Mohawk College studying Child and Youth Care. She is also an active member of the Social Planning Research Council Street Youth Planning Collaborative Youth Leader’s Committee (YLC). Kyla’s role on the YLC is to spread awareness regarding issues and trends and needs around marginalized youth through monthly meetings, presenting at workshops, conferences as well as public speaking venues and conducting and engaging in research based activities. Kyla won the Social Worker Award on behalf of her secondary school at the graduation ceremony. Kyla has deep knowledge and experience regarding youth engagement and barriers to youth employment and education through her studies and commitment to the YLC. She is a co-researcher at the local Hamilton City Committee for the Partnering for Change Research Project.

Tyler Henderson is currently completing his Ontario Secondary School Diploma. He is an active member on many Hamilton Councils. He is a youth advisor on the Social Planning Research Council Street Youth Planning Collaborative Youth Leader’s Committee. He holds a position on the Youth Committee at the Youth Wellness Centre. He is a strong advocate on behalf of the downtown services and secondary schools on the Mobile Implementation Team at St. Joseph’s Youth Wellness Centre. Tyler actively engages in public speaking and workshops for youth audiences. Having faced adversity in his own life around issues of mental health and addiction, he is committed to supporting other youth in similar situations and give back to the community. He is a co-researcher at the local Hamilton City Committee for the Partnering for Change Research Project.

Karrissa Horan-LaRoche is eighteen years old. She is currently on the Social Planning Research Council Street Youth Planning Collaborative Youth Leader’s Committee, whose goal is to improve the system that supports homeless youth. She is also working with a team of individuals to identify barriers in access to services that help youth find employment and find solutions to break down those barriers. In addition, she is a member of the Learning Annex, whose goal is to connect the services into one. She enjoys helping people and wants to enable equal opportunities for all people. Her future goal is to become a Child and Youth Worker in residential housing. She is a co-researcher at the local Hamilton City Committee for the Partnering for Change Research Project.

Lisa Woelfl is an active member in the disability community. She has many years of experience volunteering in the YWCA kitchen. She has a variety of interests, she participated in the CRAFT program and cooking lessons. Currently, she devotes her energy and creativity in creating arts and crafts. She is excited to be part of the Partnering for Change Research project because she cares about the disability community and hopes this research can help support individuals living with intellectual, developmental and learning disabilities. She is a co-researcher at the local Niagara City Committee for the Partnering for Change Research Project.

Heather Allan identifies herself as a unique-abilitied person with a love for life. Heather has spoken at many events about Williams Syndrome to help people understand the syndrome. She is a Christian who loves music, travel, and animals. Heather is excited to participate in the Partnering for Change Research Project to learn more about homelessness and the challenges in some people's lives. She hopes to use her sympathetic nature to help people in need. She is a co-researcher at the local Niagara City Committee for the Partnering for Change Research Project.