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MARY LAFONTAINE

Interim Managing Director

Mary joined PEACH in September 2007.
A native Torontonian, Mary grew up in Jane and Finch.
As a teen she became dependent on nonprofits and years later became inspired and quickly developed a deep passion for charitable work.
Over 25 years of resolve has stuck with her, and Mary now provides leadership to the PEACH team and ensures staff have the tools they need for effective program delivery.

 

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WAYNE BLACK

Youth Advocate

Wayne grew up in the Jane and Finch community and obtained a Child and Youth Worker diploma at Centennial College; he is currently furthering his education at Ryerson University for a Bachelor Degree.
Throughout the years Wayne has excelled in connecting with the youth of Jane and Finch because of his authenticity and respect he garners in the community.
Wayne has worked and volunteered for many organizations such as: Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club, San Romanoway Revitalization Centre and YAAACE.
Being a youth advocate for young people has given Wayne the opportunity to experience a variety of diverse issues that affects the community and continues to give him the drive to be a part of the youth’s support system.

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JELANI NIAS

Youth Outreach Worker

Jelani ‘J Wyze’ has been writing professionally for 16 years.
An accomplished spoken work artist, his poetry can be found in “Word Up: Spoken Words in Print” and on EMI Canada’s companion audio compilation also entitled ‘Word Up’.
His articles have been published by the Toronto Star and included in Canadian civic high school texts.
Where Eagles Crawl and Men Fly” is his first novel.
In his role as Youth Outreach Worker, Jelani connects Jane Finch youth to the programs and services they need when they need them.
He has enriched the Thursday Night Music Drop-In program by engaging youth in conversations about what is important to them.

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STEPHANIE MAZEROLLE

Project Coordinator – Asset Building Project

Having worked closely with PEACH through a research partnership between York University’s Faculty of Education and School of Social Work since 2012, Stephanie officially joined PEACH as a Project Coordinator in 2014.
Stephanie is a trained Sociologist and completed her Master of Education degree at York University in 2014.
Growing up in a small community in New Brunswick, she spent time as a youth in community based programs.
Stephanie feels strongly that community organizations in Jane Finch, such as PEACH are instrumental to positive youth development.
Stephanie is currently coordinating an exciting new collaborative project with Success Beyond Limits and The Spot! Where youth Wanna Be, introducing the 40 Developmental Assets Model framework of PYD to Jane Finch.

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RUBEN ESGUERRA

Project Coordinator – Music Programs

Ruben Esguerra is a multi-instrumentalist, lyricist and arts educator.
As a musician Ruben leads the 13 piece outfit New Tradition band and has written original scores for the CBC, City Life Film, Amnesty International and the National Film Board of Canada.
As a lyricist and spoken word artist he has presented his pieces in festivals held in Canada; Cuba; Venezuela; Colombia and Chile.
Highlights include being commissioned by the Remix Project and the Department of Canadian Heritage to create and perform a spoken word piece welcoming Canadian Governor General Michaëlle Jean to deliver the opening speech introducing the ‘Ignite the Americas’ conference.
As an arts educator Ruben has worked at York University teaching and lecturing since 2002.
Ruben currently facilitates workshops through the Ontario Arts Council’s Artist in Education Program bringing drumming and storytelling as a healthy form of self-expression to inner city schools as well as schools in rural areas across Ontario.
He works with multiple youth arts related projects in the Jane-Finch (Toronto) community including PEACH, Education Involved and Ausar Auset Canada to name a few.
Ruben is a PhD (ABD) candidate in Musicology/Ethnomusicology specializing in traditional and urban music.

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TALISHA RAMSAROOP

Project Coordinator – Youth Mental Health and Pre-Charge Diversion

Talisha joined PEACH in June 2015.
Originally from Guyana, Talisha migrated to Canada with her mom at the age of 2 and has called Jane Finch her home since.
In her teens Talisha became actively involved in community activism and has work and volunteered in several community organizations.
In 2014 Talisha Completed her Undergraduate degree (B. A Hons Sociology) at York University and is currently pursuing her MA in Sociology at York University.

 

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DENISE THOMAS

Music Engineer

Denise Thomas, instructor, engineer and mentor is also a singer/rapper/songwriter/producer and dancer, Denise has garnered comparisons to the likes of Missy Elliott, Estelle, Lauryn Hill and more.
Since graduating from the recording arts program at IADT (International Academy of Design), off stage she has put her experience to use as a youth engineer for PEACH.
On stage she has had the opportunity to perform at many events and venues such as The Government, The Opera House, Dundas Square and performed on a 5 city Ontario tour with Joell Ortiz in 2011.
In addition, she has also made an appearance on MuchMusic in which she was the only female rapper on the now defunct Rapcity battle.

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PAUL DE FRANCESCO

Music Engineer

Paul De Francesco, instructor and engineer, is an honour’s graduate from the audio engineering program at the Harris Institute.
Paul also has a wide range of recordings and mixes under his belt.
With years of audio experience Paul has been a valued associate to a number of artists and companies.
Paul’s experience spans from working in a personal setting to dealing with the general public on a daily basis.
As a freelance audio engineer his clients have included, GHTL on Rogers television, Abba entertainment dance group, Epkhosting.com as well as many local and international acts.
As the owner of Savilion Music Studios since 2005 Paul take’s pride in every piece of work exported from his facilities. The extensive list of artists and companies Paul have worked with has taught him how to be a part of a creative team with goals and guidelines.