Board

Everyone on YouthCO's Board of Directors is a youth! Together, we are responsible for providing organizational leadership, upholding YouthCO’s mission, values, and approaches, YouthCO’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and operating in the best interests of youth most impacted by HIV and Hep C.

New Board members are always welcome to get in touch and learn more about our responsibilities, and how to get involved in governance at YouthCO! To contact us, email board@youthco.org.

Ariel

Ariel

pronouns: she, her, hers

Ariel moved to Vancouver from Toronto in 2016 and getting involved with YouthCO has been her favourite part about living on the west coast! Ariel loves youth-centred environments and has worked with young people in Vancouver, Toronto and New York in various capacities, including as a teacher, camp counsellor, and sexual health educator. Ariel is passionate about youth-focused health promotion and de-stigmatizing HIV in our community and globally. She strongly believes that HIV criminalization hurts everyone, especially youth living with HIV. Ariel is a masters student at UBC and works as a qualitative researcher at the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. Her research focuses on how gender can shape experiences of the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, especially among youth and young women. She is enthusiastic about using law, policy and research to improve experiences of health and wellbeing. When she’s not at work or at school, Ariel enjoys binge-watching reality TV and snuggling with dogs!

pronouns: she, her, hers

Ariel moved to Vancouver from Toronto in 2016 and getting involved with YouthCO has been her favourite part about living on the west coast! Ariel loves youth-centred environments and has worked with young people in Vancouver, Toronto and New York in various capacities, including as a teacher, camp counsellor, and sexual health educator. Ariel is passionate about youth-focused health promotion and de-stigmatizing HIV in our community and globally. She strongly believes that HIV criminalization hurts everyone, especially youth living with HIV. Ariel is a masters student at UBC and works as a qualitative researcher at the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. Her research focuses on how gender can shape experiences of the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, especially among youth and young women. She is enthusiastic about using law, policy and research to improve experiences of health and wellbeing. When she’s not at work or at school, Ariel enjoys binge-watching reality TV and snuggling with dogs!

Chenoa Cassidy-Matthews

Chenoa Cassidy-Matthews

pronouns: she, her, hers

Chenoa is a Nishnawbe:kwe of Sachigo Lake First Nation (she/her), and is currently a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Her research centers the experiences of urban Indigenous young people who use drugs and takes a positive action approach to better meet their access needs. Chenoa was raised in a small town near Ottawa, ON and moved to British Columbia to pursue graduate school. She holds a Master of Public Health specializing in Global Health from Simon Fraser University, and loves CrossFit, outdoor adventure sports, and trivia. Chenoa is a teacher at the Native Education College and a research associate at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

pronouns: she, her, hers

Chenoa is a Nishnawbe:kwe of Sachigo Lake First Nation (she/her), and is currently a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Her research centers the experiences of urban Indigenous young people who use drugs and takes a positive action approach to better meet their access needs. Chenoa was raised in a small town near Ottawa, ON and moved to British Columbia to pursue graduate school. She holds a Master of Public Health specializing in Global Health from Simon Fraser University, and loves CrossFit, outdoor adventure sports, and trivia. Chenoa is a teacher at the Native Education College and a research associate at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

Jessy Dame

Jessy Dame

pronouns: he, him, his

Jessy Dame is a very proud Two-Spirit Métis Certified Registered Nurse within Vancouver Coastal Health. He has worked within neonatal care, remote practice within Indigenous communities, and currently works within a Queer focused sexual health clinic downtown Vancouver. Jessy is currently working on completing his Master of Nursing, with a focus on self-identified MSM/Two-Spirit peoples and sexual health. Primary areas within sexual health include Sexual Self-Worth, sexual violence, suicide, and the resulting Health outcomes. Jessy can usually be found chatting to anyone who will listen or walking the Seawall with his service dog Berlin.

pronouns: he, him, his

Jessy Dame is a very proud Two-Spirit Métis Certified Registered Nurse within Vancouver Coastal Health. He has worked within neonatal care, remote practice within Indigenous communities, and currently works within a Queer focused sexual health clinic downtown Vancouver. Jessy is currently working on completing his Master of Nursing, with a focus on self-identified MSM/Two-Spirit peoples and sexual health. Primary areas within sexual health include Sexual Self-Worth, sexual violence, suicide, and the resulting Health outcomes. Jessy can usually be found chatting to anyone who will listen or walking the Seawall with his service dog Berlin.

Katrina Koehn

Katrina Koehn

pronouns: she, her, hers

Katrina joined YouthCO as a board member in 2018, and is currently in the final year of her studies at Simon Fraser. She has worked as a research assistant at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS for almost 3 years, and has studied topics such as food security and supportive housing. Katrina is passionate about community-based research, and turning knowledge into action. Growing up in Metro Vancouver, she enjoys cycling in the rain, dry humour, and getting lost in reddit forums. She also dabbles in the Vancouver brewery scene, particularly because they close early, which fits well with her bedtime schedule.

pronouns: she, her, hers

Katrina joined YouthCO as a board member in 2018, and is currently in the final year of her studies at Simon Fraser. She has worked as a research assistant at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS for almost 3 years, and has studied topics such as food security and supportive housing. Katrina is passionate about community-based research, and turning knowledge into action. Growing up in Metro Vancouver, she enjoys cycling in the rain, dry humour, and getting lost in reddit forums. She also dabbles in the Vancouver brewery scene, particularly because they close early, which fits well with her bedtime schedule.

Gerrilynn Manitowabi

Gerrilynn Manitowabi

pronouns: she, her, hers

Gerrilynn is an Anishinaabe kwe from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in northern Ontario. She completed both her undergraduate and Masters's degrees at Western University. Gerrilynn recently moved to North Vancouver for work as a Senior Policy Analyst, where her work focuses on palliative care, and home and community care. She is passionate about Indigenous health and empowering young people to live healthy, active lives and to become leaders in their communities. Before leaving Ontario, in her home community, Gerrilynn was a hockey coach, hosted youth information sessions on voting in federal elections, and was a board member with the Wikwemikong Nursing Home. When she’s not working, Gerrilynn enjoys playing hockey, hiking in North Vancouver, gin sodas on the porch with a friend, and trying to not kill her house plants.

pronouns: she, her, hers

Gerrilynn is an Anishinaabe kwe from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in northern Ontario. She completed both her undergraduate and Masters's degrees at Western University. Gerrilynn recently moved to North Vancouver for work as a Senior Policy Analyst, where her work focuses on palliative care, and home and community care. She is passionate about Indigenous health and empowering young people to live healthy, active lives and to become leaders in their communities. Before leaving Ontario, in her home community, Gerrilynn was a hockey coach, hosted youth information sessions on voting in federal elections, and was a board member with the Wikwemikong Nursing Home. When she’s not working, Gerrilynn enjoys playing hockey, hiking in North Vancouver, gin sodas on the porch with a friend, and trying to not kill her house plants.

Gbolahan "GB" Olarewaju

Gbolahan "GB" Olarewaju

pronouns: he, him, his

GB is extremely happy to serve on the YouthCO board. He hails from Nigeria and immigrated to Canada for university. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate education at the University of Guelph in Ontario and is now a medical student at UBC. As a queer Black immigrant, he has a keen interest in advocacy for marginalized people including immigrants, queer, Black, Indigenous and other people of color. While in Ontario he volunteered with ARCH Guelph and was a board member with the Guelph Black Heritage Society. He continued to apply his advocacy interest through interdisciplinary work and research experience as the Coordinator of International, Multi-Faith and Refugee programs at UofGuelph, and more recently as the Vancouver coordinator for the national gay, bisexual and queer men’s health study Engage (BC CfE). While completing his medical education, he continues his advocacy work as vice-chair of the YouthCO board and as inaugural Chair of the Black Medical Students Association of Canada. Feel free to reach out to him if you ever want to chat about anything!

pronouns: he, him, his

GB is extremely happy to serve on the YouthCO board. He hails from Nigeria and immigrated to Canada for university. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate education at the University of Guelph in Ontario and is now a medical student at UBC. As a queer Black immigrant, he has a keen interest in advocacy for marginalized people including immigrants, queer, Black, Indigenous and other people of color. While in Ontario he volunteered with ARCH Guelph and was a board member with the Guelph Black Heritage Society. He continued to apply his advocacy interest through interdisciplinary work and research experience as the Coordinator of International, Multi-Faith and Refugee programs at UofGuelph, and more recently as the Vancouver coordinator for the national gay, bisexual and queer men’s health study Engage (BC CfE). While completing his medical education, he continues his advocacy work as vice-chair of the YouthCO board and as inaugural Chair of the Black Medical Students Association of Canada. Feel free to reach out to him if you ever want to chat about anything!

Kristi Papamihali

Kristi Papamihali

Ariel Sernick

Ariel Sernick

pronouns: she, her, hers

Ariel moved to Vancouver from Toronto in 2016 and getting involved with YouthCO has been her favourite part about living on the west coast! Ariel loves youth-centred environments and has worked with young people in Vancouver, Toronto and New York in various capacities, including as a teacher, camp counsellor, and sexual health educator. Ariel is passionate about youth-focused health promotion and de-stigmatizing HIV in our community and globally. She strongly believes that HIV criminalization hurts everyone, especially youth living with HIV. Ariel is a masters student at UBC and works as a qualitative researcher at the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. Her research focuses on how gender can shape experiences of the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, especially among youth and young women. She is enthusiastic about using law, policy and research to improve experiences of health and wellbeing. When she’s not at work or at school, Ariel enjoys binge-watching reality TV and snuggling with dogs!

pronouns: she, her, hers

Ariel moved to Vancouver from Toronto in 2016 and getting involved with YouthCO has been her favourite part about living on the west coast! Ariel loves youth-centred environments and has worked with young people in Vancouver, Toronto and New York in various capacities, including as a teacher, camp counsellor, and sexual health educator. Ariel is passionate about youth-focused health promotion and de-stigmatizing HIV in our community and globally. She strongly believes that HIV criminalization hurts everyone, especially youth living with HIV. Ariel is a masters student at UBC and works as a qualitative researcher at the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. Her research focuses on how gender can shape experiences of the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, especially among youth and young women. She is enthusiastic about using law, policy and research to improve experiences of health and wellbeing. When she’s not at work or at school, Ariel enjoys binge-watching reality TV and snuggling with dogs!