Who We Are

OUR PEOPLE

Leadership Team

Marlon Merraro, Executive Director

Marlon Merraro

Executive Director

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mmerraro@peacebuilders.ca

MARLON'S BIO

Marlon is a well-recognized social systems architect with a clear focus on poverty reduction and the social determinants of health and justice within a dynamic framework of equity and inclusion.

Marlon brings 25 years of experience in leadership positions within Health, Education, and Justice both within Government, the non-profit sector and as a consultant within the social innovation sector. Ultimately, becoming one of Canada’s Governor General Leadership members, who were brought together to assist in solving cross-country complex social issues. Marlon is known for spearheading creative strategies that are not only ambitious, but effective in addressing complex social issues, resulting in improved and more equitable systems and community services across the City of Toronto.

As an avid cyclist who has explored every corner of this City, and many other cities around the world, Marlon’s professional practice focuses on the interrelated systems between physical and social environments as being instrumental in fostering or hindering the health and justice of a community and its members.

Marlon holds a Masters in Critical Disability from York University, a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Ryerson University and a Non-profit Leadership Certificate from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Currently, Marlon is the Executive Director of Peacebuilders Canada and a Director of the Board for Toronto Children’s Aid Society, and a mentor/support/friend to numerous emerging and responsive grassroots change leaders.

Lorna Richards, Restorative Justice Programs Manager

Lorna Richards

Restorative Justice Programs Manager

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lrichards@pecebuilders.ca

LORNA'S BIO

Lorna Richards has a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and is a part-time professor at Humber College in the Social Service Work program. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Science and additional qualifications and experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Training & Development, Human Resource, & Non-Profit Management and Anti-oppression training.

Lorna’s leadership spans across many communities and organizations in the City of Toronto, where she has successfully led large scale Justice Diversion Projects which focused on restorative practices and community mediation-based services. She also has considerable experience and a proven track record in program design, development, implementation and evaluation.

Whether working directly with youth, community residents or key stakeholders, Lorna incorporates a social justice, client-centered, Anti Black Racism/Anti-oppression approach to her work. Additionally, Lorna has a passion and experience with low income neighbourhoods working with the youth and families in issues that range from homelessness, education, community development and social recreation.

Laura Sardella

Youth Justice and Advocacy Lawyer

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lsardella@peacebuilders.ca

LAURA'S BIO

It is Laura’s passion for social justice that led her to her role at Peacebuilders, a passion that grew from her volunteer work with stateless persons in the Dominican Republic. Through this work, Laura gained an appreciation for the importance of a responsive, equitable and accessible justice system.  She later pursued her graduate research in this area, focusing on a justice system’s role in protecting and advancing international human rights and human development, and obtained her Master of Arts degree in Political Science from York University in 2009.

After graduate school, Laura went on to obtain a law degree from the University of Windsor in 2012.  She spent much of her time during law school volunteering at Windsor’s Community Legal Aid Clinic, providing legal assistance to low-income community members.  She also volunteered at Justice for Children and Youth, a legal aid clinic in Toronto, where she came to understand the unique relationship between youth and the justice system in Toronto. This work helped direct her commitment to advocating for social justice toward youth in her own city.

Before joining Peacebuilders, Laura practiced civil litigation at a personal injury firm in Toronto, where she advocated for the rights of injured people and people living with disabilities.  In addition to her law degree and master’s degree, Laura holds an Honours BA in Political Science and History from the University of Western Ontario.

Ann Tang

Director of Operations and Donor Engagement

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atang@peacebuilders.ca

ANN'S BIO

Ann has over 25 years of experience working and managing in a not-for-profit setting. Before joining Peacebuilders, Ann was the Administrative Manager for the Integra Program operated by the Child Development Institute, a specialized mental health centre for children and youth with mental health issues complicated by learning disabilities (LDMH). Ann has many years of experience working closely with stakeholders — families, staff, volunteers, board members and community agencies. 

Staff Team

Kennisha Archer

Restorative Justice Coordinator

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karcher@peacebuilders.ca

KENNISHA'S BIO

Kennisha Archer is a graduate of Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Social Work. Through working within many youth centered agencies and programs, she has gained a background in education, homelessness, crisis management, and gender-based violence.

Operating from a trauma-informed, Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive framework, Kennisha uses these skills to strive towards cultivating spaces centered around learning, unlearning, and self-exploration. She believes being an advocate for change means unapologetic, bold, and integrity-based actions that center the needs of the community.

In her spare time, Kennisha can be found doing Yoga, writing film reviews, and watching an unhealthy amount of reality TV.

Ali Belisle

Restorative Schools Coordinator

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abelisle@peacebuilders.ca

ALI'S BIO

Ali is committed to helping youth and their families navigate the educational system. With a focus on capacity-building and social change, Ali hopes to provide youth with a space where they can gain the knowledge and tools needed for self-reflection and empowerment to make positive changes in their lives and communities.

Ali has a BA and BSW from York University and first became interested in restorative practices as a volunteer Youth Justice Conference facilitator in northern Ontario. In her spare time, Ali likes to watch movies and read books, watch more movies and read more books.

Rachelle Bloomfield

Restorative Schools Coordinator

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rbloomfield@peacebuilders.ca

RACHELLE'S BIO

Rachelle has seen the negative impacts of the youth justice system on  racialized, Aboriginal, and marginalized youth in both her personal and professional life and believes that restorative justice can help undo the negative impacts of the criminal justice system for young people and their communities. Rachelle has over six years experience working with youth in counselling and residential treatment, case management and outreach support.

Because of her experience and the experiences of the countless people she’s encountered along this journey of life, she always aims to show youth that they can overcome the obstacles they will experience and that it really is true, “it’s beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success.” (J.Cole – Love Yourz). In her spare time, Rachelle likes to write, listen to music, workout and watch a wide variety of shows from Real Housewives to The Originals to anything on the VICE channel.

Phillip Chuck Jr.

Youth Mentorship Coordinator

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pchuck@peacebuilders.ca

PHILIP'S BIO

I have chosen to walk down the road of restorative youth justice not because I am a “GOOD MAN” that wants to participate in idea of change. Rather, I stepped onto this road of beliefs and hopes for youth as a “FLAWED MAN” who recognizes his own accountability in the hurdles that he now has to leap, as well as the contributions that he has made to the cycle of violence that persists and torments our communities.

Despite my own accountability, I understand the socio-economic conditions that at one point armed a child who was lost, lacking a sense of identity, home and safety with a gun and bag of crack and told him, that this was the only way get “HIS”. So now as this “FLAWED INDIVIDUAL” I see the necessity for change, for actual change, the need to disarm our children and rearm them with knowledge of self and the recognition that despite the hindrance of the socio-economic circumstances that there is hope, identity, home and safety for them.

Alexandria Hamilton

Public Interest Articling Fellow

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ahamilton@peacebuilders.ca

ALEXANDRIA'S BIO

Alexandria Hamilton graduated from the University of Windsor’s joint Master of Social Work and Juris Doctor program in 2020. Prior to law school, Alexandria attended Wilfrid Laurier University where she received a B.A. in Criminology and Contemporary Studies. It was during this time that Alexandria discovered her passion for youth justice while completing a placement at Why Not Youth Center in Brantford, Ontario. Here, Alex was inspired to pursue an MSW/ J.D. in an effort to enhance her capacity to assist youth and their families.

Throughout law school, Alexandria continued to be engaged with children, youth and families. She completed a placement with the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society, summered with a child protection lawyer and volunteered at Windsor’s Community Legal Aid Clinic.

Moheen Lombard

Restorative Schools Engagement Facilitator

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mlombard@peacebuilders.ca

MOHEEN'S BIO

Moheen worked as a Mediator, Facilitator and Coordinator of Conflict Resolution Services with Warden Woods Community Centre; working hands on in the community for over twelve years offering mediation and training services in areas of family, workplace and community disputes. Moheen has spent several years working in close relationships with schools to mentor and empower youth who struggle with self-esteem, racism, peer pressure, social economical struggles, depression and suicide. Moheen has created strong partnerships with the Toronto Police Services, Toronto District School Board and the Scarborough Courts. 

In her position as a Restorative Schools Engagement Facilitator, Moheen works directly with partner schools to develop shared language and vision that will support the school in embracing a restorative mindset.

Jerome Mattison

Youth Diversion Coordinator

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jmattison@peacebuilders.ca

JEROME'S BIO

Jerome is passionate about helping people—especially youth—overcome oppression and marginalization and work towards more positive futures. He completed the community worker program at George Brown College in 2015 as well as a degree in social work at Ryerson University. Jerome has various professional and volunteer experience in the community and youth sectors, including previous positions with the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club, Tropicana, Ryerson University, Homelessness Connect, and the MLSE LaunchPad.

Growing up in Regent Park, Jerome witnessed firsthand how economic and social barriers can contribute to young people’s marginalization. He knows that young people can overcome these barriers and reach their full potential given the right opportunities and support.

Asad Siddiqui

Operations & Engagement Coordinator

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asiddiqui@peacebuilders.ca

ASAD'S BIO

Asad joined Peacebuilders to pursue his growing interest in justice and the non-profit sector. He holds a B.Comm from Ryerson University, with a background in hospitality management and digital marketing. When Asad is not busy keeping the Peacebuilders office in step, or planning for the annual fundraising gala, he’s making plans to combine his two greatest passions: travelling and sports. Think flying to Madrid to watch a Champions League Final.

Youth Leaders

Stevine Ngioba Bitifil, Youth Leader at Peacebuilders Canada

Stevine Ngioba Bitifil

STEVINE'S BIO

Stevine is currently attending York University and is very big on activism. She believes that everyone can be an activist, that you don’t exactly have to go out in the street and protest to be considered an activist. Rather, it is the little things that can be done such as speaking your mind and expressing yourself to demonstrate your “inner” activist.

Her current Youth Lead role with Peacebuilders Canada and as a Youth Facilitator with the Real Talk, Real Real Solutions: Community Dialogue Initiative, gives Stevine the opportunity to do so by helping her peers and fellow youth in the best way that she can. She is a firm believer that through hard work and unity that we can accomplish miracles.

Daveisha Francis, Youth Leader at Peacebuilders Canada

Daveisha Francis

DAVEISHA'S BIO

Daveisha Francis is a 2nd year neuroscience student at the University of Sussex. Before pursuing her education in the UK, Daveisha actively engaged in her community, co-facilitating workshops for Black youth to address the systematic, oppressive rape culture, racism and colourism in today’s society. She is also a recognized spoken word poet who aims to cultivate resilience in others, bring awareness to specific issues and share about overcoming personal obstacles.

Daveisha aspires to become a speech pathologist to help those with traumatic brain injuries regain the ability to communicate. She has been the recipient of several awards including the 2018 Town of Ajax Good Deeds Award, 2019 Valedictorian, and the 2020 Town of Ajax Diversity & Community Engagement Award. In her position as a Youth Lead at Peacebuilders, Daveisha hopes to acquire further knowledge on how to work with and for youth, and further understand organizational maturity as an aspiring healthcare professional.

Janet Rosina Lawrence, Youth Leader at Peacebuilders Canada

Janet Rosina Lawrence

JANET'S BIO

Janet Rosina Lawrence, at 19 years of age, is the second oldest in a family of five siblings. She is currently striving to make a positive impact and lasting impression on youth coming from communities similar to her own, Regent Park. Where being a melanated body she was made to feel vulnerable and told she was “at-risk” and quickly had to learn that even within the educational and justice systems that were meant to educate and protect her; that her body and person is subject to discrimination. Knowing this, she is determined to be resilient and rise above the negative stereotypes and labels cast onto her and others like her.

In her current role as a Youth Lead with Peacebuilders Canada she is building a better understanding of the justice system so that in the future she can assist her peers and fellow youth navigate its challenges and rise up above the circumstances that unfortunately led to them being before the courts, so they too can have a life after the justice system that is positive and meaningful.

Bushira Nakitende, Youth Leader at Peacebuilders Canada

Bushira Nakitende

BUSHIRA'S BIO

Bushira is committed to helping her peers and fellow youth gain access to the supports they need to create a positive change within themselves as well as in their families and communities. In her commitment, she focuses on the capacity building of youth and the development of both professional and social life skills to prepare youth to advocate for themselves and to navigate both community and employment spaces with ease.

In her role as a Youth Lead with Peacebuilders Canada and a Youth Facilitator with the Real Talk, Real Solutions: Community Dialogue Initiative, she works from her belief that anyone can overcome anything as long as they have the right supports available to them and the right people to lean on. In this belief she strives to be that person for peers and fellow youth because she knows what it is to have no one to help guide or mentor her. It is support such as this that Bushira believes created the opportunity for her to attend the Guelph-Humber University Bachelor program for Social Sciences.

Ayala Williams, Youth Leader at Peacebuilders Canada

Ayala Williams

AYALA'S BIO

I have been blessed with the opportunity of being a Youth Lead with Peacebuilders Canada. As a young person who has experienced her own fair share of trauma and knows first hand the hardship of getting your life back on track after rocky times, I am striving towards being a set of open ears and a mentor for other young people looking to get their lives back on track.

My goal is to attend university and major in forensic science with a minor that focuses strongly on youth outreach and engagement.  That way I can do both of the things I love. My goal while working with Peacebuilders Canada is to support and help as many youth as I can to overcome obstacles that are in the way of their goals and aspirations.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Sammir Assaf
Anna Buchanan
Michael Ceccarelli
Adam Delva
Stephanie DiGiuseppe
Andrew Freedman
Geoffrey Goad
Eva Marszewski
Amy Stoyan
Mark Wright

HONOURARY PATRONS

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean
C.P., C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.
27th Governor General and 
Commander-in-Chief of Canada 
(2005-2010)

The Honourable Louise Arbour
C.C, G.O.Q.
Senior Counsel, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

The Honourable Warren K. Winkler
O.C., O.Ont, Q.C. LL.D. (Hon.)
Former Chief Justice of Ontario

The Honourable Roy R. McMurtry
O.C., O.Ont
Former Chief Justice of Ontario

COUNCIL OF ADVISORS

Professor Kathy Bickmore
Professor Anthony Doob, C.M., F.R.S.C.
Dorion Kingsmill
Barbara Murray
Paul Stoyan
Barry Stuart
Ryan Teschner