Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is made up of volunteers who graciously devote their time and energy to the betterment of the Child and Youth Care practice in Alberta. They bring a rich and diverse set of skills, expertise, experiences, and interests to the board and are responsible for fostering the long-term success of their profession.
If you are interested in becoming a board or committee member please contact our office at email@example.com.
Michelle has been practicing in the field of child and youth care for over 25 years; with front line and management experience in residential services, community programs, treatment programs, and youth criminal justice programs. Michelle is currently an assistant professor at Mount Royal University in the Department of Child Studies and Social Work (Child and Youth Care Major).
Michelle is one of two CYCAA Board Members on the Steering Committee of FACT-AB, guiding legislation and working on the development of the College of Counselling Therapists Registration process. Michelle has been with the CYCAA in the role of Director of Research and Development, developing the online learning program; a member at large, Vice President, and Acting President.
Dana was born and raised in treaty 8 territory in Alberta, and she is an Indigenous Cree woman from Bigstone Cree Nation. In 2022, she completed her degree in Child and Youth Care at MacEwan University in Edmonton.
Dana is passionate about child and youth care and working with First Nations people. After graduating, she worked front line as a child and youth care worker in a residential setting with youth between the ages of 13 and 17. She is currently employed with the Edmonton Catholic School Division as a therapeutic assistant and in my practice, she uses a strength-based approach, a culturally sensitive approach, and a trauma-informed lens.
Dana presented with Asha Kumari, her former practicum supervisor, on the “Truth and Reconciliation Act and Allyship” at the International CYC Conference in Canmore in 2022. She has a lot of compassion for Indigenous peoples since that is a huge part of her own identity, and why she aspires to be an Indigenous advocate & role model.
She is currently expanding her experience in the field so that she can continue to grow as a practitioner. Dana’s long-term goal is to eventually continue her studies and complete a master’s degree. She is honoured to have the opportunity to be a part of the CYCAA board & to represent Indigenous Cree people.
Asha was born and raised in India, where she founded a non-profit organization to support women and children escaping domestic violence. Ten years ago, when she immigrated to Canada and wanted to continue working with children and youth. That is how she ended up enrolling in the Child and Youth Care Program at Grand MacEwan University. Her international experience working with children and youth, coupled with education in child and youth care, prepared her for the beautiful yet challenging journey ahead. She is a certified child and youth care counsellor since August 2020 and is passionate about working with children and youth.
Asha can fluently speak and understand Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and English language. Presently, she is working as a Foster Care and Youth Recreation Mentor Program Supervisor with Mountain Plains Family Services in Edmonton. She currently chairs the events committee as well as serves as the treasurer for the board of the Child and Youth Care Association of alberta. Asha recently presented on “ Truth & Reconciliation And Allyship” at the CYC National Conference along with her practicum student Dana Auger.
Asha is now preparing for a Master’s in Child and Youth Care and continues to make a positive difference in the lives of children & youth.
Pennie has been in the Child and Youth Care field for over 30 years, primarily with Hull Services in Calgary. Pennie became a Certified Child and Youth Care Counsellor (CCYCC) in 1996 and has worked in multiple programs, including group care, school, family work, foster care, mental health, and staff development.
In 2007 Pennie became involved with the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta and since has had several roles, including the Board of Directors, Chairperson of the Advanced Practice Committee, as well as the Alberta representative on the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Care Associations, where she has held positions as Director, Chair of the Communications Committee, Conference Committee member, Vice President, and currently, President.
Pamela has been in the field of Child and Youth Care since 1992. Her experience has encompassed youth justice, child protection and in recent years, a focus on trauma informed care primarily in foster care. This has included experience in residential services, community programs, and youth criminal justice programs.
She has a passion for working with children, youth and families from a trauma informed lens and supporting complex needs. Pamela has supervised and trained CYC and other professionals; facilitated training and program development.
Aju has called Alberta home since 2016. He was born and raised in India. He started working with children and youth after completing his bachelor’s in Social work from Calicut University in India in 2012. He worked with children in the institutions and worked as a child psychiatric social worker in a hospital-based setting and an HIV/ AIDS project for adults before moving to Canada in 2016.
He completed his diploma in Child and Youth Care from Lakeland College in 2018 and started working in residential care with Catholic Social Services. He moved to High Prairie in 2019 to work at the Government of Alberta Youth Assessment Center as a Child and Youth Care Counsellor. Currently, he works as Child and Youth Care Team Lead at High Prairie Youth Assessment Center, North Region, Children Services, Government of Alberta. Aju now supervises and trains Child and Youth Care Counsellors reporting to him.
He enjoys working with children on the frontline as it motivates him to learn and sharpen skills to deal with human behaviour and be part of the healing process for children who have experienced trauma in their lives.
Andrea was born and raised on Treaty 7 Territory, in a small farming community. She is of settler heritage with her ancestors being Danish, English and Irish. Even after travelling the world, the prairies have always been home to Andrea.
Andrea has been working in the field of Child and Youth Care for over 15 years. Her career has brought her to all three coasts in Canada, as well as internationally to Malaysia and Nepal. Andrea has graduated with a degree in Child and Youth Care from MacEwan University and a Master of Social Work – specializing in International and Community Development from the University of Calgary. Andrea’s previous work experience has been predominately frontline in youth residential settings, working with a wide variety of young people. Some of the most memorable moments of her career are from her time in Nunavut working with teenage boys, as a live-in Child and Youth Care Practitioner.
Andrea has always enjoyed sharing her passion and love for the outdoors with the young people she works with. She has created wilderness programs for different agencies and enjoys collaborating with community organizations to break down the barriers around accessibility to wilderness here in Alberta. After leaving frontline work, Andrea continues to stay passionate about connecting young people to the outdoors and is a current board member of Crossing the Divide.
Andrea currently works as an Instructor in the Child and Youth Care program at Bow Valley College in Calgary. She has enjoyed this new learning opportunity and is very excited to share her passion for policy, systems and social justice with the next generation of Child and Youth Care Counsellors.
Arian has been practicing in the field of child and youth care for 15 years; with front-line child welfare experience including management, supervisory and specialized roles in assessment and case management. Arian has experience in residential group care and treatment programs, with Catholic Social Services and Chimo Youth Retreat. Throughout Arian’s CYC career, he has primarily focused his areas of interest in child welfare assessment and intake. Arian has extensive training in forensic interviewing of sexually exploited children, violent risk threat assessment and working with Indigenous peoples. Arian is well known in Treaty Six as an advocate for Indigenous peoples’ cultural values and traditions. He works tirelessly in supporting truth and reconciliation and improving the way child welfare works and supports Indigenous service recipients.
Arian is a Certified Child and Youth Care Counsellor and graduate of two programs from Grant MacEwan University, a Bachelor of Child and Youth Care and a Diploma in Mental Health and Addictions. Currently, Arian is an Associate Director with the Government of Alberta Children’s Services Campus Based Treatment Centers (CBTC). Arian’s passion for this work has seen him glean and hone his craft from working in all areas of Alberta learning from Elders, leaders and First Nations community members. Arian has always been known for his exceptional relational skills and practice, as well as, his ability to connect and build relationships by creating great partnerships through solid collaboration and team building.
Arian is honoured to be on the Board of Directors for the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta and looks forward to moving the Association in the future to support all CYC practitioners in their field.
Leah graduated from the Child and Youth Care program at the Lethbridge Community College in 1992. Her experience includes residential group care, alternative junior and senior high school and early intervention and prevention work with the Parentlink Centre initiative.
Currently, Leah is a Programs Manager with McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association in Medicine Hat; overseeing Children’s Services contracts and utilizing her experience to assist with policy revision, service delivery consultation and leadership development. Leah completed her Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University in 2018 and values continuous learning as well as personal and professional growth.
Amber obtained her Diploma through Mount Royal College in 2002 where she began her work in various frontline settings working mainly with youth as a support worker to support them in preparing for transitioning into adulthood. As Amber continued to develop her practice as a Child and Youth Care Worker, she obtained her Degree in Child and Youth Care through the University of Victoria in 2015. She became a Certified Child and Youth Counselor in 2016.
Amber recently completed her Master of Social Work with a Specialization in Trauma Informed Care at the University of Calgary in 2021 and currently works within her own private practice where she supports individuals through evidenced-based therapies such as EMDR, IFS and Trauma-Informed Yoga.
At a young age Robyn’s compassion, creativity, enthusiasm and volunteerism in working with youth sparked as she became a Brownie and Pathfinder leader with the Girl Guides of Canada. In 2009 Robyn completed Katimavik, a 9-month long volunteer program. This challenge allowed her to see a world of opportunities, see the beauty of Turtle Island, meet lifelong friends, volunteer, and learn the skills needed to guide her toward becoming a well-rounded CYC practitioner. In 2018 Robyn became a MacEwan Ambassador. She helped out at school events, and in the community and led tours for prospective students. In 2019 Robyn completed her Child and Youth Care degree at MacEwan University and in 2020 became certified.
In 2018 she and her peers were given the opportunity to take on tasks that helped organize the CYC Provincial Conference at MacEwan University (Treaty 6 territory). Robyn attended the International CYC Conference in South Africa in 2020 and the National Conference in Canmore AB. (Treaty 7 territory) in 2022. These events further inspired her passion for her chosen field and the ambition she’s had to learn and work alongside young people. Her volunteer involvement, past practicums, dedicated instructors and the growing CYC community continue to be influential pieces throughout her journey.
Currently, Robyn works at Catholic Social Services in a semi-independent living program. She works with youth ages 16-22, who are working towards autonomy as they grow through life’s turning points and eventually age out of Government care. Along with furthering her experiences on the front line, she also plans to work towards getting a master’s degree. Robyn is humbled to have the opportunity to serve on the CYCAA board and is looking forward to the new and exciting experiences it will bring.
As the Office and Web Content Administrator, Penny ensures the smooth operation of the office and website. She also serves as the primary contact for the office. With over 30 years of experience in both public and private sectors, Penny has experience in website development and maintenance, technical support, administrative duties and customer service.
Penny skillfully manages administrative duties and member relations for the Board and Committee Members at CYCAA. She assists members with understanding membership and certification requirements.
Growing up in Colorado Penny always wanted to have an accent, little did she know all she had to do was move to Canada to get one. When she is not knee-deep in office work, she can be found reading, gardening, being creative and enjoying time with her husband and their giant slobbery doggo.