Horizons for Youth’s Speaker Program aims to educate our community partners about a pressing issue in Toronto: youth homelessness. These speaking engagements will discuss issues relevant to youth homelessness and the supportive resources Horizons for Youth offers to at-risk youth. Speeches can be tailored to your needs. Please read through the biographies of our speakers below and fill out the form below to request a speaker or to ask a question.
robert chalkley, case manager
Robert is one of the Case Managers at Horizons for Youth and works with the youth to help them set goals and create a plan of action to work towards an independent and healthy life. He is passionate about positive youth development and engagement. Robert has been with Horizons for Youth since September 2018 and has been working with youth for three years. Robert has an Undergraduate degree in Research Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and completed a thesis that explored benevolent/hostile sexism and its effect on efforts towards collective action for both women and men. Robert previously worked with the Gendered Violence Initiative at Laurier where he helped try to end sexual/gendered violence on campus through training and educational initiatives. Robert is knowledgeable about issues related to sexual and gendered violence and strategies to help at-risk youth build healthy and fulfilling futures.
sara marques, case manager
Sara Sofia is a Case Manager at Horizons for Youth. She has been with Horizons for Youth for 2 years in various roles. She found her passion for working with at-risk and homeless youth when she began as a placement student at Horizons and has stayed with the organization since then. Sara Sofia enjoys working with this population because of their resilience and strength to overcome very difficult situations. As a Case Manager, Sara Sofia helps clients develop a case plan, which acts as a bridge between where clients see themselves in the present and what they would like to achieve in the future. Sara Sofia graduated from George Brown College in Child and Youth Care and has since then been passionate about raising awareness of the struggles and challenges that homeless youth face on a daily basis.
rawan shannak, Youth care worker
Rawan is one of Horizons for Youth’s Youth Care Workers. She has been with Horizons for Youth since August 2018, and has worked in the field of Social Work for the past 3 years. Rawan is passionate about providing efficient clinical counseling through a radically compassionate and humanistic approach, and advocating for all marginalized groups in society. She has volunteered with youth at-risk of criminality at CACD, held a position at The Salvation Army Hostel and Half-Way House, was the Vice President of Amnesty International's Laurier Chapter and was prized Second Place for her presentation of Rehabilitating Sex Offenders at the Human Rights and Human Diversity Conference in 2017. She also conducted clinical work at COSTI, which involved working with women who were victims of domestic violence. Rawan has extensive knowledge about substance use/abuse, problem gambling, mental illness, trauma, and recovery from these ailments.
jeffrey bellwood, shift supervisor
Jeffrey is the Shift Supervisor at Horizons for youth and is responsible for supporting staff development and supervising day to day operations. Jeffrey has worked in the field of mental health for over 10 years and has been with Horizons for Youth since August 2017. He is passionate about the dynamics of relational practice and uses his training in trauma/attachment to support the clinical understanding of young people accessing services. Jeffrey has a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University and holds a Diploma in Child and Youth Care from Sheridan College. Jeffrey has worked for various non-profit organizations and currently teaches in the Child and Youth Care program at Sheridan College. He has extensive knowledge in brain development, trauma, youth experiencing homelessness and family systems.
dwight miller, operations manager
Dwight is responsible for overseeing all programs and the day-to-day operations of Horizons for Youth. He studied law, psychology and sociology at Carlton University. Dwight has been with Horizons for Youth for 13 years and has been Operations Manager for 10 years. He is a big believer in child and youth advocacy and mental health awareness. Dwight has more than 15 years of experience in management, education, program development and child and youth advocacy. Before joining the Agency, Dwight worked as a classroom lead with the Ottawa School Board and managed teams of Child and Youth counselors working with the Children's Aid Society. Dwight can speak to the causes of youth homelessness, the shelter system and helping at-risk youth build healthy and fulfilling futures.
stacey murie, development coordinator
Stacey is responsible for community engagement, fundraising and outreach at Horizons for Youth. She has been with Horizons for Youth for 2 years and has worked in the non-profit field for 9 years. Stacey is passionate about working with diverse stakeholders to build strong, equitable and vibrant communities. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto and her MA thesis analyzed how gender and race mutually shape poverty and food insecurity in Toronto. She has worked at various non-profit organizations, including The Stop Community Food Centre, MADD Canada, CNIB and UNICEF Canada. Stacey has extensive knowledge of the causes of youth homelessness, food insecurity and poverty in Toronto and innovative approaches to reduce homelessness.
david armstrong, president of the board of directors
David is a legal, business and strategic consultant and an active community volunteer. He has been a Director of Horizons for Youth since 2013 and currently serves as its President and Board Chair. Among many other volunteer activities, David acted as strategic adviser to the Board of Directors of Hope + Me (the Mood Disorder Association of Ontario) before joining its Board and serving as a member of its executive committee. David has also been a Director of Furniture Bank and a Senator of Queen’s University. He practiced corporate and securities law for over 20 years, primarily as a partner of McCarthy Tétrault LLP and taught advanced securities law classes at three leading law schools. David also has experience as a business owner/operator in the personal home care sector. Through his professional, business, volunteer and lived experience, David has gained extensive knowledge about helping homeless youth as well as individuals, and their families, struggling with the sometimes devastating effects of mental illness.
david goldberg, vice president of the board of directors
David A. Goldberg, Ph.D. is a Toronto writer and scholar with a focus on youth homelessness. At the University of Toronto, he utilized participatory action research (PAR) in a ground-breaking project, over a one year period, with 35 homeless youth. By tapping into their lived experiences, PAR helps young people design new initiatives, goals and strategies to improve homelessness. David has mentored five youth out of homelessness from his research group. He is the recipient of the University of Toronto Gordon Cressy Award for "outstanding contribution to improve the world." David has written on youth culture in the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail newspapers. His scholarship about different aspects of youth homelessness has been published in a number of book chapters. He provides seminars about his research at universities and colleges across Canada. For several years at Horizons for Youth, David ran “I Have Something to Say,” a popular educational program that helps youth give voice to their perspectives and solutions to homelessness. David is Vice-President of Horizons for Youth’s Board of Directors. David speaks to an array of topics from both scholarly and practical perspectives: dysfunctional homes, abuse and trauma, addictions, mentorship, the role shelters play in transitioning youth out of homelessness and how individuals and corporations can help provide solutions to the homeless youth problem.