Board of Directors
Megan D. Wallace
Lawyer, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP
Director of Finance, The Glebe Centre Inc.
Chief Social Worker, Ottawa Catholic School Board
Police Officer, Ottawa Police Services
Project Management Coordinator — Education and Youth Transitions, Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa (CAS)
Manager, Creative Services, Halogen Software
Manager, Sponorship, United Way Ottawa
Dr. Katherine Matheson
Pediatric Psychiatrist, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)
Shelagh Jane Woods
Director General (Retired), First Nations and Inuit Health, Health Canada
I frequently tell people that Youville’s graduation ceremony is my favorite day of the year – and it is absolutely true. To watch our students be recognized for their hard work and accomplishments is a real joy and a privilege. For our young moms, pursuing their education at Youville means they are choosing not only to improve their own lives, but also to make a positive choice that will make a profound difference in the lives of their children. The importance of this choice for both mother and child cannot be overstated. It has been my privilege to be a part of the 2014 – 2015 year at Youville Centre. This year our students worked towards achieving their high school education, improving their parenting skills, and pursuing personal goals of physical and mental health and wellness. It has been inspiring to witness the progress Youville’s young mothers have been capable of making in just one year. Among the many wonderful events this year at Youville Centre, we had the privilege of receiving a visit from Premier Kathleen Wynne – who took the time to tour our centre and sit down and chat with our students.
As a woman who was also a young mother, I am frequently struck by the negative messages we receive: teen mothers are so often told that we can’t do it, that advancement and accomplishment are beyond our reach – imagine receiving this message at 17 or 18 years old! That is why our conversation with Premier Wynne was so powerful: she shared with our students that when she was in high school it had never occurred to her that she would be Premier of Ontario and that since she entered politics in her late 30s she has gone from a part-time worker and full-time mom to where she is today. She conveyed to our students her belief in their ability to succeed and the power of the incremental steps they are taking toward their goals – to hear this message from the Premier herself was powerful for all of us.
Also this year I enjoyed my work as the Chair of the Mentorship Program Steering Committee. To see this new program grow and develop to serve Youville Centre’s young mothers has been very rewarding. I have enjoyed building relationships with our volunteer mentors, and learning more about the unique needs of our mentees, and how we can best serve them in the program. I look forward to another year leading the Mentorship Program Steering Committee.
I would be remiss if I did not note that the continued success of our students and our center would not be possible without our generous donor community, as well as our outstanding, hardworking staff and volunteers, under the extraordinary leadership of our Executive Director, Cindy Simpson. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Cindy, the staff and volunteers, and all of Youville Centre’s donors and community partners for making a commitment to helping our young mothers and their children. You truly have made a difference in the lives of Youville Centre’s clients. By helping our students and their children, you help to motivate, educate and nurture two generations.
Megan D. Wallace