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Board Members

Charmaine McCarthy-Spencer

Board Chair

Background: Charmaine was born in Kingston, Jamaica and migrated to Canada in 2005. She attained her Masters in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University in Florida and has over 20 years’ extensive banking experience in commercial credit, retail banking, administrative support and customer service.  She is employed to Scotiabank and currently holds the position of Senior Manager, Credit.

Community: Over the years Charmaine has primarily involved herself with her local church, both here and in Jamaica, where she was a volunteer in various outreach ministries.  She has always been an avid supporter and volunteer at Liberty for Youth events.
Plans: Charmaine plans to continue to be involved with the community and volunteer her time and service as needed. 


Marie Trainer


Background: Marie Trainer was raised in Haldimand County where she married the “the boy next door” and together ran a successful business, Hagersville Tire Service for 25 years. Sadly, Marie Trainer lost her husband in 1979 and was left to raise three boys (who were 5, 7 and 11 at the time), run a business and take care of a cow/calf/beef operation alone. Marie Trainer managed to successfully balance motherhood, business and farming, with the help and support of her mother and mother-in-law.

Community: Marie has been actively involved in her community and she has become a much decorated citizen of the Haldimand Region. She is one of the founding members of the Caledonia Rotary Club, Cayuga Chamber of Commerce and the Hagserville Business Improvement Centre. She has been the chair and vice chair of several committees. Most notably, Marie Trainer has served as Mayor of the Haldimand County for 16 years. As Mayor she worked diligently to ensure Haldimand County would be debt free. At the end of her term, Haldimand was debt free and had $6 million dollars in reserve prior to amalgamation.

Future Goals: Marie believes that a child uneducated is a child lost; her desire is to develop funding sources in order to sustain: Liberty's core programs, residential program (Refuge Place), and our scholarship fund. With her passion for at-risk youth combined with her vast experience Marie aims to make a big impact on the youth in our city.



Milad Asaf


Background: Milad was born in Lebanon but because of the civil war, he and his family left the Middle East when he was 15 years old. He has been  married for 25 years and is blessed with 3 children. Since 1991 Milad has been a financial advisor, which has now led led him to become a Branch Manager. He has had his own business since then and has trained people for many years. Milad now has an organization with over 120 licensed financial advisors.

Community: For over 20 years, Milad has been involved with volunteering in different community organizations. More than 12 of those years have been spent with the Hamilton Suicide Prevention Line, including speaking engagements in schools and correctional facilities.
Trilingual: Arabic / Lebanese English and French.
Goals: "I know I have been blessed, and God has a purpose for my life." Milad loves to help and inspire people to know and be what   God has intended for them to be. He feels called to encourage the faint hearted and uphold the weak.

Jelaine Foster


Jelaine Foster has been an active member of her community since secondary school and this came to light in 2005 when she was an honoured recipient of the ACCPI Scholarship, John C. Holland Award, and Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International. Born and raised in Hamilton Ontario, she attended St. Jean de Brebeuf Secondary School where she was the student council president. Amongst the president, she was voted to be the pupil trustee on the Catholic District school board. In this position she was able to experience the fundamentals of the decision making process, discuss first-hand the issues plaguing the board, and also how education can be political.

As a graduate from McMaster University with an Honours B.A. in Political Science, her academic career revolved around studies in Canadian Politics, Canadian Foreign Policy, and International Relations.

Jelaine believes that the opportunities are endless with education and her membership in service clubs like Rotaract, Rotary, and Zonta International have given her the ability to continue to give to others and remain active in the community that she belongs too. Community service has always been a very important aspect of Jelaine’s life and when approach to join the LFY board Jelaine was more than willing to be part of such a great organization.



Esther Pauls


Esther Pauls is known among Hamilton runners as a tough competitor and dedicated community leader. Since starting running over seventeen years ago, Esther has completed 24 marathons, with a personal best of 3:52, and countless other road races and triathlons. She has completed three Ironman-distance triathlons, consisting of a 4km swim, 180km bike, and 42km run, most recently at Ironman Austria 2014.

Twenty years ago, looking for a change from her work in the insurance industry, Esther and her husband Gord opened the first Runner’s Den in Westdale village. Since that time, Esther has been an inspiration to novice and experienced runners alike.  Through the Runner’s Den Running Clinics, she has led hundreds of runners to success at every distance from 5k to the Marathon. Esther’s passion is bringing new runners into the sport and showing them that they are capable of achieving more than they ever thought possible. Esther’s record of community involvement is even more impressive than her running resume. Not satisfied with being a source of inspiration and guidance for her runners, Esther dedicates herself to several charities. Through the Runner’s Den, Esther and her committee of dedicated volunteers host the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon to raise funds for CityKidz & Joy and Hope of Haiti. In the 14 year history of the race, over $750,000 has been raised to support projects such as orphanages, playgrounds and schools in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Haiti. Esther has personally traveled to Haiti on several occasions to lend her support first hand to food distribution and construction programs. Amazingly, Esther also finds time to support other worthy causes, such as Martha’s House, Good Shepherd & Jason’s House.  Esther was also awarded the 2010 “Sport Ambassador of the Year” from Hamilton Tourism, a great honor for all they have done for the Hamilton running community.  Esther’s hope for the next couple of years is to get involved with Liberty For Youth and help with some fundraising initiatives.  


George Van Kampen


Background: George Van Kampen moved to Hamilton in 1975 where he worked for 36 years at two schools, Calvin Christian School and Hamilton District Christian High School.  During this time, he served as a resource teacher, physical education teacher, coach, guidance counselor, director of student services, vice principal and principal. In 2011, he and his wife moved to Montreal where he served as the principal of Emmanuel Christian School. After 40 years of working in Christian schools, George recently retired.  He and his wife moved back to Hamilton to be closer to their five children and six grandchildren.
Community: George is a strong advocate of giving back to the community.  School service/learning projects and mission trips were essential to his work as an educator.  He believes that serving others is one of the best ways not only to help the community, but also to learn and develop as person.  In that light, he sees the youth at LFY to be dynamically serving and learning in the Hamilton community.  
Goals:  George envisions Liberty for Youth to continue to be salt and light for the youth at risk in Hamilton. He understands that by being salt, LFY helps preserve and add flavour to the lives of the at risk youth.  By being light, LFY brings hope and shows the way to a bright future.   To do this, the need to create sustainable funding for future programs is vital.  George hopes to serve in whatever way that will assist LFY’s future development. 


Dr. Kola Kolawole


Dr. Kola Kolawole has a diverse background from living and serving various communities as a Physician in West Africa, the United Kingdom and more recently, in Canada, since moving here in 2011. He holds Specialty Certification in Psychiatry granted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom (MRCPsych, UK), Specialty Certification in Psychiatry granted by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCPC) and Fellowship Certification in Forensic Psychiatry awarded by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at McMaster University and an Attending Physician at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario.

Kola is passionate about proving holistic care to youth and young adults, and his work in Forensic Psychiatry has led him to be instrumental in changing the life’s trajectory of many youths and young adults who at risk and who have had conflict with the law. He has served in various community and charitable organizations in Africa, Europe and more recently in Canada, and is particularly passionate about the role of mentorship in shaping the goals and ambitions of others.
 He is humbled by the privilege and opportunity to serve this community of youth and young adults through Liberty for Youth and is committed to giving his time and talent in pursuit of the organization’s vision.



Brent Monkley


Background: Brent was born in and has lived most of his life in Hamilton, a city with great beauty and even greater potential.  Brent worked as a teacher in inner-city high schools in Toronto for more than 10 years before becoming a school administrator here with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, a position he has now held for more than 15 years including one year as the Vice Principal of Equity.  Teaching inner-city, Brent quickly became aware of the challenges and barriers some students encounter in the schools and the larger community as a result of others’ prejudices and doubts; doubts that some students regrettably internalize.  This awareness has driven Brent to become actively involved in equity and social justice initiatives and to become a strong advocate for all students and particularly those who are feeling discouraged but who can succeed when they have hope.

Community: Brent has been actively involved in his church as the Outreach Coordinator for several years and believes firmly that people of faith need to always “put feet to their faith” by reaching out to those in need and sharing God’s love and God’s bounty with them.  This belief resulted in Pioneer Memorial United Church becoming one of the first church sites in the city for the Hamilton Victory Gardens which grows fresh vegetables and donates them to several hot meal and food bank programs within Hamilton.  It has also resulted in ongoing efforts to support the great work done by Wesley Urban Ministries including ongoing collection of donations, participation in the Case for Kids walk, and organizing a Sunday barbecue the first Sunday in May at the day centre for Sunday dinner.

Goals: There are many great organizations doing God’s work within the city of Hamilton and beyond.  Brent is interested in promoting and pursuing deeper partnerships between these organizations in order to create greater efficiencies and thereby provide more opportunities for youth and to connect more youth within the city with the best supports to help them realize their potential.




Martin Russell


Background: Martin is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, United Kingdom, holding the ACMA and CGMA accounting designations. He has worked in several accounting and management capacities in the United Kingdom, Jamaica, and Canada over a career that exceeds 20 years.  Martin’s professional experience spans a range of private and public sector organizations including more than 12 years with his current employer, the Regional Municipality of York.

Community: Martin and his wife Ann Marie have been actively involved with the care of children and youth for more than 14 years as foster parents with the York Region Children’s Aid Society. This role has provided an exceptional opportunity to enrich the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community, and demonstrate God’s love in meaningful and impactful ways. Martin and Ann Marie share a passion for changing the lives of young people to achieve lasting positive outcomes.

Plans: Liberty for Youth is a group of passionate and dedicated individuals making an amazing impact in the lives of troubled youth in Ontario. I intend to use my skills and experience to help with furthering the organization’s life-changing success.