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Staff

Tanya Dryden

Co-Founder

Tanya Dryden is a born and raised Hamiltonian.  She grew up in a highly industrialized poverty stricken area of Hamilton. Tanya attended Mohawk College for Enterprise Business after receiving life altering mentorship. Upon graduating she enjoyed a 9 year career at Mohawk College. During this time Tanya married Frederick Dryden and his dream to start Liberty For Youth. 
 
Tanya’s heartbeat for youth is education. She believes education is the key to eradicating poverty and weaves it into every aspect of Liberty For Youth’s program and culture.
 
   

Cliff Simon

Intake Coordinator & Program Facilitator

What I love about being a Liberty For Youth staff, is the opportunity our program provides to build heart to heart relationships with at-risk youth in our community. It has been wisely said, “The people who will influence us the most in life, are not the people who we believe in, but the people who believe in us.” The joy of working with Liberty For Youth for me, has got to be when I see youth who are so full of potential and travelling down the wrong path, come to their own realization that they are so much better than the choices they have been making, and change their course of action and start going in a better direction one step at a time.  My exciting role is to help these youth see the light, by being a light, and encouraging them to walk in the light – one step at a time.

 

   

Melanie Kowalyshyn

Executive Assistant

Melanie was born and raised in Hamilton, where she studied Psychology, Social Work and Early Childhood Education. Melanie has always had a passion to help others and serve wherever she is needed.  She has worked as a Special Needs worker for over a decade, coached Community Sports and assisted in the Childrens’ Ministry at her church. Being the daughter of a retired Correctional Officer, Melanie knows the great need to reach out to our youth is vital. She strongly believes in the importance of forgiveness, second chances and the value of having someone that believes in you.  Melanie feels blessed to be a part of Liberty For Youth, an organization that puts many of own her beliefs into action.

 

   

Rosa McCarthy

Finance Assistant

Rosa migrated from Kingston, Jamaica in 2014 in the hope of gaining a new experience in the Accounting industry. While in Jamaica, Rosa worked at a large company as a Senior Accounts Officer. She was also actively involved in her community and volunteered many hours serving those in need. She now resides in the city of Hamilton with her daughter, Yolande.

   

Billie Cedillos

Resource Development Officer

For over 10 years I have had the privilege of knowing Executive director; Frederick Dryden and his wife Tanya. After attending the Liberty for Youth Annual Gala in 2006, the compassion and love of the organization encouraged my husband and I to financially support Liberty for Youth. Now 10 years later I am excited to come on board and make a tangible difference in the lives of so many youth. Someone once said, "I am not a product of my circumstances, but a product of my choices," I have always been a firm believer of that and at Liberty for Youth every youth is given a choice to be successful regardless of their circumstances. In the past I have volunteered both as an Auxiliary Constable and Victim Service worker with the Hamilton Police Service and have seen the challenges young people face in our community and I know that a positive difference can be made and this opportunity to serve Liberty for Youth will enable me to do just that.

Maurice Brown

Program Facilitator - Prodigal Sonz

 
I was taught from an early age to work hard and that the only thing more valuable than giving your money is giving your time. I believe that every single person in life has a purpose. Liberty For Youth gives people the opportunity to discover their purpose through programming and the ability to build personal and authentic relationships with the youth. I have always wanted to get involved with Liberty For Youth since I was a little kid watching the Police Officers play the Prodigal Sonz team. I love the work we do and I am thankful for the opportunity to work with the youth. 
 
I have been involved in organizations such as Feed the Children Canada, Special Olympics Canada and the YMCA. I recently graduated from McMaster University and I am currently in the Bachelor of Education program at Redeemer University/College. My goal for the future is to become a high school teacher and to continue my work as a mentor in  Hamilton and surrounding communities. I believe that youth are the future of our society so it is important that we raise them up to be strong and caring individuals. 
 

Johny Gakwaya

Program Administrator - 3D Project

I am an energetic, ambitious person who has developed a mature and responsible approach to any task that I undertake, or situation that I am presented with. I possess an excellent ability to motivate others, coupled with the ability to communicate comfortably at all levels. I'm glad to be part of Liberty of Youth because I enjoy working with youth, and making a positive impact in their lives.

Rebecca Burlet

Program Facilitator - Bright Choices Program

Being a part of people’s journeys is something that brings Rebecca Burlet great joy.  With experience at a group home for troubled teens, work as a dorm mom and as a professional counselor, Rebecca Burlet is familiar with both the challenges and joys involved in partnering with people to lead healthier wholesome lives.  She states she is excited to be a part of a team who really believes in the youth and whose care is deep.

Katie Douglas

Humber College Intern

I am currently completing a degree in Criminal Justice at Humber College on the Lakeshore Campus in Etobicoke. I am interning at Liberty for Youth for the summer and am very excited for this opportunity. I am a motivated individual who wishes to make a positive impact in others lives in any capacity that I am able to. I wish to become involved in some form of case management working with youth after college and I believe Liberty for Youth will give me fantastic experience in this field and I cannot wait to see what this opportunity brings.

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