Our team / who we are

Avesta Alani

Location: Ottawa, Ontario

My name is Avesta, and I will be completing my undergraduate degree in International Development and Globalization with a Minor in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa in 2017.

I will be attending law school in the coming years to pursue my dream of becoming a lawyer.

I have served as co-chair of the National Youth Council, and have been a part of council since 2013.

What I want to change the most is the underestimating of skills of potential that society has of partially sighted youth, and those that they have of themselves.  We are capable of achieving so much, and it is our job to advocate and encourage that truth by empowering others, and breaking down barriers that may threaten them.

Matthew Alvernus

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

Emailmatalvernaz@me.com

Hello, my name is Matthew Alvernaz. I am 20 years old, and live in Coqquitlam, BC. I am also currently going to school for math and computer science. I joined the national youth council because I believe that it is important for blind and partially sighted youth to have a voice across the country, and anything that can be done to help achieve this goal is important to me. In my spare time I enjoy talking to my friends, playing video games, and sometimes playing goalball.

Scott Best

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Email: scott.best@hotmail.com

I have a background in journalism, but I'm currently working in Communications for the province of Manitoba. Whether I spend my career in Journalism or Public Relations, I'm hoping my career will allow me to meet interesting people and tell fascinating stories. I joined the CNIB National Youth Council to lend my voice to issues that are important to blind and partially sighted youth. During my time with the NYC, I hope to serve as a leader for the CNIB community in Manitoba and across the country.

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Location : Ontario

e-mail : danika.blackstock@cnib.ca

Danika is currently completing a degree in Honours Social Development Studies, specializing in Social work, Individual Well-being and Development, and Social Policy and Social Action at the University of Waterloo. She has worked as a CNIB Summer Day Camp staff, and volunteers at a Senior Long-Term Care facility.

At the University of Waterloo Danika is active on the Accessibility Advisory Committee. Danika is passionate about ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to all aspects of society, and knows how much technology can level the playing field for those with visual impairments. She wishes to pursue a social work career that focuses either in the medical field or in accessibility and equal rights.

Ola Bourns

Location: Ottawa, Ontario

email: olabourns@gmail.com

My name is Ola Bourns and I am finishing my undergraduate degree in ethics and society at the University of Ottawa. I am hoping to then enroll in teacher's college with the goal of becoming a resource teacher for elementary students.

I joined the CNIB National Youth Council because I believe it's important for people to advocate for themselves and be empowered. It's my hope that through my work on council that I am able to help Canadians who are blind or visually impaired be heard, to gain increased access to programs which will enable more of my peers to contribute to society and to gain increased self confidence.

Tyler Butler

Location: Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador

Email: tyler.butler123@hotmail.com

My name is Tyler Butler, I'm from Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, and I am 20 years old. I am currently enrolled in Business Management at College of the North Atlantic in St. John's, NL. I joined the National Youth Council in January 2015 because I was interested in meeting blind and visually impaired people my age. I feel the council will give me an opportunity to inspire others to join the group so we can learn from each other. We will be able to express our life experiences and advocate for things we believe in. I currently have a small home-based business where I produce wood products. Upon completion of my Business Management program, I hope to expand my business in other areas. 

Rilind Dragoshi co-

chair

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick

EmailDragoshi11@hotmail.com

I am entering my fourth year at Crandall University,   completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology. I also work a few hours a week as a language facilitator for Instituto Talk. I wish to pursue a career in counselling. I enjoy helping others by guiding them towards solving their difficulties and various life challenges, and with the employment and inclusion obstacles I have had to seek to overcome I believe both my education and experience will assist me in this regard. I have been on the Youth Council since its inception because I believe that CNIB needs a youth voice and perspective on issues facing blind Canadians. My goals for being on the youth council are to raise awareness of the issues affecting blind Canadians including employment and equal participation in society, accessibility issues in technology. My efforts are based on the premise that only through honesty about the situation of the blind, active participation in society, advocacy, as well as our own independent efforts can this hope to be accomplished.

Jacqueline Rennebohm, Co-chair

Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Jacqueline Rennebohm competed at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and other international events as a visually impaired speed swimmer.  In addition, she competed in the sport of track and field where she also earned top finishes on the world stage including at the 2011 Para PanAm Games in Mexico.  Today, Rennebohm takes her Team Canada experiences and determination from swimming and athletics with her as she works to improve the quality of life for youth who live with vision loss via the CNIB National Youth Council including other worthy initiatives.

Rennebohm is a Western University graduate who has work experience in business, communications, marketing, research and policy.  She enjoys meeting new people and bringing out the best in individuals and organizations.  "I am fueled by making a difference in my community and aim to do this with integrity, leadership, and respect."

Rennebohm uses her talent of her voice in the form of presentations and social media campaigns to inspire those to rise above what is expected of them.   "Life is determined more by how we respond to what comes our way versus those particular instances that we face.  As a result, if we work with what we have and make something out of it, the only question left is….how far will you go?"  She hopes to enable youth across the country with this message  and help them see how diversity is the very thing that will give those with disabilities the competitive advantage that they need to be successful.

Alycia Po

ttie

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Email : alycialorraine@gmail.com

Alycia is currently completing her Bachelor's degree in Psychology. She is a dedicated volunteer for CNIB, working on everything from fundraising to government legislation, and advocacy. Alycia believes in the power of advocacy, and that we need to empower individuals to use their voice. Outside of CNIB, Alycia sits on her university's Student council, is the President of the Student Accessibility Society, and a proud member of the Feminist Collective on campus. She strives to make a difference for the blind and partially sighted, and to build a more inclusive society for all people.

Dayna Schnell

Location: Alberta

Dayna is a university student who has been a member of the National Youth Council since 2012. Dayna's favourite part of being a member of the Youth Council is growing the network of youth. As part of her role on the Council, Dayna is currently representing Canada on the World Blind Union's Youth Engagement Committee. Outside of the National Youth Council, Dayna is the President of the Women in Leadership club at her school. The causes Dayna is most passionate about are advocacy for the independence of blind people and women's rights.

Brandon Snow

Location: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Email:bbs856@mun.ca

I am currently a Kinesiology student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I joined the National Youth Council because I thought it would be a good way to make a difference in the lives of youth who are blind or partially sighted. I want to help make programs and services that could be offered by CNIB to create a better life for youth. My main goal in life is to become a physician or to get a Doctorate in a related field of study to my undergraduate degree. I also want to travel and volunteer as much as possible.

Mentors

Heather MacKe

nzie

M

ahadeo A. Sukh

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Lui Greco, National Manager Advocacy CNIB
Email: lui.greco@cnib.ca
Tel: 403-629-3522