Our Team

Alycia Pottie – Secretary

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Alycia is a young mom and student, who is currently completing her BA in Psychology with a double minor in Family Studies and Women's Studies. She believes in the power of positive thinking, and that everyone can create positive change in our world. Through her volunteer work with CNIB, Alycia works to empower and advocate on behalf of individuals living with vision loss.

Aside from the National Youth Council, Alycia is a CNIB divisional board member and participates in her local CNIB's post-secondary peer support program. On campus, she sits on the Accessibility Advisory Committee, is involved with her Student Union, and various societies, including the Feminist Collective and Accessibility Society.

Avesta Alani

Toronto, Ontario

Avesta is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with an Honours in International Development and Globalization and Minor in Philosophy.  She is currently attending Osgoode Hall Law School.  Avesta is also a consultant for the National Education Association for Disabled Students. 

She has a great passion for installing interpersonal skills among youth and fostering empowerment.  Avesta has been a keynote speaker, youth representative, and workshop facilitator for several CNIB organized events and conferences.  Past Co-Chair, and current member of the National Youth Council, she truly believes in the work of the council and its perpetual growing impact.

Brandon Snow

Lewisporte, Newfoundland

Brandon graduated from the Memorial University of Newfoundland with an undergraduate honours degree in Kinesiology and a certification in exercise physiology.  He is currently managing a fitness studio in his community.

He has been volunteering with CNIB and a part of the National Youth Council since 2014. Brandon was the receipt of CNIB's Holly Award in 2016 which recognizes exceptional volunteers in Atlantic Canada. He believes there are no limitations to one's ability to succeed.

Danika Blackstock – Acting Secretary

Cambridge, Ontario

Danika is currently completing an honours degree in 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 accessibility and equal rights.

Dayna Schnell – Liaison

Calgary, Alberta

Dayna has been a member of the National Youth Council since it started in 2013. She has held a variety of positions during that time, including Liaison and Co-Chair. As part of her role on council, Dayna represents Canadian Youth on the World Blind Union's Youth Engagement Committee. She also represents Alberta on the National Boards' Advocacy and Foundation Programming standing committee and sits on the Alberta North West Territories Divisional Board.

Dayna completed her BA in Communication Studies and a minor in Science Technology and Society at the University of Calgary in 2016. The causes Dayna is most passionate about are advocacy for the independence of people who are blind and women's rights.

Jacqueline Rennebohm – Co-Chair

Regina, Saskatchewan

Jacqueline is an innovative working professional who strives to make a positive impact through her strong leadership, communications, and interpersonal skills.  As an organizational change management specialist and a former Paralympian, she brings a unique perspective to the National Youth Council. 

Jacqueline is motivated to give youth who are blind or partially sighted a voice through advocating for equal and equitable opportunities that allow them to thrive in their autonomy and empowerment.  She does this by promoting teamwork and collaboration while providing the necessary structure to support the achievement of strategic objectives.  "If we work with what we have by embracing what makes us diverse and unique, we will find that these differences are the very things that will give us the competitive advantage that we need to be successful."

Matthew Alvernaz

Vancouver, British Columbia

Matthew has been a CNIB client since birth. He joined the National Youth Council in hopes to help improve the quality of life for youth across the country who are blind and partially sighted.  Ever since childhood, Matthew has been interested in computer science and programming.  He is currently furthering his studies in this field at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Ola Bourns

Ottawa, Ontario

Ola is currently finishing her final year of her undergraduate degree in Ethics and Society with a minor in Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. She then plans to attend teacher's college in hopes of becoming an elementary resource teacher.

Ola has joined the National Youth Council because she believes that youth who are blind or partially sighted should not let their sight be a barrier to living their life to the fullest. This starts with helping youth learn to be empowered and self-advocate. Over the years Ola has been on the council she has learned a lot about enhancing her own self-confidence. She also wants to continue to bring awareness to fellow Canadians about vision loss and to have the vision loss community heard across Canada.

Rilind Dragoshi – Co-Chair

Moncton, New Brunswick

Rilind graduated from Crandall University in 2016 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology, with a thesis on self-efficacy and academic performance. Currently, he is studying French at Université de Moncton, after which he plans to get his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology to work in the field of clinical counseling.  He also works as a language facilitator and a market research interviewer.

Rilind has been on the National Youth Council since its inception in 2013. Rilind has been championing issues such as employment, assistive technology, and equal participation in society for youth who are blind and partially sighted through encouraging honest evaluation, advocacy, collaboration, and action.

Scott Best

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Scott has a background in journalism and currently works in communications for the Province of Manitoba.  Whether he spends his career in journalism or public relations, he hopes his career will allow him to meet interesting people and tell fascinating stories. Scott joined the National Youth Council to lend his voice to issues that are important to youth who are blind and partially sighted.

Scott is also a member of CNIB's Manitoba Youth Council and the Manitoba divisional board.  During his time with CNIB's youth councils, Scott hopes to serve as a leader for the CNIB community in Manitoba and across the country.


Heather MacKenzie
Mahadeo Sukhai

National Youth Council Coordinator

Cornelia Schumacher – Coordinator, National Youth Programs​