Staff Bios

Executive


Executive Director: Karen Baker-Anderson, 613-744-3133, ext. 215 kbaker@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“I look forward to seeing where the OICC will be in five years – the future looks bright!”

Karen is the OICC’s founding Executive Director. Working with our Board of Directors and various Community stakeholders, she enables OICC to identify and develop culturally relevant services to meet the growing needs of Inuit families. In addition, she oversees “an amazing” and passionate team while ensuring an exceptional work environment that engages all staff.
A mom with an adopted Inuk daughter, it’s been important for Karen to find ways to give back to the Inuit community. OICC has been a great channel for these life-long passions – and she’s thrilled to see how the Agency’s programs help children, youth, parents and staff alike celebrate Inuit culture every day. “I feel completely honored to be part of that and work with such a strong and resilient community,” she says.
Visionary and forward looking, Karen looks forward to seeing where OICC will be in five-years, as the Agency expands its programs and services. “The future looks bright,” she states with confidence.
Prior to joining OICC, Karen managed children’s programs for ten years at an Inuit organization. Her educational background includes a Business diploma, Adult Education diploma and she has completed numerous workshops related to children, youth, health, and crisis intervention.


Director of Finance and Administration: Bronwyn Rees, 613-744-3133, ext. 210 brees@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Providing a solid financial and administrative base to an agency is a very satisfying thing to be part of.”

As the Director of Finance and Administration at OICC, Bronwyn oversees a team that provides the fiscal and administrative foundation to support the Agency’s growth, services, plans, and processes. This includes meeting OICC’s funding agreements, ensuring programs spend their funds according to approved budgets, and providing regular financial updates.
Bronwyn joined OICC in June 2011 bringing many years of experience in senior financial management positions and in non-profit organizations to her role. She loves meeting with OICC program leads and providing a logical, grounded, financial framework for program delivery.
And then there’s the obvious pride she takes in her team. “They are fantastic people, not only skilled and capable, but going of their way to support one another and learn from one another.”
When she’s not balancing budgets and negotiating agreements, Bronwyn enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, spending time with family and friends, reading, playing or listening to music and meditating!

Director of Programs: Ulrike Komaksiutiksak, 613-744-3133, ext. 222 programdirector@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Helping individuals and teams discover their unique skills, talents, and capabilities.”

Having lived in Nunavut, Ulrike understands the challenges that Inuit families face transitioning to a new life in an urban setting. She also saw firsthand how her own children benefited from OICC’s Youth programs and events. Those experiences ignited a passion for the OICC’s vision and mandate.
Today, as the Director of Programs at OICC, she is dedicated to expanding the OICC’s reach through innovative programs, services, and creative partnerships. More than anything she sees the OICC as an important way to help individuals discover their unique skills, talents and capabilities.
Prior to OICC, Ulrike was the Program Manager, Parent Lifelines of Eastern Ontario. She also worked as Manager for the Canadian Executive Service Organization and was the Director of Programs for Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.
When Ulrike is not working to support Inuit families she enjoys opportunities to reconnect with Nature through walks, hikes, swimming and enjoys seeking out new places and life experiences.

Executive Assistant, Carmen Barrieau, 613-744-3133, ext 215 cbarrieau@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“OICC is more than any one program or service; it nurtures a thriving community that celebrates Urban Inuit of all ages.”

As the Executive Assistant at the OICC, Carmen “helps where she’s needed.” Typically, that means covering a lot of bases – from organizing meetings, helping to keep the Executive Director on schedule, and getting answers to a myriad of questions that crop-up every day from the Centre’s varied educational, recreational, cultural and social support services. It’s a hot seat job; and fortunately, she’s great under pressure and thrives on variety.
Carmen joined OICC in October 2016 and wishes she had access to OICC when she was growing up as a teenager. What Carmen loves most is seeing the passion that everyone at OICC brings to their job – from the Executive Director to directors, managers, and coordinators. “Everyone makes me feel very proud to be part of OICC”, she exclaims.
Prior to joining OICC, Carmen lived in Iqaluit for three years; and worked at daycare centre and for the Nunavut government. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Bookkeeper, Jane Truelove, 613-744-3133, ext. 232 admin@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Bookkeeping is my profession…people are my passion.”

Jane has been working in OICC’s administrative office as a bookkeeper since 2016. As you would expect, she’s good with numbers. However, Jane is quick to point out: “Bookkeeping is my profession and the result of my education, but people are my passion.”
For Jane, passion for OICC and the Inuit community it serves runs deep. She has been involved with OICC in many ways since 2006 when her oldest son began Head Start. Since then, she has supported OICC in every way she could – from volunteering to sitting on the Board.
Prior to joining OICC, Jane ran a bookkeeping business doing books for Inuit owned companies across Nunavut, including contracts with Nunavut Business Credit Corporation. She has three Inuit Children and an Inuk partner who spent his entire life in the north. Their daily lives revolve around the Inuit community of Ottawa, friends, family, community service, events, meetings and visiting.

Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Kudluk, 613-744-3133, ext. 213 info@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Amazing to see the impact OICC has.”

Jennifer is an administrative assistant and works closely with OICC’s dedicated admin team to keep the office running smoothly and efficiently – no small task given the rapidly expanding mix of programs to Inuit children, youth, and families.
Jennifer started working at OICC in 2010 and has greatly enjoyed working with the full spectrum of OICC clients; from babies and youth to parents and elders. She sees OICC as a way to stay connected to the Inuit community and culture which she loves. Stories, children, strong youth, and elders – all come together to form a unique and inspiring community that celebrates Inuit traditions. “It is amazing to see the impact OICC has had on me and our community,” she acknowledges.
Prior to joining OICC, Jennifer worked as a file clerk at Gilmore Reproductions. In between positions within OICC, Jennifer began “traditional soapstone carving.” In her free time, Jennifer likes music and movies – and being with friends and family.

Sherry Metcalfe
On Leave of Absence

Sherry is originally from Nain, Labrador and has lived in Main Brook and St. John’s, Newfoundland, and in Ottawa. She originally joined the OICC as the Literacy Program Coordinator in October 2009. She has since used her talents to excel in the admin aspects of OICC.

Projects

Liz Lightford, 613-744-3133, ext 215

“OICC celebrates Inuit children. They are at the core of everything we do”.

Liz brings over 30 years in the field of Early Learning and Childcare to OICC and over 20 years working directly with Inuit. She joined OICC in 2005 and has enjoyed a variety of roles that give her valuable insights to the growing needs of Inuit families in Ottawa.
Today, Liz works on Special Projects including funding proposals. She loves the process of listening to the community and seeing an idea take form. Then writing a successful proposal that turns that idea into a new program or service for Inuit children and families.
Liz doesn’t see OICC as work, it’s a way of giving back to Inuit what she has learned from and been given by them. “OICC is like a home away-from-home; and staff are my second family,” she says.
Liz began working with Inuit in Igloolik in 1989 and holds a ECE Diploma, Bachelor of Education, and Master of Education.
When she’s not working, Liz enjoys being with family, cooking, and reading.

Seeing the Light and Special Events Coordinator, Rachel Quinn, 613-744-3133, ext 215 seeingthelight@ottawainuitchildrens.com

Facilitating the education of non-indigenous service providers about Inuit culture and history

Rachel is the Special Events Coordinator and part of OICC’s ongoing community outreach initiatives. She works with external agencies to facilitate the education of non-indigenous service providers about Inuit culture and history. She sees her role as an important extension of OICC’s mission to provide culturally safe services.
Rachel joined OICC in 2011 as an Occasional Daycare Teacher and has enjoyed several roles since. Her real passion and strength is event planning; and a key reason behind her success as a Special Events Coordinator. More than anything, “I love working with the Inuit Community and being connected to my sons’ culture,” she says.
Before joining OICC, Rachel worked within the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board as a supply teacher. Prior to that, she enjoyed several roles at the Wabano Centre and other Indigenous agencies in Ottawa and Northern Ontario.
In her spare time, Rachel enjoys spending time with her two boys and visiting Northern Ontario to spend time with family and go fishing and boating.


Program Coordinator, Nikkutai Folger, On Education Leave
613-744-3133, ext 222

ECE Project Coordinator, Michelle McConkey, 613-744-3133, ext 215 eceprojectcoordinator@ottawainuitchildrens.com

Volunteer Coordinator, Arianna Metcalfe-Coe, volunteercoordinator@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“OICC allows me to be closer to the Inuit community and connects me to my culture.”

Arianna enjoys a very special relationship with OICC having participated as a student in the Head Start program 20-years ago. That direct user experience gives her important insight to the needs of Inuit students while seeing how the OICC uniquely works with students and parents to nurture Inuit culture and traditions. In summer 2017, Arianna came full circle and returned to OICC as a childcare support worker. Today she works as a Volunteer Program Coordinator; a role that enables Arianna to bring her considerable passion for helping Inuit youth by providing opportunities for various work placements within the community. An excellent listener and communicator, Arianna comes to OICC following a position at Larga Baffin Ltd. There she worked closely with staff and clients to ensure the needs of residents from the Oikiqtani region of Nunavut were fully met. After graduating from High School, Arianna attended College where she completed 10 programs under the Crisis Intervention and Human Psychology Certificate.

Youth Programs

Manager of Youth Programs: Lynda Brown, 613-746-5400, ext. 223 lbrown@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“OICC allows me to be part of something bigger.”

Lynda is a Youth Manager for OICC and works with a dedicated team to deliver a broad range of programs that promote traditional Inuit values, discovery, and growth. These include, Tukimut Afterschool Program, Systems Navigation, Akwe:go Program, Wasa-Nabin Urban Aboriginal Program and others.
Lynda has deep roots with OICC having been part of the original Board that started the multi-service Inuit organization in 2005. She brings a lifelong interest in and a passion for Inuit youth to OICC – “they are really inspiring,” she exclaims. Lynda sees OICC as an important opportunity to “be part of something bigger” – to learn more about her culture and grow while making community connections. She is an excellent presenter, particularly on throat singing and drum dancing.
OICC has been the focus of her career. She did a two-year stint in 2006-08 for the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada on Maternal Health. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her kids, reading, traveling and performing.

Tukimut Program

Coordinator: Larysa Voss, 613-220-6114, tukimut@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Thrilled to be helping with the Centre’s vision.”

Since September 2016 Larysa has flourished as a Coordinator of OICC’s Tukimut After School Program. Here she works with a talented team of youth workers providing culturally relevant activities – such as active play, art, and healthy eating – to Inuit youth, ages 6 to 13.
Larysa started as a volunteer for the Tukimut Spring 2016 term where she quickly demonstrated a knack for connecting with Inuit youth and “revels in their sense of humor”. She formally joined the Tukimut program in September 2016 and is “thrilled to be helping with the Centre’s vision.”
For Larysa, the Coordinator position is a valuable two-way learning street – one that gives her an opportunity to learn more about Inuit culture for which she holds much respect.
Prior to joining OICC Larysa was the Youth and Family Coordinator at the Ottawa Art Gallery. During her spare time, Larysa loves more than anything to be outside doing activities in nature regardless of the temperature!

Assistant: Brandon Chin

“I’m part of an amazing support team and family that provides the resources Inuit children need.”

Brandon is a Youth Worker and Cook for OICC’s Tukimut Afterschool program. He supports a talented team of workers dedicated to providing cultural, educational, and recreational activities for Inuit children ages 1 to 8. In this role, he also prepares healthy snacks and meals as part of OICC’s complete support program throughout the school year.
Brandon joined the OICC family in 2014, starting in a maintenance role before transitioning to the Tukimut program in 2015. The Centre has always been an important part of his life and enabled him to stay connected to Inuit culture while growing up. What excites him is the ability to now play a similar role as a Youth Worker. “Seeing the enjoyment and satisfaction on the kids’ faces everyday as they leave to go home brings huge satisfaction,” he says.
Prior to OICC, Brandon worked as an Administrative Assistant & Technical support. He has also worked in a landscaping and demolition role for local companies.

Systems Navigator

Coordinator: Morgan Purdy, On Education Leave

Helping Inuit families overcome barriers and navigate the health system

Morgan has worked as a Systems Navigator to coordinate OICC’s Aboriginal Integrated Plan of Care Program since August 2016. She helps families experiencing addictions and/or mental health issues navigate the health system and ensure continuity of care for each person.
Morgan is passionate about indigenous rights and committed to helping children, youth, and their families overcome the barriers they face accessing health care – and other support services in Ottawa. She believes other service providers in the health, school, and legal system need to know more about Inuit culture to connect better with children, youth, and families that the OICC works with.
“Having a better appreciation for the history of colonization, residential schools, and neo-colonial practices would really help these providers” she says.
Morgan holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a B.A. with a major in Sociology, and a Diploma in Community and Justice Services. When she’s not channeling her passion to promote social justice, Morgan is passionate about practicing and teaching yoga!

Akwe:go Program

Coordinator: Chad Johnson, 613-746-5400, ext. 222 cjohnson@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Helping youth and families grow.”

A Coordinator with OICC’s Akwe:go Program, Chad works with at risk Inuit children, ages 7 to 13. He joined the OICC team in August 2016 and the Akwe:go Program has proven to be a perfect fit.
Born and raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, he was drawn to youth and community work from an early age. During high school, he worked as a Red Cross Swim instructor. During college, he worked as Air Cadet Gliding Program instructor, and following graduation, he volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
While he works one-on-one with families and youth, Chad enjoys how OICC enables every student and family member to become part of a larger Inuit community. “I have begun to develop the same sense of community and security that I had growing up,” he says.
Prior to joining OICC, Chad worked as a Flight Attendant for First Air in Nunavut. He loves the cold weather and during the summer can usually be found somewhere with air conditioning!

Wasa-Nabin Urban Aboriginal Program

Coordinator: Thomas Ill, 613-746-5400, ext. 229 till@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“My job is exciting because I get to work one on one with youth and help them achieve their goals.”

Thomas is a coordinator for OICC’s Wasa-Nabin Urban Aboriginal Program; a self-development program for at-risk Inuit youth ages 13 to 18. He provides one-on-one culturally appropriate support to help youth learn goal setting, develop leadership skills, make healthy meals, and ultimately to lead a healthier lifestyle and achieve personal success.
Thomas started at OICC 2013 and is grateful for the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people who share his passion. In addition to learning more about Inuit culture, he gains huge satisfaction and joy from supporting youth while also learning from them.
Before joining OICC, Thomas worked at Syl-Apps Youth Centre in Toronto where he developed physical activities for youth. His educational background includes a Child and Youth Worker Diploma Program, Mental Health First Aid Certificate, and Mental Health First Aid Inuit Trainer. When he’s not working with youth, Thomas enjoys playing sports – or watching sports – and listening to music with friends.

Elders & Youth, Right To Play, and We Belong Programs

Youth Worker and Facilitator: Jasmine Doig, 613-746-5400, ext. 228 youth@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“OICC connects me to my culture, my community, my language – and I love working here.”

Jasmine is a Youth Worker for our Right to Play Program. Using play-based learning, this program helps children and youth ages 4 to 21, develop skills they can apply to various situations in their life. This includes promoting a healthy lifestyle, building relationships between Inuit Elders and Youth, connecting children to their culture, and other initiatives. She also runs the We Belong Program for Inuit Youth 13-21 Preparing, enabling and empowering urban Inuit, to access available education, employment and skills development activities and services.
Jasmine sees OICC as a home-away-from-home and a place where her ideas are valued. She’s grateful for the mentoring role that OICC enables her to play – to be the person she needed when she was young.
When she’s not working or volunteering, Jasmine enjoys writing, painting, and hanging out with her dog!

Youth Moving Forward

Coordinator: Christine Kudluk, 613-746-5400, ext. 226 ckudluk@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“The Youth of our community are special to me – I love their perseverance and creativity.”

A proud Inuk, Christine has been part of the Ottawa Inuit community since coming to Ottawa in 1992.
She started at OICC in 2008 as the Toddler Teacher’s Assistant and has since thrived in various OICC positions that support and celebrate Inuit traditions in an urban setting.
Today, Christine works as the Youth Engagement Coordinator for OICC’s Youth Team, a position that affirms her true passion: working with youth. “I love their perseverance and creativity,” she says unabashedly. While she likes all aspects of her job she is most enthusiastic about the opportunity it provides to get in-kind donations that support OICC youth initiatives and building a strong rapport with her clients.
Prior to OICC Christine worked in closed custody and residential treatment programs for at risk youth. She graduated from Algonquin College in the field of Corrections and has since received several professional designations.
When she’s not busy helping Inuit youth, Christine likes to spend time with family and friends and BEAD!

Facilitator: TBD

Bridging the Gap Program

BTG Coordinator: Ruth Kadlutsiak, 613-744-3133, ext. 218 btg@ottawainuitchildrens

“Excellent at empowering others and helping people see where they’re ‘stuck’ and how to move forward with renewed optimism.”

Ruth joined OICC as a Bridging the Gap (BTG) coordinator in September 2017. This influential program includes an outreach component with classroom presentations on Inuit culture; and one-one-one support to Inuit students who need academic help. As a coordinator, Ruth enjoys a diversified role that includes scheduling presentations, meeting with teachers and funders as part of a community outreach initiative, and preparing reports to support evaluation and decision making. She also delivers presentations when an OICC instructor is not available. For Ruth, OICC provides an important opportunity to stay connected to her own culture, give back to the Inuit community; and teach other students about Inuit traditions. She is passionate about passing on her knowledge and supporting the process of reconciliation and healing. Prior to OICC, Ruth worked as an English-to-Inuktitut translator, and vice versa, for over 30 years. She also worked as a Client Care Coordinator for Larga Baffin, and enjoyed a variety of positions for various Government and non-government organizations.

Student Support Coordinator: Kayla Power, 613-744-3133, ext. 218 kpower@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Helping students overcome challenges, celebrate their Inuit culture, and find a path with heart”.

Kayla is a Student Support Coordinator for OICC’s Bridging the Gap Program where she works one-on-one with Inuit children from Kindergarten to grade 12 to help improve their academic or social skills. She also works collaboratively with schools, helping them bring cultural resources in their own unique and meaningful way, to make their environments more welcoming for Inuit students.
Kayla is of Mi’kmaq ancestry – and passionate about working with children and fostering Indigenous wellbeing and pride in Inuit traditions. She joined OICC in September 2013 where she worked in the Tukimut Afterschool Program. She quickly demonstrated a talent for building relationships and helping Inuit students celebrate their strengths. She has thrived in the Bridging the Gap Student since April 2016.
Prior to OICC she was the Executive Assistant at the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Her educational background includes a BA Honors in Sociology and Bachelor of Social Work. In her spare time she enjoys crochet, gardening and hiking with her dog.

BTG Presenter: Dion Metcalfe, 613-744-3133, ext 218 dmetcalfe@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“It makes my heart sing to see how proud Inuit students are after I’ve done a presentation to their class.”

Dion has enjoyed many different jobs in an extraordinarily varied career. Get him talking and he’ll tell you about his time driving 18-wheelers across North America for Schneider National Carriers – a job he loved.
That’s a far cry from his current position: educating students in the Ottawa area about Inuit culture as a Bridging the Gap Presenter. He presents to students from kindergarten to Grade 12; and to teachers on PD days.
Dion sees this as incredibly important work. “Most people don’t understand who we [Inuit] are or why we are the way we are,” he says. His heart “sings” when he sees how proud Inuit students are after a presentation he makes to their class. He loves his job and is fantastic at making a connection with students and teachers alike.
What makes Dion such an insightful presenter and an ideal ambassador for Inuit culture is his determination to have “tons of fun” and sharing the extensive teachings he has received from elders and other Inuit.
When he’s not dispelling misconceptions about Inuit living in Igloos, Dion likes to bead, knit, crochet, play video games – and ride his bicycle.

BTG Presenter: Charlotte Qamaniq


BTG Presenter: Simon Coady

”Working at OICC is important to me because it connects me to my community.”

Simon is a presenter for OICC’s Bridging the Gap Program and the Youth Worker Assistant for the Tukimut Afterschool Program. He relishes both roles because they connect him to the Inuit community while helping to celebrate Inuit culture and traditions.
Simon joined OICC as a summer student following graduation from the Urban Aboriginal Alternative High School Program. This experience has proven invaluable – enabling him to relate directly to OICC students, and help them reconnect with their Inuit roots.
Words that best describe Simon are “artistic” and “creative.” Whatever he does, Simon always gives one hundred percent. “I try my best, whether it be painting and sketching, poetry, or sewing and beadwork,” he says.
When he has free time, Simon likes to bead, listen to music and admits that he is keen on “streetwear and sneaker culture!”


BTG Presenter: Zoe Brow

Uqausivut Language Program

Coordinator: Stephanie Etuangat, 613-744-3133, ext. 249 uqausivutcoordinator@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Keeping our Inuktitut language is very important to me as I see a lot of changes from traditional to modern dialects.”

Stephanie is a Coordinator for the Uqausivut Cultural and Language Program, which is dedicated to keeping Inuktitut alive in Ottawa.
Stephanie joined OICC in September 2017, drawn by the opportunity to work closely with the Inuit community in Ottawa. She understands firsthand the many challenges that come when transitioning from the North to a City; a move she made in 2009. Language can be a real barrier. “It’s difficult for someone who is unilingual to communicate when they don’t speak Inuktitut,” she says. The Uqausivut Program is addressing that need and she’s encouraged to see more agencies taking advantage of Inuktitut classes to better meet their Inuit client needs.
Prior OICC, Stephanie worked for Minister Leona Aglukkaq on Parliament Hill as a Constituency Assistant, helping Nunavummiut with federal services that weren’t readily available in their communities.
Stephanie is a graduate of Herzing College with a diploma in Accounting and Payroll Administrator. In her spare time, she loves sewing and has a passion for amautis.


Family Well-Being Program

Manager: Janice Messam, 613-744-3133, ext. 211 jmessam@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“If parents do well, then children do even better.”

Janice is the Manager of Family Well-Being for OICC. Her team works with parents, children, and youth to provide Inuit specific support that’s tailored to each family’s unique needs.
Janice has deep experience with OICC. She started as an Early Childhood Education (ECE) student in 2006 and joined full time in 2007. Prior roles include Manager of Early Years and the Preschool Teacher/Supervisor for Tumiralaat, OICC’s Child Care Centre.
Janice sees her role at OICC as an important opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Inuit families. She recognizes that parents are their child’s first and best teacher. “If parents do well, then children do even better,” she says.
Janice’s varied background includes fourteen years with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She holds a Diploma in ECE. When she’s not working with Inuit families, Janice enjoys spending time with her children, family camping, and occasionally fits in a dance class or two!

Family Services

Support Coordinator: Reepa Evic-Carleton, 613-744-3133, ext. 247 recarleton@ottawainuitchildrens.com

Excited about OICC’s programs and how they support the growth of Inuit children

Reepa has thrived as a Support Coordinator with OICC’s Family Well Being Program since November 2016. She is part of a team that provides holistic support tailored to the unique needs of each family.
Working at OICC is important to Reepa because she sees how the agency’s programs, services, and support help all generations of Inuit – from birth to elders. She sees and shares the passion of her co-workers; and believes in the inherent goodness of people. For her, OICC is more than a job or work; it’s a home away from home. “I love the fact that there are wonderful children in the program that are learning about Inuit culture and language,” she says.
Prior to joining the OICC team, Reepa enjoyed several positions with Tungasuvvingat Inuit where she supported various social and cultural programs. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, eating Inuit food, meditating, gardening, and cultivating her spirituality.

Intake, Ooloosie Taukie, 613-744-3133, ext. 248 intake@ottawainuitchildrens.com

Helping children grow and take pride in their culture.

Ooloosie is a Coordinator with OICC’s Family Well-Being Program, which builds on the strengths of Inuit children, youth, and families. Ooloosie supports the intake of families including data entry and directing families to the right OICC programs.
Ooloosie started with OICC in September 2016 as a Uqausivut Project Coordinator and Bridging the Gap Presenter. Her ability to quickly connect with people and speak to people in their language made her a valuable addition to the OICC support team.
Ooloosie sees OICC as an important way to help Inuit families adjust to their new life in an urban setting while reconnecting with her own culture. “I love how OICC’s programs and support help children grow and take pride in their culture,” she says.
Prior to joining OICC, Ooloosie was a stay-at-home mom. She has also worked in many departments within the government of Nunavut. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family and share her country food.

Assistant, Joy Akavak, 613-744-3133, ext. 248 fwbprogramassistant@ottawainuitchildrens.com

““What excites me about my job is seeing happy children and families – this is proof that organizations like OICC really do make a huge impact on peoples’ lives.”

“Joy is a Family Well Being (FWB) Assistant and Intake Worker where she helps facilitate Parenting Programs, Women’s and Men’s Healing Circles, and Monthly Culture Nights. Joy started with OICC in March 2017 as part of a 4-week placement for the Indigenous Community Service Worker Diploma Program from Willis College. Her success during this placement; and ability to connect with staff, children, and youth led to a 6-month extension before joining OICC fulltime in July. Joy brings direct experience as an Inuit parent to her role in FWB: both of her children attended childcare programs at OICC. She has seen firsthand how important quality childcare in an urban setting is; particularly for parents moving from the north. OICC gives her the opportunity to help those families transition successfully while also staying connected to the Inuit community. Prior to OICC, Joy was a dedicated stay-at-home mom before attending Willis College in 2016. She is also a tutor for Aboriginal women and is currently being trained to become a Fitness Coach and Instructor at Minwaashin Lodge – Aboriginal Women’s Support Centre.

Inunnguiniq Parenting Program

Coordinator: Trudy Metcalfe-Coe, 613-744-3133, ext. 219 tmetcalfe@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“I love to see people succeed!”

Trudy is the Parenting Program Coordinator and works closely with a facilitator to deliver OICC’s Inunnguiniq Parenting Program and the Men’s and Women’s Circles. She also works closely with the Family Well-Being team to build on the strengths of Inuit children, youth, and their families through a holistic approach that is tailored to individual needs.
Trudy joined OICC in April 2015, starting with the Bridging the Gap Program before moving to the Status of Women File and eventually in the Parenting Program. She is a natural caregiver and helping others is in her blood. She enjoys working with community members and discovering new ways to enrich their lives. “I love to see people succeed,” she says.
Prior to OICC Trudy was the General Manager at Larga Baffin. Her educational background includes Aboriginal Studies and Restaurant and Hotel Management. In her spare time, she relishes spending time with her “precious granddaughter”, quilting, sewing and trying new foods with friends, family, and the community she adores.

Facilitator: James Mutyaba Asaph, 613-744-3133, ext. 216 parenting@ottawainuitchildrens.com

An adaptable cross-cultural communicator with professional experience in three continents.

James is a community developer with over ten years of experience working with non-governmental organizations in the areas of aid coordination, health promotion, education, social work, client service and staff management. He has worked with community-based service providers, school administration, taught in colleges in southeast Asia, and worked with vulnerable populations, including youth at risk.
James joined OICC in September 2016 as Parent Program facilitator for several initiatives including the Inunnguiniq Parenting Program workshops, Men’s Circle, and breakfast with Dads program.
James is committed to working to support social inclusion and improved outcomes for individuals, families and groups. He is passionate about working with the Inuit community in Ottawa and learning about Inuit culture and language.
Internationally trained in the field of education and social work, James has a passion and aptitude for language. He is fluent in English and Luganda and speaks Swahili, Tai, Lao and is currently learning Inuktitut.

Women’s Services: Violence Prevention Program

Coordinator: Rebecca Jones, 613-744-3133, ext. 219 rjones@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“It makes me feel good to know that I am helping Inuit women and girls.”

Rebecca is a coordinator for the Women’s Services Violence Prevention Program. She works with various members of the community to find better ways to help Inuit women and children who are victims of violence.
Rebecca joined OICC in November 2016, drawn by what OICC stands for and the desire to help the Inuit community of Ottawa. She’s an excellent public speaker and uses this important skill for speaking passionately with community members to find better ways to help Inuit who are victims of violence. “I feel that what I am working towards something that’s very needed in Ottawa – it makes me feel good to know that I am helping Inuit,” she says.
Trained in counselling and crisis intervention, Rebecca worked in the Department of Justice as a Victim Services Coordinator for the Government of Nunavut prior to joining OICC. In her free-time she enjoys “soaking up the sun”, going for walks or spending time with friends and family.

Early Years’ Programs: Tumiralaat Child Care and Sivummut Head Start

Manager: Holly Vullings, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext. 228 earlyyearsmanager@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Ensuring children have the best opportunities early in life.”

Holly joined OICC in January 2017 as the Manager of the Early Years program. She works with teachers in the Head Start, Childcare, and Kindergarten programs to provide Inuit children with a rich variety of activities including cultural and language support, social support, monthly field trips, guests and visitors.
For Holly, childcare has always been a calling and true passion. She sees her role and the OICC as an important way to ensure children have the best possible opportunities early in life. She is particularly interested in children’s mental health with the goal of early intervention and prevention.
Prior to OICC, Holly worked in the Early Years Program and Specialized Preschool Programs for the Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre. She studied Child Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Early Childhood Education at Algonquin, and holds a certificate in Mental Health through Fleming College. In her free time, she likes to read, hike, play volleyball and spend time with her kids.

EY Teaching Team

Ina Zakal, 613-744-3133, ext. 217 izakal@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Proudly leads and demonstrates to children, and the community, the beauty of her Inuit language and traditions.”

Ina is the lead Cultural Teacher and mentor for the OICC staff bringing almost 30-years experience teaching children to the team. She is a Head Start toddler teacher in the mornings; and a preschool teacher in the afternoons.
Ina is a long-standing member of the OICC team and has been with us since we first opened our doors in 2005. She is visibly passionate about sharing and teaching people about her culture. She proudly leads and demonstrates to children, and the community, the beauty of Inuit language and traditions.
Ina has an Early Childhood Education (ECE) equivalency. In 2004, she was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in ECE. Her expertise in delivering Inuit programming within the Sivummut Head Start is recognized by other early learning and child care programs in Canada. Ina also helped create the Uqausivut Language Resources.
Her greatest joy is to spend time with her grandkids and family. As well as, she loves receiving visits from her former Sivummut students.

Cultural Assistant: Sheba Kasarnak, 613-744-3133, ext. 217

Cultural Assistant: Geeteeta Tikivik, 613-744-3133, ext. 217

Natasha DaSilva, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext. 220 ndasilva@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Taking pride and satisfaction from seeing her kids develop and grow.”

Natasha is the Early Childhood Educator of the Toddler program in OICC’s Tumiralaat Child Care Centre. Tumiralaat focuses on early learning based on Inuit values for children ages 18 to 6 years.
Natasha collaborates with other colleagues to lovingly introduce the children to being away from home and motivate them to begin to explore their world. A key to her success is the ability to establish a trusting relationship with the children in her care. She takes huge pride and satisfaction from seeing how her work with kids enables them to develop and grow.
Natasha graduated from Algonquin College’s ECE program in 2008. OICC recognized her talents during her college placement and was quick to bring her into the OICC community. In her free time, she enjoys watching hockey, especially the Chicago Blackhawks; watching TV, reading books and shopping. Natasha has roots in Ottawa, Portugal and Italy.

Sarah Proctor, 613-744-3133, ext. 220 sproctor@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Helping young children discover their unique strengths and capabilities.”

Sarah is a Cultural Teacher in the OICC Tumiralaat Toddler Program where she provides early learning based on Inuit values and traditions. She joined OICC in 2007 as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Head Start Program and joined the Toddler’s Program in 2010.
Sarah leads children through a broad range of activities including Inuktitut languages, cultural storytelling, fair play, painting, and cultural performances. She is a strong advocate of letting children learn at their own pace and giving each the time that they need to complete tasks with confidence. She also believes children should be able to take safe risks and challenge themselves in a contained setting to discover their unique strengths and capabilities.
In addition to helping toddlers discover Inuit values and grow, Sarah is also very good at singing in the classroom. Humor is important and in her spare time, she likes to paint and laugh with family and friends.

Bea Alvarez, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext. 217 balvarez@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Inuit should have access to high-quality education that respects Inuit traditions.”

Bea is an Early Childhood Educator in the Preschool program which supports Inuit children’s development in a loving, caring, and holistic cultural environment. Working closely with other ECE colleagues, she helps incorporate the children’s interests and the Inuit culture into a highly-individualized program that is tailored to each child’s needs.
A long standing and passionate member of the ECE team, Bea began working with the OICC when the full day childcare opened in 2008. She believes strongly that Inuit should have access to high-quality education that respects Inuit traditions – and that children have the best opportunities to learn about their past to strengthen their future.
A creative and tireless worker, Bea has volunteered Friday evenings for Roger Neilson House since 2006. She also manages the OICC website having learned these skills in her previous career as a graphic artist.
Bea is registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators and has a Bachelor of Education from Ottawa U. When she has spare time, she enjoys painting, reading, watching movies, and hiking at her aunt’s cottage.


Natalie Chenier, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext 217 nchenier@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“I’m excited to work and belong in a community that allows me to grow and learn.”

Natalie is a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) with OICC’s nationally celebrated Sivummut Head Start Program. She engages Inuit children, ages 18 months to 6 years old, in a broad range of activities that include culture and language development, social support, nutrition, health promotion and much more.
Natalie joined OICC in April 2017. Her partner and child are Inuit and she sees OICC as an important opportunity to make a difference while learning more about Inuit culture. She brings strong creative, listening, and team work skills to her role. “I not only want to engage children, I want to be part of their play to help identify and nurture each child’s special talents,” she says.
Prior to joining OICC, Natalie was a RECE supervisor at Centre éducatif La Clémentine. Her educational background includes an Early Childhood diploma in French. She enjoys spending free time with family and friends, connecting spiritually, and having adventurous fun!

Kindergarten Program

Bruce Kigutaq, 613-744-3133, ext. 225 bkigutaq@ottawainuitchildrens.com

Lisa Richards, OCT, 613-744-3133, ext. 225

“I love working at OICC because of the approach to learning and the supportive, positive environment.”

Lisa is a kindergarten teacher with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB). She works with an Early Childhood Educator and an OICC Inuit culture teacher as part of a dynamic team dedicated to bringing Inuit culture into the classroom. The Kindergarten Program is an important collaboration between OICC and OCDSB that is celebrated as a national success story.
Lisa is on staff at Robert E. Wilson Public School and joined the OICC program in 2015. She loves working at OICC because of the approach to learning and the supportive, positive environment. “It’s so exciting and rewarding to see the children grow and develop over a two-year period,” she says.
Prior to OICC Lisa taught Grade 1 at Robert E. Wilson and Bayshore Public Schools. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Education with a specialist in teaching reading with additional qualification in Special Education, Orff (level 1), and Kindergarten. In her free-time she enjoys spending time with family, reading, cooking and doing needlecrafts.

Valerie Lacelles, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext. 225

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a wonderful organization through our partnership.”

Valerie is part of an amazing team that brings Inuit values and culture into the Ontario school systems ABCs of student success. An Early Childhood Educator with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, she works side-by-side with a kindergarten teacher and Inuit cultural teacher to help strengthen a commitment to strong Inuit identity, culture and values.
Valerie started working for OICC in 2014. She’s passionate about her job and the opportunity to be part of the Inuit community through the OICC-OCDSB partnership. More than anything, she loves observing the children and their play. “Each year, I’m blessed to work with a different group of resilient children – it’s great seeing the growth they make over two years,” she says.
Prior to OCDSB and OICC, Valerie worked at a preschool with kindergarten and school aged children. Constantly learning, her educational background includes a diploma in Early Childhood Education, BA with a degree in Psychology, and Developmental Services Worker diploma. In her free-time she enjoys the outdoors at her cottage with husband and daughter.

Support Staff

Barbara Cayer, EY cook, 613-744-3133, ext. 221 bcayer@ottawainuitchildrens.com

Barbara is First Nations, Algonquin descent, from Kitigan Zibi. Her work as a cook has been a rewarding experience and has given her a chance to expand her knowledge of Inuit culture and language. Two of her grandchildren attend OICC programming. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her grandchildren, researching her family history and drumming and singing.


Glen Boyer, EY cook, 613-744-3133, ext. 217 gboyer@ottawainuitchildrens.com

Glen is the father of three beautiful children and his connection to the OICC began when his oldest, Jayden, started attending our programs when he was just 18 months. Nine years later, Glen is still involved as both a proud father and a valued member of the OICC staff. Since 2012, Glen has been working in our kitchen preparing delicious meals for the kids. Glen’s favorite meal is spaghetti and, after tasting his sauce, it easy to understand why! When Glen isn’t cooking for a small army, he stays busy by playing sports. He loves hockey and continues to play once a week. His love for hockey began when he was just a kid and he would spend his winters playing on the outdoor rinks. The only thing that would bring him home was supper. It was clear even then that he would either become a hockey star or a cook. From the smiles on the children’s faces after lunch, I’m sure the kids are glad he chose to become a cook.


Poasie Joamie, Maintenance, maintenance@ottawainuitchildrens.com

“Ensuring the equipment and buildings are in good working order.”

Poasie started with OICC as a Building Maintenance worker in June 2016. He takes great pride in ensuring the equipment and all OICC buildings are in good working order. He’s great at fixing things. He loves his job and the OICC and it really shows: everything sparkles and runs the way it should.
For Poasie, the ultimate reward is seeing happy kids, every day. “The kids are just awesome” he says! Plus, he gets to provide for his own family while continuously learning new things.
Before joining OICC, Poasie worked in Iqaluit for Irniivik and I.B.C as a technical operator; recording meetings for governments and other organizations, and doing technical work. He has a grade 7 education rounded out by extensive life experience that includes almost 20 years in broadcasting. And he enjoyed a satellite communications internship with Cancom.
In his spare time, Poasie loves to bike around, spend time with family, take walks in the parks…and, of course, hockey!