Ryan has been a proud Rivertowne resident for the past 3 years. He and his son were searching for a neighborhood to call home and developed a connection to Riverdale after meeting many passionate residents and business owners in the area. They both frequent the Queen/Saulter Toronto Public Library and his son is enrolled in the ITF Taekwon-do classes at the community centre.
Ryan has been working at a non-profit management company for the past 7 years and has held positions with the Canadian Cancer Society and Heart and Stroke Foundation. This gives him a unique perspective on how a wide range of non-profit associations operate and their use of best practices. Ryan brings his varied finance/operations management experience to RTCC and is looking forward to helping the Riverside communities as a Board Member.
John loves the East end of Toronto and has lived here; the Bain Co-Op and Greenwood-Dundas neighbourhood, most of his life. His work has been focused on counselling, income support, disability issues, accommodation and training. While on staff with the Metro Labour Education Centre he travelled the province delivering educational workshops to Labour-Management committees facing plant closures and layoffs. He witnessed the devastation caused by job loss but also saw first-hand how well-targeted programs can provide relief and hope. For the last 16 years John has been the Ontario Training Coordinator with Indigenous and Northern Affairs where he gained an understanding of the challenges facing aboriginal communities, even as he was frustrated by inadequate bureaucratic response. John has recently retired and is looking forward to using his skills to support the efforts of the Ralph Thornton Community Centre in enabling all the voices in our community to be heard. He has a passion for music, local history and municipal affairs.
Christine recently returned to Toronto, Canada after a number of years living and working in the US. She has 12 years of professional experience on Wall Street and is currently working as a senior project manager/senior consultant in the Canadian financial industry. Christine is passionate about making a long lasting impact in the community and is a strong advocate for mentoring, diversity, and inclusion.
She has an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). She hopes to contribute her varied finance/project management background experience at Ralph Thornton.
Caleb Edwards, his wife and two children have lived in the neighbourhood since 2014. Originally from Scarborough, Caleb spent time in New York City and London before returning to Toronto. Caleb and his family enjoy the neighbourhood and want to give something back to the community. Over the past two years on the board, Caleb has learned about the role Ralph Thornton plays in the community, welcoming new neighbours, providing space for older neighbours and providing access and opportunities for those with needs.
Caleb has a JD from Columbia Law School and an LLM from University College London. During the day, Caleb practices commercial litigation at a firm downtown. He hopes to continue to work with the board in strengthening the Centre and preparing it for new challenges.
Ex Officio Board Member Councillor Paula Fletcher
Paula Fletcher has a long record of service to Toronto-Danforth residents, becoming involved as a leader in the East End Parent Network, then working as Public School Trustee. In 2003 Paula was elected to City Council for the former Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth, and was re-elected in 2018 as the City Councillor for the new Ward 14 Toronto-Danforth.
On city-wide issues, she has focused on creating a healthy city through her involvement in housing, public health, recreation, environment and community development issues. Paula works with residents, business owners and community agencies to build vibrant, healthy neighbourhoods, and is a strong voice at City Hall defending the services residents expect from their City.
She is Vice-Chair of Toronto and East York Community Council and Vice-Chair of the City’s Planning and Housing Committee. She serves on Boards of Civic Theatres Toronto, Heritage Toronto, CreateTO, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Foodshare, and the Toronto Foundation for Student Success. Locally, she is also on the Boards of the Applegrove Community Complex, Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre, and the Riverside and Leslieville BIA’s.
Sharon Ho has lived in Leslieville for the last 10 years and previously in the Pocket for seven years. She is passionate about community development, environmental and community gardening. Sharon and her family have used the After School program and the Joy of Writing group at the Ralph Thornton Community Centre. They value the affordable and accessible space that the Centre provides especially at the time when the community is changing and becoming less affordable in some ways for people to live and gather. Sharon is currently a financial journalist, but has a long history of working and volunteering for non-profits.
Hamdi Jimale is a lifelong resident of Leslieville and has worked in various capacities within the municipal government and various non-profit organizations in the last three years.
As the former Director of Internal Affair of the Toronto Youth Cabinet, Hamdi focused on policies related to community safety, transit, affordable housing, and newcomer issues at Toronto City Hall, and saw the need to create spaces to meaningfully participate in civic affairs. As former President of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) student society, Hamdi successfully executed issue-based campaigns and ensured stable funding for student services during times of cuts. Hamdi’s professional experiences include organizational development, strategic planning, program evaluation, policy development, and community engagement.
Since 2015, Hamdi has been a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross as a Disaster Responder, where she has supported vulnerable individuals and families impacted by disasters. She also volunteers as a Board of Director with the Rexdale’s Women Centre, a non-profit agency that serves high-need women and their families.
Hamdi holds a Bachelor of Forensic Psychology from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and is completing a Master of Public Policy at the Munk School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.
Alan has been a resident of the Ralph Thornton Community Centre catchment area since 1981. Having raised a family in our neighborhood, he is concerned about the future for young families, newcomers and seniors in the downtown of Toronto. For him, a vibrant community requires a mix of demographics and activities as well as supports for all of its residents.
He spent 25 years working in the labour movement in Toronto both as an activist and a staff member representing workers in the federal government. Using the skills in organizing, administering and analyzing policy learned and developed through those experiences, Alan hopes to continue contributing to the building of the Ralph Thornton Community Centre as an institution supporting all parts of the community. Such community centers, in his view, must provide both needed services as well as facilitate the building of the capacity to develop and maintain an inclusive and citizen-oriented neighborhood and city.
For the past 4 years, he has served on the board as a member as well as Treasurer and President. Alan is looking forward to continue to help build RTCC as a vibrant community Centre for all our residents.
Megan moved to Leslieville in 2004, where she and her husband are raising their children and operating a consulting firm. Megan has dedicated her time to amplifying the voices of underrepresented peoples, ensuring they are represented in public policy development, and encouraging broader civic engagement.
Megan has a wide range of management experience, including program design, implementation and evaluation, human resources and financial oversight. With a certificate in Not-For-Profit Governance Essentials, Megan has assisted Boards and staff with updating, developing and implementing policies and procedures for achieving compliance and best-practices in NFP management. Megan has provided organizations of various sizes with fundraising, public engagement, event management, media relations and social media strategies.
Megan and her three children have benefited from the wonderful programming at the South Riverdale Child-Parent Centre; she looks forward to giving her time and expertise to the Ralph Thornton Community Centre to ensure families and community members feel similarly welcomed and supported in their neighborhood.
Ed moved to Riverside in 2015 and fell in love with the shops and energy of the neighbourhood immediately. Ed & his partner frequent the Queen/Saulter TPL and enjoy supporting local merchants. Ed welcomes an opportunity to learn more about the residents served by RTCC and to contribute to support the needs of the community. Ed is an engineering consultant in Toronto and has worked with the CNIB and the Red Cross Disaster Management Team.
Julia has been living, playing and raising a family in the Riverdale and East Toronto neighborhood for over 10 years and has actively navigated the community, education and health sectors. As an active member in the community, Julia is committed to fostering diversity and community well-being in order to strengthen the neighbourhood and is passionate about building supports for families, parents and children. Professionally, Julia brings expertise in healthcare, governance and IT and has been facilitating strategic change through active engagement with individuals and organizations for over 15 years. Julia has advanced degrees in developmental psychology.
Janet has resided in Leslieville for 11 years and is a strong supporter of local businesses in the neighborhood. Janet is passionate about civic engagement. Ensuring all community members feel represented will be a priority for her at the Ralph Thornton Centre Board of Management. Janet welcomes the opportunity to contribute to RTCC’s vision, helping to meet community needs. Her career has been focused on information technology in healthcare at both the provincial and continuing care level, and dedicated to inclusive strategic partnership and engagement specifically to community care settings. For the past 6 years, she has led a walk/run clinic for mental health and addiction outpatients, family members and staff at her former workplace, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Ejay has been a Downtown East Toronto resident for over 12 years, currently residing in the Riverdale/Leslieville area. He is passionate about the neighbourhood and particularly interested in serving marginalized people in this area.
He has been involved in serving vulnerable people for over 13 years by working for the Yonge Street Mission as a Case Manager, serving as the Community Chaplain at Cornerstone Dinner in Regent Park, and employed as a Youth Minister for Church in the City in St. Lawrence area. Ejay currently runs his own not for profit start up serving individuals in the downtown neighbourhood who are in cyclical poverty. His extensive experience in public speaking, fundraising, and teaching, has served him well in his past experience and current role.
Ejay is best known for his compassionate heart, his love of people, his music and his great sense of humour.