Media Advisory - Sheldon Kennedy and Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day among speakers at Children's Aid Foundation's second annual five14 Talks

In recognition of Ontario's Children and Youth in Care Day, five14 Talks will bring together community influencers and thought leaders in conversation to inspire change for children in Canada's child welfare system

TORONTO, May 13, 2016 /CNW/ - On Friday May 13, to coincide with Ontario's Children & Youth in Care Day, the Children's Aid Foundation is hosting five14 Talks – Talks to inspire change, an annual thought leadership forum devoted to exploring positive changes that can be made in meeting the needs and challenges faced by children and youth served by the child welfare system. Speakers will explore issues such as child abuse, aboriginal and LGBTQ issues with an audience including young people formerly in care, child welfare advocates, policy makers and philanthropists.

Moderated by MP Seamus O'Regan, forum delegates will also celebrate the strength and resiliency that youth in care continue to demonstrate while overcoming tremendous adversity in their lives. In Ontario, more than 23,000 children and youth are in the care of the child welfare system.

"Through a powerful exchange of ideas and new collaborations created, we can have a greater impact on the lives of vulnerable kids and youth involved in the child welfare system," says Valerie McMurtry, President & CEO, Children's Aid Foundation.

With the central theme of change, five speakers will be given 14 minutes to present their ideas, foster discussion and inspire change for future generations of children involved in the child welfare system, followed by a panel discussion.



Interviews with young people formerly in care, speakers and attendees who are
taking part in a thought leadership forum in honour of Ontario's Children & Youth
in Care Day to explore positive change in meeting the needs of children and youth
served by the child welfare system. 


  • Valerie McMurtry, President & CEO, Children's Aid Foundation

  • Irwin Elman, Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

  • Seamus O'Regan, MP, returning for a second year as moderator

  • Sheldon Kennedy, former NHL hockey player, will discuss his advocacy
    work and commitment to trauma-informed education and integrated practice
    to support healing and recovery for those traumatized by abuse

  • Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day will discuss issues facing aboriginal
    children in care

  • Violet-Rose Pharoah, arts-based administrator and a former youth in care, will
    share reflections on The Garbage Bag Challenge, a personal commitment to
    carrying a garbage bag for 365 days to raise awareness about the lack of
    luggage provided for children and youth in foster care and the emotional "unpacking" 
    children entering care face 

  • Nicholas Ugoalah, gold medal wrestler, entrepreneur and former youth in care,
    will share how his involvement in wrestling changed his trajectory and helped
    to shape his identity and self-confidence while in care 

  • Dr. Alex Abramovich, researcher at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental
    Health will discuss his research on youth homelessness in the LGBTQ community
    and the impact for those in care who identify as LGBTQ

  • Jane Kovarikova, child rights advocate who grew up in care, will discuss going
    beyond teaching youth in care to "survive" and instead teaching them how to survive
    their many successes.


Friday, May 13, 2016

9:30 to 12:15 pm: five14 Talks speaker presentations and panels discussion moderated
by Seamus O'Regan

12:15 pm to 1:15 pm:  Interview opportunities with talk participants, former youth in care
and Children's Aid Foundation spokespeople 


Arcadian Loft, 8th Floor

401 Bay Street

Toronto, ON   M4H 2Y4


About the Children's Aid Foundation
The Children's Aid Foundation is Canada's leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in the child welfare system. With the support of generous corporate, foundation and individual donors, we have been helping children reach their potential against all odds since 1979. Join us and help some of the most vulnerable kids in Canada overcome traumas of the past and rebuild stability, self-worth and a sense of life's possibilities. Learn more at .

SOURCE Children's Aid Foundation

For further information: Lisa Lipkin,, 416-988-4189


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