How We Help
Board of Directors
Lydia Sai-Chew, Chief Executive Officer
Lydia is chief executive officer responsible for administration and direction of all aspects of Oolagen's operational and clinical services.
With 25 years of experience in children’s mental health, Lydia holds a B.Sc. and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto. She draws on her considerable leadership experience with children’s mental health programs at Griffin Centre, Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, and the Peel Children’s Centre, along with her background as a frontline social worker with the Dellcrest Children’s Centre and Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
She is current co-Chair of the Children’s Service System Review and Consultation Committee, which is the Ministry of Children and Youth Services Toronto Region’s service resolution mechanism.
Caroline Sneath, Director of Development B.F.A.
In 2003, Caroline joined Oolagen to head up their development activities. She is a development and communications specialist and has worked in both the profit and not-for-profit sectors. Past organizations she has worked for, include Sotheby’s Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Addiction Research Foundation (CAMH) and Gilda’s Club Toronto.
Born in Princeton, Indiana, Caroline later moved from the US to Canada and graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art (Hon). She attended university while a single mom and working full time.
A long-term member of the Rotary Club of Toronto she has served on their Community Services Committee and is a member of their Women’s Initiatives Committee. Caroline’s volunteer work includes Toronto Public Health’s One-on-One Mentoring Program, the Canadian Film Centre and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR).
Ruth Pluznick, Director of Clinical Services
Ruth received her M.S.W. from the University of Toronto in 1987 and was hired at Oolagen Community Services that same year as a front-line social worker. In 1994, she became Oolagen’s Director of Clinical Services. In this position, Ruth has fostered the development of narrative therapy and community work at the agency, as well as a concern for issues of social justice.
In the past four years, Ruth and colleague Natasha Kis-Sines have pioneered a program for families with parents experiencing mental health difficulties, an anti-stigma initiative that highlights stories of love and care in these families. They have published articles about this work in international journals and a documentary is a currently being planned.
Ruth provides narrative training to hospitals, school boards and community agencies locally and internationally. She is also a founding member and faculty for the Toronto Centre of Narrative a Therapy and an advisor for the Dulwich Centre teaching program. (www.dulwichcentre.com.au)
Marilyn Vasilkioti, Supervisor of Community Services
Marilyn received her Honours B.A in Psychology from York University, and her Masters of Social Work degree (M.S.W.) from the University of Toronto. She has been with Oolagen since 1987 and in 1991 she was promoted to Supervisor of Community Services. Before joining Oolagen, her work experience was in child welfare, and learning disabilities.
In 1990, Marilyn spearheaded Oolagen’s program that treated adolescents who had sexually offended. She supervised this program and ran groups with this population for 10 years. Marilyn has addressed several conferences on this topic in Toronto and Ottawa.
This past year, Marilyn initiated and supervised our weekly Walk-in Clinic, which provides clients with quick access to counselling services when they need it, and without an appointment. This program has been enormously successful and has reduced the outpatient waiting list significantly.
Chuck Nagle, Manager of Residential Programs
Chuck joined Oolagen in 1980 and has more than 40 years experience in residential treatment services with adolescents, including admission and assessment with the Metropolitan Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
Chuck started with Oolagen as a residential front-line worker and was promoted to the position of House Supervisor in 1983. In 1990, when Oolagen expanded the residential program, Chuck was appointed to oversee the entire program as Residential Manager – a post he still holds today. In this position, Chuck oversees the quality of residential service.
Chuck brings an enormous amount of dedication to his work and the youth we serve. In his words, “I have seen the courage that many courageous young people show in overcoming tremendous obstacles. It is gratifying for me to have witnessed and been a part of these accomplishments.”
Catherine Blocki-Radeke, Supervisor of Wraparound
Catherine Blocki-Radeke joined Oolagen in 1999. Catherine received her M.S.W. from the University of Toronto, her Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) from York University and her B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology and English from Guelph University.
Catherine is one of the leading trainers of the Wraparound process in Toronto, throughout Canada and different parts of the world. She has provided training and technical assistance about these approaches to communities and regions across Ontario. Under Catherine’s direction, her staff team have trained local and international groups. She has also lead numerous research projects over the years and presented at and helped organize the National Wraparound Conference in 2005.
Of particular note, is Catherine’s work in mobilizing the community to develop initiatives that use Wraparound with street youth as well as with homeless young mothers. Some of the graduates of these programs have become volunteers and staff who work to help other youth improve their lives and get connected to positive community supports.