Face shot of Jennifer Robbins

Jennifer Robbins

Executive Director

Jennifer’s experience with the Canadian Helen Keller Centre (CHKC) and the deafblind community started in 1996.  Jennifer ...

Jennifer’s experience with the Canadian Helen Keller Centre (CHKC) and the deafblind community started in 1996.  Jennifer started her career at Rotary Cheshire Homes (RCH) as the executive assistant to the founding executive director, Joyce Thompson. In 2001, she began taking on leadership roles within the agency when she became the housing manager of RCH, and in 2013 the administration and facilities manager of both RCH and CHKC.  Jennifer also held roles as interim/acting executive director of RCH and CHKC, administrative coordinator at CHKC and an intervenor in RCH’s outreach program. In addition, she has sat on various sector planning committees throughout the years such as an Intervenor Symposium and the Intervenor Services Human Resource Strategy. In 2016 Jennifer moved into her current role as the executive director as she led the agencies through an official amalgamation of RCH and CHKC. Along with her current role, Jennifer also serves on the board of the Canadian National Society of the Deaf-Blind as the treasurer, the Deafblind Network of Ontario and as the chair of the 2023 DeafBlind international conference planning committee.

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Mélanie Gauthier

Consumer Programs Manager

As the Consumers Programs Manager at CHKC Training Centre, Mélanie is passionately involved in the deafblind community in ...

As the Consumers Programs Manager at CHKC Training Centre, Mélanie is passionately involved in the deafblind community in Ontario. Mélanie started her career in deafblindness over 20 years ago working as an intervenor at RCH and has since held many positions within the deafblind community. Some highlights include: Treasurer and Program Director for the Deaf-Blind Association of Toronto, JuneFest planning committee member and member of the ROM Adversity and Inclusion Committee and part-time college faculty at George Brown’s Deafblind and Intervenor Studies Program, as a Field Seminar and Field Placement Supervisor. Mélanie is also an Assessor for MCSS Intervenor Services and currently sits on the Communications and Marketing Committee for the 2023 DBI Conference in Ottawa.

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Dionne Pinel

Housing & Facilities Manager

Dionne began with us as a placement student through the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program in ...

Dionne began with us as a placement student through the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program in 2009. She graduated with honours in 2010 and was presented with the Joan Mactavish Award in Memory of Mae Brown. After graduating, she worked as an Intervenor for both CHKC and Intervention Services Corporation. She also took on the role of Treasurer for Deaf-Blind Association of Toronto, DBAT, for a number of years. After working as an Intervenor for 5 years, Dionne took on a leadership role as the Housing and Facilities Manager.

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Renée Toninger

Intervenor Services Manager

Renée joined the CHKC team in 1997, after working three years in the intervenor services field at partner agencies. She ...

Renée joined the CHKC team in 1997, after working three years in the intervenor services field at partner agencies. She started as an intervenor, then transitioned to the role of community services coordinator, and training coordinator. In her current role as intervenor services manager, she leads, manages, mentors, and oversees a team who provide intervenor services to consumers of CHKC. She is an assessor with MCCSS, and a member of various internal and external committees. When not at work you are likely to find her either at the end of the dock with a book…or two.

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Coralie Metcalfe

Intervenor Services Supervisor

As the intervenor services supervisor at CHKC, Coralie is responsible for overseeing all intervenors. Coralie has been ...

As the intervenor services supervisor at CHKC, Coralie is responsible for overseeing all intervenors. Coralie has been active in the deafblind community since 2007 and graduated with honours from the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program in 2009, winning the Dean’s Medal of excellence. Coralie has been with CHKC since 2010 where she held the role of intervenor up until 2014 when she stepped into her current role. Previous to CHKC, Coralie has held full-time positions at Intervention Services Corporation and the Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf.

 

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Lessette Morales

Consumer Support Specialist

Lessette graduated from the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program in 2006 and started her career ...

Lessette graduated from the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program in 2006 and started her career as a dedicated full-time intervenor for CHKC.

Lessette is passionate about volunteering and co-founded the Deafblind Adventurers which reduces isolation within the deafblind community. Lessette has been dedicated to promoting the professionalization of Intervenor Services and serves as a board member of the Intervenor Organization of Ontario and represented the IOO as co-chair at the most recent Intervenor Symposium 2018: Making a Wave from Coast to Coast.

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Nisha Parakat

Nisha Parakat

Human Resources Specialist

Nisha is an MBA graduate from India specializing in Human Resources and Marketing. In addition she has a post-graduate ...

Nisha is an MBA graduate from India specializing in Human Resources and Marketing. In addition she has a post-graduate certificate in Human Resources Management from George Brown College, graduating in 2010.

Nisha has almost 17 years of experience working in various aspects of HR and has been in the non- profit sector in Canada for more than 12 years.

As the Human Resources Specialist at CHKC Nisha supports management in various employee relations functions which includes recruitment, payroll, employee engagement, retention, policy and procedure among others.

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Lee Simpson

Consumer Support Specialist

Lee is a graduate of the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program. She was hired in 2005 by CHKC, ...

Lee is a graduate of the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program. She was hired in 2005 by CHKC, formerly RCH, as an intervenor. In 2006, Lee became the community services coordinator at CHKC, supporting the deafblind community. Lee is a behavioural competencies trainer and a member of the National Deafblind Awareness Month Committee.

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Marta Zaharia

Consumer Support Specialist

Marta Zaharia is a 1991 graduate of the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program, making her one of ...

Marta Zaharia is a 1991 graduate of the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program, making her one of the first ever graduates from this unique program. She has been working in the Deafblind Intervenor Services sector since 1992. Over the years, Marta has been dedicated to the field, striving for better consumer services. She started her career as an intervenor, working her way up to her current role as the consumer support specialist at the CHKC Training Centre. Marta has also flourished in expanding access for seniors with dual sensory loss, including an increase in available programming and the highest quality of intervenor services for CHKC’s senior consumers. Marta is also an advocate for intervenors and the professionalization of their role in the province of Ontario, most notably as the current president of the Intervenor Organization of Ontario (IOO). As a part of the IOO and Marta’s outstanding work, she became one of the founding board members of the Deafblind Network of Ontario (DBNO). During the past three decades Marta has become a well-respected name in Ontario and the field of deafblindness.

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Elio Riggillo

Consumer Relations Coordinator

Elio was born and raised in Toronto. He uses ASL, tactile ASL and pro-tactile communication. Pro-tactile allows Elio to ...

Elio was born and raised in Toronto. He uses ASL, tactile ASL and pro-tactile communication. Pro-tactile allows Elio to receive the environmental information without having to interrupt the conversation. Elio and his wife have three children. In addition to his work at CHKC Elio works as an instructor for the George Brown College intervenor program. Elio began using intervention services when he was 30 to help build his independence and leadership skills while working in the community. He has been involved in helping to educate people who are deafblind and inform other people about intervention services. His motivation was to teach his children that even though he is deafblind he could still be an advocate, learn new skills and help others.

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Nicole Allossery

Administrative Assistant

Nicole began with us as a placement student from the Executive Administration program at Seneca College in 2017. She was ...

Nicole began with us as a placement student from the Executive Administration program at Seneca College in 2017. She was hired as a part-time administrative assistant in early 2018 and is now our full-time administrator.

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Franco Cignelli

Marketing & Communications Specialist

Franco has worked in the not-for-profit, healthcare and charitable sector for over 15 years. Some of the organizations he ...

Franco has worked in the not-for-profit, healthcare and charitable sector for over 15 years. Some of the organizations he has worked for include Bridgepoint Hospital, The Hospital for Sick Children, CNIB and Easter Seals Ontario.

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Lacey McMaster

Lacey McMaster

Intervenor Services Coordinator

Lacey is a graduate of the George Brown College Intervenor for Deablind Persons Program. She was ...

Lacey is a graduate of the George Brown College Intervenor for Deablind Persons Program. She was hired as an intervenor by CHKC in 2016, a role which she enjoyed for five years. During this time, she worked as a board member for the Deafblind Association of Toronto (DBAT), a lead intervenor, and the intervenor services assistant. In 2021, Lacey began her position as the intervenor services coordinator, generating a regular schedule for all consumers and intervenors at CHKC. Previous to her involvement with the deafblind community, Lacey also worked for a number of years as an editor in educational book publishing.

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Laura Haydon

Consumer Programs Coordinator

Laura began working with CHKC as a placement student at the CHKC Training Centre in 2008. She graduated from the George ...

Laura began working with CHKC as a placement student at the CHKC Training Centre in 2008. She graduated from the George Brown College Intervenor for Deafblind Persons Program in 2009 where she received the Joan Mactavish Award in Memory of Mae Brown.

Since then,  Laura has held various roles with the organization including Intervenor at Rotary Cheshire Apartments and CHKC Training Centre. As of 2018, she holds the role of Consumer Programs Coordinator.

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