We are dedicated to bringing mindfulness and yoga-based tools into spaces that are least-served and often most stigmatized, increasing access to positive resources for youth who face violence, neglect, poverty and marginalization, providing opportunity to build resilience, self-empowerment and leadership.
Our facilitators are trained in anti-oppression, trauma-informed and strengths-based practices so that all youth feel welcome, included and valued.
We know that strong relationships built over time are the foundation of thriving programs that make for lasting change. Our programs are established in collaboration with, and respect for, the communities we work within, their needs and knowledge.
We serve youth within their own communities and programs are free of charge to participants. All sessions are offered in a secular manner with respect for all cultures and religions, and no previous experience is required.
Laura Sygrove is Co-founder and Executive Director of New Leaf. She brings 10 years of experience developing New Leaf programming, training teachers, studying trauma-informed approaches to offering yoga, and working primarily with youth in custody. Laura is currently pursuing her MSW degree at the University of Toronto.
Nicole Madison is Director of Operations & Communications with New Leaf. She brings over 15 years of experience managing in the non-profit and charitable sector, as well as experience teaching yoga, graphic/web design, and event management.
Julia Gibran is Educational Director at New Leaf. She has been teaching yoga in studios and to youth for almost a decade. Her degree in education fuels a passion for social activism and offering yoga to youth who have experienced trauma.
Kate Love is Program Director with New Leaf. She brings 15 years of experience coordinating and managing a variety of youth programs, with focuses on media arts, financial literacy and violence prevention. She is a criminologist, life coach, and published blogger.
Faith Jones is the Administrator Coordinator with New Leaf. She’s worked in the nonprofit sector for the past decade. Her passion lies in educating under-served youth through movement and mindfulness based-practices. She has done extensive volunteer work within her community and abroad for charities, including climbing Kilimanjaro.
Claudia Francis is the Bookkeeper with New Leaf. She has been working as a bookkeeper for over 10 years specializing in the nonprofit and charitable sector.
Jamilah Malika is a Mentorship Lead with New Leaf, as well as a published author/poet, ex-performing artist, yoga teacher, and community educator. She was a co-visionary of the Positive Space Initiatives at a downtown Toronto yoga studio.
Carrie McCutcheon is a Mentorship Lead with New Leaf. Carrie’s passion for social justice motivates her as a teacher and Social Worker. She holds an MSW (Indigenous Field study) and brings over 17 years experience working with youth through trauma-informed practices in a variety of settings.
Catalina Moraga is a Mentorship Lead with New Leaf. She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Spirit Loft Movement and Yoga Centre. She is dedicated to the practices of yoga and mindfulness as means to foster compassion, community and resilience.
Andre Talbot is a Mentorship Lead with New Leaf. After a 10-year career as a professional football player, he found solace and transformation through the practices of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. Andre is also co-founder of Spirit Loft, a local Toronto-based yoga and movement studio.
Lana Lontos is a Mentorship Lead with New Leaf. She is a yoga and meditation teacher, Gestalt psychotherapy student, and the creator and host of the Big Tree Mind Wellness Podcast. Lana is passionate about mindfulness practice, creativity and exploring how we connect to ourselves and our work.
Shaka graduated with two B.A. (Honors) degrees in Criminal Justice & Public Policy (University of Guelph) and Political Science (McMaster University). He has several years experience working with marginalized youth, young adults and the many barriers and challenges they face.
Felicia is a yoga teacher, owner/director of Moksha Yoga Uptown and St. Clair West, and mother. She worked with teens as a coach for 11 years and has assisted the Junior League of Toronto with implementing various programs for inner city youth.
Balaji holds a Doctor’s degree in Dental surgery and has been in private practice for over 12 years. He is currently a partner at Martindale Dental, a franchise of dental offices across the GTA. Balaji has been part of a large medical and dental team that offers volunteer services to residents of Ghana.
For the past 20 years, Angelika has worked to support youth in various capacities, including as board member at Horizons for Youth, and a volunteer for Dans La Rue, in Montreal. She is the Director for the Ontario Palliative Care Network, Primary Care and Survivorship.
Cherilyn graduated from Queens University and is currently a Centrally Assigned Principal for Learning Centre 4 in the Toronto District School Board. Formerly the principal at Westview Centennial Secondary School, she is determined to challenge the stereotypes, judgements, and obstacles which hinder students in underserved communities.
Nancy Magwood is a graduate of University of Guelph’s Fine Arts programs and has given back to her community through working with the United Way, volunteering for Out of the Cold, New Circles, and Enrichment Learning Programs for children.
Jess Robertson is Co Founder of New Leaf. She worked in leadership roles with Amnesty International for over 10 years and went on to co found Moksha and Modo Yoga – a hot yoga community bent on making the world even better.
Katie Anderson is a Fundraising Advisor for New Leaf.
Donna Armstrong MSW, LLB, practiced Social Work at Youthdale and Dellcrest Children Centers, and then became a lawyer and was an Assistant / Crown Attorney for 25 years. She enjoys practicing more yoga in her retirement phase.
Frank Jude Boccio
Frank is the author of Mindfulness Yoga. He has taught all over the world in a variety of settings, including as a guest teacher in prisons, and regularly contributes to Yoga Journal magazine.
Heather Greaves is a self care mentor. She uses her specialized knowledge and experience in therapeutic yoga to encourage the body/mind/spirit connection. Her certified yoga teacher programs are gentle and promote rejuvenation.
Bernice McLeod is the Executive Director of the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development at the University of Toronto. She is cross-appointed to the School of Early Childhood at George Brown College. Bernice has been engaged in the field of early learning and care as well as children’s mental health.
Rebeckah Price is an advisory committee member with New Leaf and has over 15 years working with marginalized communities and youth. She is also a yoga teacher and wellness advocate with a focus on promoting a more accessible and diverse yoga.
Adam Segal, MA, is a Toronto-based psychotherapist. He has experience working with adults and specifically with young adults, members of Toronto’s LGBT communities and persons facing illness. Adam’s interests in mindfulness and Buddhism greatly inform his life and work with clients.