Disclaimer on Language:  Every Kid Counts recognizes the power of language in self-identification and we respect the right of those to self-identify as they wish. On our website and in our public advocacy, as much as possible, we have sought to adopt an inclusive approach, using the terms “disabilities” as well as “special needs." Furthermore, while we have adopted a person-first approach (“I am a child with autism”) we do acknowledge and are sensitive to those who prefer to identify using an identity-first approach (“I am autistic”).

Copyright 2017 Every Kid Counts 

The government should not discriminate between disabilities.

Children should be supported according to their need,

not according to their school.

MEET THE COMMITTEE

David Zarnett, Executive Director

 

David Zarnett has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto, where he has taught courses on human rights and international politics. He also serves as the Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of Political Science. On campus, he has witnessed the detrimental effects that inadequate supports can have on students with disabilities.  He is passionate about providing students of all abilities the support they need to thrive and be successful on their own terms.   

 

For more information, please contact David at david@everykidcounts.ca.  

Hani Tawfilis

 

Hani is the official spokesperson of the Coptic community for the diocese of Mississauga, Vancouver and Western Canada. He is a board member of the Canadian Middle Eastern Christian Congress, as well as a husband, father of three, and owner of an independent pharmacy in Hamilton, Ontario for the last 25 years .  He moved to Canada in 1990 from Cairo and is a graduate of Cairo University.

Sukaina Dada

 

Sukaina is the founder and president of SMILE Canada, an organization dedicated to supporting children living with disabilities and their families. She is a pediatric Occupational Therapist and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Critical Disability Studies at York University. She is also the co-author of a children’s book, A Bedtime Prayer for Peace.

Sevag Kupelian

 

Sevag currently serves as the Chair of the ARS Armenian Private School's Board of Directors.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the American University of Beirut and a Bachelor of Commerce in Accountancy from Concordia University in Montreal. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA), and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

ENDORSEMENTS

March of Dimes Canada: 

 

"Every child with a disability deserves the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. March of Dimes Canada supports the position of Every Kid Counts, the campaign for kids in all schools, public or private, to gain access to special supports. This includes support for those with a wide range of behavioural, communication, intellectual, and physical disabilities, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, dyslexia, hearing loss, deafness, autism, and diabetes. March of Dimes Canada believes parents should be able to choose the school that is best suited to their child's physical and mental abilities, and that every student should have access to the services and supports they need to optimize their education." - Andria Spindel, President & CEO, March of Dimes Canada

Works of Wonder: 

 

"I strongly support the efforts of Every Kid Counts. I have worked with children and their families for over 20 years, and I have had the pleasure of seeing how much relief families can experience when they find a school that can help their children learn and grow. Each child is unique. Uniqueness is a quality that is lauded in society, but for children with disabilities it is often a barrier when it comes education. Finding the best-fit school for any child struggling with a difference in abilities is vital for that child’s success. For some children, that ideal school exists within the public system. For others, families must look to the independent schools to meet their children’s needs. I have seen children thrive when they are able to  access the right school and I have seen many struggle when they are denied such access. No family of a child with a disability should have to endure the added stress of not being able to provide their child with what is necessary for that child to learn. No child should be left without access to an appropriate education simply for being unique." - Aviva Golberg, Director, Works of Wonder

Variety Village: 

 

“Variety has a long and rich history of serving children with a disability.  It is for this reason that our organization supports Every Kid Counts.  Working together, we can create an environment for all kids to thrive.  The children are our future and together we will build a strong community for everyone.” Karen Stintz, CEO, Variety Village.  

CNIB Ontario: 

 

“We support the Every Kid Counts campaign as it strives to close the gaps in the education system for children and youth living with disabilities, including those with sight loss, and empower families to make the best choices that meet the educational needs of their children.” Angela Bonfanti, Vice President, CNIB Foundation (Ontario & Quebec) (read the endorsement letter)

Starts With Me: 

“Starts With Me creates platforms to support gaps in education and services in order to empower families and individuals to increase their capacity for well-being. We seek to communicate the youth voice to parents, teachers, service providers, youth organizations, and policymakers to improve the ethos of the mental health care system.  In my work as the founder and director of Starts With Me, I have had the honour to work with schools, parent groups, hospitals, and mental health agencies. Across the GTA and southern Ontario, I have seen that when kids have access to the right kind of supports, their innate potential shines through, thus increasing their capacity to live a meaningful life. It is for this reason that I sincerely support the mission of Every Kid Counts to ensure that all children with disabilities, including mental health issues, are given access to the educational supports and services they deserve." – Mike Stroh  Director, Starts With Me Inc.