Meet The Team
I came to Regina, Saskatchewan at the age of six as an immigrant from France with a Lithuanian background. We were a single parent family with 3 children, so I was only able to start playing the violin because the lessons were free. This changed my life and also formed it! I was fortunate that my teacher was the former Concertmaster of the London Philharmonic in England. Through the violin, I was introduced to all the other arts, and although we had no means of listening to music at home, I spent hours at the conservatory and library listening to their extensive collection of classical recordings. I was awarded a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in England; one of the top music and drama academies. There I became a professional musician working with Covent Garden Opera, the London Mozart Players, even recording background music for the Beatles and many other ensembles. Yehudi Menuhin was my mentor. While touring with the Royal Ballet and the Leningrad Ballet, I became involved in the arts and literature community, as well as drama. Later, I moved to Germany and was fortunate to work with top notch ensembles and musicians. I helped found a full-
time music school, all while being involved in festivals and organizing concert series. When I moved to Collingwood seven years ago, I immediately recognized the need for arts programs. This is why I founded 5th Street Creative Initiatives. I was fortunate that I never had to pay for lessons or training, so I teach at no cost because I believe arts programs are a right for all youth and should be free. It changed and enormously enriched my life and that is a gift I wish to pass along!
With a background in English Literature (BA (Hons), York University), Publishing, Marketing, Communications and Program Development, I am happy to put these skills to work to do my part in bringing 5th Street Creative Initiatives’ objectives to fruition.
After moving away from the GTA to a small town outside of Creemore, Ontario, I was ecstatic to land a job locally with a National Publishing House and worked as the Assistant Editor for Canadian Architecture & Design Magazine. Here I was also charged with organizing large scale events, such as fundraisers and launching public awareness campaigns. I later transitioned to Communications Director of the Publishing House where I sat on the Executive Board. That journey concluded when they relocated and I was soon thereafter offered a position with Virta Group INC; an energy management
firm where I focused on revamping their Marketing Strategies and developing a strong media presence for them in leading industry journals. Since becoming a parent, I have devoted myself to teaching and educating our daughter, and it is my aspiration to positively influence and inspire the lives and minds of others; showing them that through 5th Street Creative Initiatives your potential is limitless! I am looking forward to spearheading exciting new programs that partner with the community to provide the gift of knowledge and equal opportunity for all.
I was first introduced to 5th Street Creative Initiatives when I worked as an Accessibility and Media Librarian at the Collingwood Public Library (CPL). Over a period of eight and a half years, I transitioned through many roles and worked my way up to a supervisory role in Community Engagement. Throughout my time at CPL, my work involved supporting the development of alternate format collections and assistive technology, educating library staff on the principles of
equitable library service, managing, and inspiring the collection maintenance assistants, and providing programming and support to vulnerable members of the community.
I hold an Honours BA in History from Carton University, a Master's Degree in Library and Information Studies, a Project Management Certification from the University of Toronto, and have a series of certifications relating to leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion. I have over 10 years of experience working in public libraries, proudly serving residents and organizations in Simcoe and Grey County. I am passionate about empowering young people to unleash their creativity, discover their potential, and use their talents to change the world around them. I happily reside in Collingwood with my partner and dog Syrah; loving this community and am ready to take on any challenge to support the future development of barrier-free arts and cultural programming for all.
Hania Krajewski is a retired Drama and Music Teacher for The Toronto Catholic District School Board. With a Masters of Education, Movement and Language Development, she has taught children from the Kindergarten level to Grade 9 students. Throughout her distinguished career, she has served on Executives for the Ontario Chapter of Carl Orff, supporting the teaching of music following the Orff Approach; and the Council of Drama and Education in Ontario. As a 25 year veteran Orff Movement Instructor with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Hania motivates others to learn how to foster student musical performance and creativity though prudently arranged musical experiences; employing a combination of songs, games, rhythms, poems, dances, and stories from all around the world. She has received a Ministry Course Accreditation for
teachers who have devoted 25 years to their profession and she is currently volunteering at Beaver Valley School in Thornbury, teaching Drama and Orff to grade 4 students. Hania is looking forward to bringing her decades of experience and
knowledge to the participants of the Drama and Theatre Programs hosted by 5th Street Creative Initiatives.
Robert is an Educator, Musician, Playwright and all round theatre enthusiast. He is presently a well-loved elementary school teacher with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board. During his outstanding teaching career, he has taught children of all ages; from 3 to18 years old. Robert has written, produced and directed a number of musicals whose themes challenge the conventional norms of traditional children’s theatre. He has inspired young minds and captured the hearts of audiences with his completely sold out productions that have shone a light upon worthy subjects such as homelessness, illness and global conflict. Robert currently resides in the Town of Collingwood with his wife and four children. He is excited to share his passion for theatre with the people of Collingwood and the surrounding community. 5th Street Creative Initiatives is elated to be collaborating with Robert and looks forward to many successful children’s theatre productions with him at the helm.
Nicole Yokum earned her BA in Theater from Dartmouth College in NH, where she starred in plays like Frank Wedekind's "Spring Awakening" and Sophie Treadwell's "Machinal," and participated in musical theater and experimental theater of various kinds. She went on to study philosophy, and recently completed a dual-title PhD in Philosophy and WGSS at Penn State. In the meantime, she has occasionally participated in performance art and similar artistic ventures. Nicole currently lives in Collingwood with her family, including son Milo and baby Otis.
My name is Julia Lippert and I am a Counsellor and Registered Psychotherapist. I have been working in the mental health field since 2001, supporting families, couples and individuals. I now work together with my husband Kyle Lippert, in our multi-disciplinary clinic in Collingwood, Ontario. I have been privileged to support people in overcoming just about anything – with compassion and empathy.
I have supported clients to move from depression and anxiety to greater hope, strength and joy in their lives. I have guided clients in their healing from trauma and towards a path of hope and peace. And I have seen families rebuild relationships marked by loving communication and a sense of fun. Working together through hard times can truly grow a sense of closeness and trust.
In my free time, you will find me out in nature, enjoying life with my husband and kids or spending time at a local horse barn. My love for horses and the developing research into the effectiveness of Equine-Assisted Therapy has led me to become trained in this wonderful modality of therapy. I am currently training to become certified as an Equine Assisted Psychotherapist.
My name is Andrea Foster, and I am a counsellor at Blue Oaks Counselling and Wellness with a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology (MACP) from Yorkville University. I joined the Blue Oaks team as an intern in 2021. My educational journey also includes an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Biology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a diploma in paramedicine from Conestoga College.
In my career as a paramedic, I have had the privilege of walking alongside people during some of life’s most challenging and intimate moments. I have witnessed the transformative power of courage, inner strength, resiliency, and community support. My goal is to cultivate an inclusive environment, foster self-discovery, and nurture clients’ strengths to expand their inner resources. I believe in a holistic, individually tailored, and evidence-based approach.
My name is Michelle Markson, a Visual Art educator. I have worked in education since 2005, teaching youth multiple art disciplines in the private and public sectors. I hold a BFA from OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario, and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning from Christchurch College of Education,
Christchurch, New Zealand. For my undergraduate study, I majored in multiple specialties; life drawing, oil painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. I utilize my skills and talents in art and child development to better serve my students. Having taught in New Zealand, South Korea, and Ontario, I bring a variety of learned techniques from travel experience to educating youth in painting, illustration, printmaking, and sculpting. I have facilitated student development of strong art portfolios, showcasing their creativity and achievements and helping multiple Universities accept them in Ontario, Canada. As a contemporary realist artist, my mediums include acrylic, oils, spray paint, and portraits. My work hangs in many private and corporate collections in Ontario and New Zealand. I love all
creative endeavours and constantly explore new media and working methods.
In my free time, you will find me practicing and teaching yoga, painting, paddle boarding, and walking my dogs along the water.