OKN’s Indigenous Reconciliation initiative considers Truth and Reconciliation as two distinct entities, as illustrated above. Learn more about this graphic in our Indigenous Reconciliation Strategy.

Children spend a great deal of their first 8 years learning in schools, thus, how schools connect to their community is important. Progress in this area will show good connections between schools, parents, community resources and the local neighbourhood.

  • Parental involvement in schools
  • Youth as resources
  • Volunteerism
  • Community use of schools
Children thrive in neighbourhoods that are safe and connected. Neighbourhoods that can meet all of our needs are valued.

  • Neighbourhood safety
  • Neighbourhood cohesion
  • Walkability
  • Caring for the community
Safe environments benefit children by providing a sense of personal security that allows them to take maximum advantage of learning, playing and making new friendships.

  • Child care capacity
  • Quality child care
  • Parenting capacity
  • Parental monitoring
  • Quality time at home with family
Safe environments benefit children by providing a sense of personal security that allows them to take maximum advantage of learning, playing and making new friendships.

  • Serious injury
  • At-risk behaviours
  • Safety from harm
All children need positive connections to their parents/caregivers, peers, school and community.

  • Supportive and caring environments
  • Boundaries and expectations
  • Commitment to learning
  • Positive values
  • Social competencies

Learning is one of the cornerstones for success in life and starts at birth. Community progress for this result will show that children are learning both in their preschool and school years.

  • Preschool learning opportunities
  • Student achievement (EQAO)
  • Healthy body weight
  • School engagement

Good health is a prerequisite for positive outcomes for children and youth. Both physical and emotional health are valued in this result. In addition, given the critical brain development that takes place in the first 12 months of life, infant health is closely monitored.

  • At-risk births
  • Healthy eating
  • Healthy body weight
  • Physical activity
  • Mental health

Our Team

In addition to the OKN Champions, Community Planning Table, and our Secretariat, OKN includes a small but mighty backbone team with specialized expertise.

Explore our organization structure.


Elisabeth Wells

Elisabeth Wells, PhD

Executive Director

Elisabeth is responsible for the strategic and operational direction of OKN. Her leadership in engaging key partners and community agencies to work together has contributed to stronger and more diverse partnerships. Elisabeth works with OKN’s Champions to advance the network’s mission for all children and youth to thrive.

She oversees the network’s generation and mobilization of evidence for child and youth wellbeing through a collaborative, cross-sector approach.

Elisabeth has extensive experience in the human services field, primarily in the areas of research and evaluation, teaching, and community engagement. Over the past 18 years, she has held numerous positions with children’s aid societies, hospitals, universities, the provincial government, and community agencies. She holds a PhD in Applied Social Psychology from the University of Guelph and a certificate in Knowledge Translation from SickKids.

Elisabeth enjoys spending time with family, listening to music, and going for long walks by the lake.
Eileen Palermo

Eileen Palermo

Executive Assistant

Eileen works with all levels of the organization providing administration support while still maintaining focus on the goals and tasks of the Network.

Eileen has a professional open-door approach to ensure that all committee members and staff have the information and support they need to feel connected to maximize involvement in fulfilling OKN’s strategic directions.

The hallmarks of OKN are collaboration, sharing and partnership at both the administrative and grassroots levels. Eileen’s extensive background in administrative support and organization in both the private and not-for-profit sectors including academic and healthcare services has been invaluable in her role within the arena of social services.

Eileen’s approach to her role is flexible, responsive, and effective. Eileen enjoys spending time with family and good friends enjoying a glass of wine and a delicious meal prepared with love.
Randa Bassil

Randa Bassil

Public Relations & Communications Specialist

Randa leads OKN’s communications activities that align with the organization’s vision and raise its visibility among professionals and the Halton community at large.

She works relentlessly to advance the digital footprint of OKN and applies innovative tools to build relationships and share organizational messages widely.

Randa is a service-oriented individual with a passion for helping marginalized communities and newcomers. She is an experienced communications specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit & government sector.

For 8 years, she offered media training for over 200 spokespeople, and helped participants prepare for their on-camera interviews. She is a Canadian certified community interpreter with a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a French Minor. Randa loves to organize social events and enjoys new food experiences with her family.
Rebecca Abavi

Rebecca Abavi

Knowledge Broker

Rebecca is the Knowledge Broker at OKN. She shares research and data with the network, and develops knowledge translation tools and resources. Her role focuses on building the network’s capacity to improve the lives of children and youth through research and data. Prior to joining OKN, Rebecca led work in research and knowledge translation in roles focused on ending gender-based violence.

Her key accomplishments include developing data collection protocols for a national human trafficking hotline, and developing data-based program and policy recommendations to end human trafficking as Research Associate at the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking. Rebecca brings an equity focus to her work, and has substantial experience engaging equity-deserving groups.

She enjoys fitness, spending time exploring nature on hikes, reading, and spending time with friends and family. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto.
Bruna Redoschi

Bruna Redoschi, PhD

Research Associate

Bruna is responsible for breaking down data into meaningful information, supporting research, and evaluation within the network. She is behind our Data Portal updates and workshops.

With over fifteen years collaborating in research and knowledge dissemination initiatives, Bruna is passionate about using research and data to support meaningful change toward a more equitable and inclusive society. At OKN, she is your go-to person for anything data-related.

A rights-based, structural approach to health and wellbeing frames her work in qualitative and quantitative research. Bruna has a master’s degree in Social Psychology and a Ph.D. in Public Health.

She loves to swim, watch tv series, and spend time with her family.

Our Champions

Our Kids Network (OKN) has seven Protocol Partners who provide leadership, financial support, and help set the direction for the network.   These partners include Halton Region, Halton Children’s Aid Society, Halton Catholic District School Board, Halton District School Board, Halton Multicultural Council (HMC Connections), ROCK (Reach Out Centre for Kids), and ErinoakKids (Centre for Treatment and Development). Their sustained support is crucial for the success of OKN in improving outcomes for children, youth, and families in Halton.

Community Planning Table

The Community Planning Table oversees implementation of our vision, mission, and strategic directions, as approved by the Champions.  Using the Halton 7, they identify the main issues affecting children, youth and families in Halton and organize action at the community-level. They oversee action tables and engage leadership and stakeholders.  Membership includes senior staff from the seven protocol partners, OKN Executive Director and senior staff members, parents/caregivers, and youth.  The group reports to the Champions annually and ensures evaluative mechanisms are in place to support the Halton 7 outcomes.

Knowledge Translation and Research Committee

Responsible for supporting and advising on the research, evaluation and knowledge mobilization activities of the network, this committee is composed of researchers and research administrators representing the seven protocol partners and other community members with an interest and/or experience in evaluation, research or knowledge translation for children and youth. Through networking, partnerships and the use of research, the committee works together with OKN research and knowledge mobilization staff to create, facilitate, and share research and evidence that furthers understanding of issues facing young people, and advocates for and uses data-informed practices to promote and support child and youth wellbeing in Halton.

Our Secretariat

The Secretariat, which is located at Halton Children’s Aid Society, plays a vital role in the support of the network.  In addition to providing office space for the team, the Secretariat is also responsible for providing critical financial, human resources, and IT support.  With the support of the Secretariat, the backbone team can focus on implementing OKN’s strategic initiatives and improving outcomes for children, youth, and families in Halton.

OKN organization graphic