The Team

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Tamara Menon – Founder

Tamara Menon has worked for over ten years in the music industry – ranging from performing arts to community facilitation. Her work with marginalised and vulnerable youth through Songbound in Mumbai, India, led her to pursue further education in Canada, where she has completed the undergraduate Community Music program at Laurier. Her interactions with the Laurier community and the KW Multicultural Centre’s theatre-based workshops for Canadian newcomer youth garnered the inspiration for the Yuva Arts Project, an idea built through forming meaningful partnerships with diverse community artists & organisations.  She continues to work on evidence-based programming with her team to further develop the Yuva Arts Project and is all set to pursue her Masters in Social Work at University of Toronto.


Lisette Pineau – Project Coordinator


Lisette Pineau has always felt a pull towards the arts and community. With a background in performing arts from Randolph College, along with an undergraduate degree in Community Music at Laurier, she is thrilled to be in pursuit of a Masters in Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy at Martin Luther College at Laurier. After completing her Masters, she plans to enter the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and begin her practice! Her work with the project continues through research geared towards evidence-based programming results to ensure impactful future projects can occur on a global scale. 




Olivia Maveal – Project Coordinator

Olivia Maveal was Co-Project Coordinator of Yuva Arts Project 2019! Her presence in the world of music has been consistent over the years. Her interest in musical entertainment quickly turned into a pursuit for the betterment of her community. She is currently completing her music therapy internship at Lutherwood, a not-for-profit which provides mental health, employment, and housing services to individuals in Waterloo Region and Wellington County. She works with youth with mental health challenges to address goal areas such as emotional awareness and self-worth, and focuses on using tools such as song-writing, song recording, and musical improvisation in their sessions. Once Olivia completes her 1000 hour internship, she plans to write her Music Therapy Accreditation exam!



Sara Pickard – Social Media Coordinator


Sara Pickard was involved in YUVA Arts Project 2019 as the Social Media Coordinator. After several years of classical music education, they are currently completing their 1000 hour internship for the Music Therapy program at Laurier, specializing in hospice work. With a passionate interest in both the arts and community building, they are honoured to have the chance to continue working on this unique project.





Giorgia Benazzi – Team Member
Giorgia Benazzi became a part of the team on the annual university exchange between Lyon, France and Laurier in Waterloo, Canada. She currently works for L’École Lyonnaise des Cuivres where she teaches brass group lessons and a small wind orchestra.  Along with her teaching career, she also provides private trumpet lessons within her community. Although she is currently back in France, she is looking forward to building connections for future Yuva Arts Projects. 





As an actor and artistic director with MT Space, Pam Patel has toured nationally and internationally. Her credits with the company include Last 15 Seconds, Body 13, and Paradise, as well as several Theatre for Social Change pieces. Pam also works with MT Space’s Newcomer Youth Project and coordinates the industry conference at each IMPACT, a biennial international theatre festival. A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University’s music program, Pam acquired a special focus in new music and improvisation, and attended the Vancouver Creative Music Institute where she collaborated with pioneers of improvised music and showcased her talents at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Pam has also been a part of the Stratford Summer Music Festival, performing a wide range of pieces from the Bach Coffee Cantata to Myaudia: A Street Opera by Peter Hatch. Pam recently music directed the third year production at Humber College and is currently the Board President for NUMUS, a new music producer and presenter in Waterloo. Pam is the incoming Artistic Director of MT Space.


Priti Patkar fondly known as ‘Priti tai’ is the founder and Executive Secretary of Prerana. Originating from Mumbai, she obtained her ‘Bachelors in Social Work’ from Nirmala Niketan College and her ‘Masters in Social Work’ from Tata Institute of Social Science. In the year 1986, she along with her husband Prof. (Dr) Pravin Patkar began their work along with Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work in Kamathipura, then the largest red-light area in Asia. It was there that Prerana was born – to break the cycle of exploitation and inter- generational trafficking. Prerana conceptualized the first Night Care Center for children of the women living in the red-light areas. Today, Prerana’s work models are being replicated not only in India but across the world. Prerana has been recognized by both the Government of India and internationally for its work and has been invited to attend as well as present at many international conferences. It has received the largest number of landmark orders from the High Court for giving justice to the rescued girls. Priti Patkar continues to encourage and support several social organizations to take up similar programs. She is a strong advocate for minimum standards of care and protection in shelter homes and child care institutions.


Dr. Gerard Yun – Mentor

Ensemble director, multi-instrumentalist, composer, conductor, and scholar, Dr. Gerard Yun brings together intensive preparation in Western classical musics (masters and doctoral degrees in choral/orchestral conducting) with traditional training in cultural music traditions including the Japanese Shakuhachi, Asian Overtone Singing, West-African Kora, Ghanian Drumming, South African Choral Singing, Australian Didgeridoo, and Native American flute. Yun works to bridge cultures through community music practices, facilitation, and forms. As Assistant Professor of Community Music at Wilfrid Laurier University, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Community Music, Critical Studies, and Global Citizenship including specialized courses in Music and Social Justice and Global Sacred Musics. His interests include intercultural music ethics, improvisation in intercultural and interfaith community settings, and contemplative musics as community. He is an active ally in promoting healthy musical interactions between indigenous and settler cultures. In 2016 he received the Laurier Centre for Music in the Community Award for Recognition for contributions that enhance the quality and vitality of music in the community.