TORONTO, Ontario (Monday, December 6, 2021) — The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAS of Toronto) has appointed Marlon Merraro, as the Chair of its Board of Directors, even as it thanked previous Board Chair, Margot Trevelya — whose 2-year term ended on June 17 — for her contribution to the agency.
Trevelyan will continue to support the CAS of Toronto, as an advocate for its work and endeavours.
Growing up as an immigrant child, Merraro reflected that he understood, early on, that physical and social environments are instrumental, in either fostering or hindering, the health of a community, families and individuals.
As a result, he chose to focus his academic and professional career on the continuous improvement of interrelated systems, and the impact they have on those, who rely on them, the most.
“Growing up in high-density urban neighbourhoods, where hardship and enormous barriers were all around me, I watched charismatic, resourceful, kind, larger-than-life individuals survive and compete, while the system and the environment, gave them very little, and often actively worked against them,” Merraro reminisced.
“I made a decision, at a young age, that my life’s work would be centred on attempting to level the playing field, within diverse geographies, for those living in the margins and experiencing complex barriers.”
“Through my work, I attempt to address the three common drivers of disenfranchisement: justice, education, and the broader determinants of health. I understand, first-hand, that the right supports need to be in place to create better conditions and meaningful outcomes for children, youth and families,” the new Board Chair added.
Merraro’s interest in community-building, led him to study Social Service Design and Community Development, throughout his career, during which, he has held progressive leadership positions, across the non-profit sector and within government institutions, and acts as a respected consultant on issues of diversity, equity and system transformation.
In 2015, Merraro — who is currently the Executive Director at Peacebuilders Canada — became one of Canada’s Governor General Leadership members, joining leaders, from across Canada, who are brought together to help address our country’s most pressing social issues.
“CAS of Toronto is a leader in the Child Welfare sector. We have a great responsibility to engage in new and uncomfortable conversations, in order to continually improve and address existing concern and make bold decisions to respond to emerging issues, as expected by the community.
“My priorities, as Chair, will be to drive the important work we’re doing to address the disproportionality of Black and racialized children and youth in care, further our diversity and equity strategy, and advance and encourage conversations within the broader sector.
“My aim is to make space to advance on what our community needs, now,” asserts Merraro, who brings, to the Board, a deep passion, experience and drive for finding creative solutions to complex social problems.