Our Team


Ashley Huff, social media developer, Manager and Coordinator

Ashley is our team community outreach and social media coordinator. Ashley is a mental wellness and body positivity advocate.  

For three years she was involved with The LOST Organization in Hamilton, and currently she volunteers with Ontario Mental Health Support Group as well as running a local wellness peer support group for Hamilton.  
Ashley also is involved with Mind The Bar, which is a mental health initiative to provide support to the hospitality industry.
When she isn’t involved with mental health work she works as a social media coordinator as well as teaches art part time in her community.Ashley has a Foundations in FASD certificate a nd is always learning more about disabilities as well as how those who have them can experience a better quality of life. She is looking forward to getting to know our community better!

Lily Zepeda, Resume and Interview workshop Facilitator at BeyondAbilities

Lily, CW, RSSW, has worked as a resume/interviews specialist and coach/motivator, since 1990. She was a former owner of A-Z Professionally Done! Resumes and Bookkeeping Services. One of her passions in life is to empower communities facing barriers looking for work. Work, and life have enriched her life and provided priceless experiences for her to work with marginalized, Indigenous communities. These communities face issues such as disabilities, mental health, and homelessness, etc. She graduated (with honours) from GBC in 2018, and she is currently a 4th year student in the BSW program, studying part-time at Ryerson University. She was formerly a Certified Bookkeeper for over 25 years. The jobs she has taken on throughout her life are Resume/Interviews Specialist, Marketing/Business Director (at A-Z…), Human Resources/Hiring officer, Controller Assistant, Admin. Assistant/Benefit Administrator. Most recently, Lily has worked as caseworker, and resumes/life skills facilitator, family and child worker, home visits child and family caseworker. she says “I believe that the key to finding employment is the ability to transfer our employable skills because we all have them! and a solid resume that we are able to represent in an interview”. Anti-oppressive and Anti-discriminatory practices have become a second nature practices she applies in her working environment and personal life.

Ghofran Alyass, B.A in Disability Studies, ESL Instructor at BeyondAbilities

Ghofran Alyass is a recent graduate of the Disability Studies Program at Ryerson University, with a B.A in Disability Studies. She is the founder of BeyondAbilities and serves as the ESL Instructor at BeyondAbilities. Previous positions she has filled include, Research Assistant at DEEN Support Services, Co-chair of the Student Engagement Working Group, an initiative part of Access Ryerson at Ryerson University, Children Program Facilitator at North York Community House, where she was able to pursue her passion of empowering others to reach their potential. She continues to find ways to build environments that foster equity, diversity and inclusion. In 2021 she took on the role of Volunteer ESL Instructor for a non-profit organization called Serag Society. With this experience and her lived experience as both an immigrant to this country 15 years ago and an individual with disability, she will be an excellent ESL Instructor at BeyondAbilities where her work will be grounded in Ant-oppression and strength based approaches. Ghofran will be the instructor taking over the intermediate level classes.

Karen Hawes, B.A in Fine Arts, NASCAD, Diploma in Community Worker, George Brown College, Art Program Facilitator at BeyondAbilities

Karen Hawes is an art instructor who trained at NSCAD University and loves making art with kids and families. Karen combines skill development, creative expression, and mastery in her art programming to offer students a foundation from which to grow. The focus of her programming is having fun experimenting in a supportive environment, where participants enjoy learning. She is also formally trained in applying an Anti -Oppressive practice in her work with communities. She has obtained a college diploma from George Brown College that is located in the Downtown core, that is itself diverse.

Sakina M., ESL Instructor at BeyondAbilities

Sakina Sadikot, lives with a neuromuscular disorder and uses a ventilator to breathe and a wheelchair for mobility. she is a devoted mother and sister, and someone who is passionate about sharing her story and advocating for other individuals like herself to live in the community despite being ventilated and wheelchair bound. Her past experiences working with spinal cord injury patients, as well as other volunteer organizations that work with people with disabilities, have allowed her apply her skills in a more holistic setting, and be able to be part of amazing initiatives. she hopes to bring forth her experiences, knowledge, and passion to this workplace, and she strives to learn more about herself and others and bring out the best in them. At BeyondAbilities, she will bring her experience into the setting in which she will teach English as a Second Language to youth and adults with disabilities where she will encourage each student to share their stories and experiences and use them as tools for learning the English Language. Sakina will be the instructor taking over the the beginners level classes at BeyondAbilities.

Nicole Habus, Community Worker, Mental health support group facilitator at BeyondAbilities

Nicole Habus, CW, has worked as a Childcare Worker, Health Promotion Program Support Worker and Program Facilitator. She has a passion for empowering others to reach their goals and follow their own dreams. Trained in applying an Anti-Oppressive practice in her work, she believes diversity, equity and inclusion are vital in building a safe and healthy environment with a sense of community for all to learn, grow and share. Nicole is a single mother and understands the many struggles of being a single parent. Her life and work experiences have given her the fuel to reach out to those who are struggling to find balance within their lives. She understands that mental and physical health are areas single parents like herself often struggle with and she wants to provide participants with a safe space where parents can learn and share with one another to find balance, improved self-worth, coping strategies, resources, and above all new friends who can relate to one another and support each other along the way.

Rafia Haniff-Cleofas, BA in Islamic Studies, International Open University, Parenting with a Disability support group facilitator

Rafia Haniff-Cleofas has been active in Canada’s disability rights movement over the last 25 years. She is a founding member of ERDCO – The Ethno Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario, which was established in 1993 to advance the social inclusion, rights, and diverse voices of racialized people with disabilities. As a founding member of CAM-D, the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities, she strives to make the Muslim community inclusive of those with disabilities. She is also a founding member of Race and Disability RAD Canada and represents this organization at Disability without Poverty.

Rafia works as the Community Relations Manager with DEEN Support Services. She facilitates the Peer Support Network for people with disabilities and the Senior’s Circle Program with Islamic Institute of Toronto. In 2020 she organized and facilitated the first Global Conference on Disability and Islam. A motivational speaker, and humanitarian working on charitable projects in the Philippines and Gaza. Throughout this journey, Rafia has become an expert in teaching others how to adopt habits that will allow them to push further. She is passionate about helping people reach their full potential through her coaching business as a Mindset and Transformational Coach.

She uses a powered wheelchair due to polio. She has a BA in Islamic Studies from International Open University (IOU). She is married with two amazing children. At BeyondAbilities she will bring forth her experience of parenting with a disability and encourage mothers with similar experiences through their parenting journeys.

Dora Cristina Pereira -Lisboa, Parenting Children with Disabilities Support Group for Parents

Dora Cristina is a passionate Registered Early Childhood Educator who enjoys supporting children and families of all abilities. As an Inclusive Resource Professional, Dora Cristina uses a strength-based, client-oriented approach and best practice. She can adapt environments that cultivate and foster inclusion for all children.

Dora Cristina can plan for adaptation and accommodation based on individual and family needs. Guiding families through challenges, and building goals based on what is meaningful to the child and important to the families. Knowledgeable in task analysis, problem solving skills and goal planning; Dora Cristina is committed to supporting children with disabilities and their families with more meaningful, fulfilling experiences and personal realizations.

A current student at the School of Disability Studies at X University, Dora Cristina is acquiring new knowledge and skills to add to her lifelong learning journey.