Alo Raptopoulos, Founder & Chair
Alo is a Senior Lecturer and Tutor who taught at London South Bank University (Faculty of Health and Social Care) for 12 years. She also taught Nursing, Psychology and Medical students at King’s College London and at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP). She’s a Wellbeing expert and a Trainer in Health & Social Care. She has been promoting person-centred care and pathways -through service review, management consultation, and staff training and recruitment- for nearly 15 years. Since 2016, Alo is a Yoga Alliance UK certified Yoga Teacher. She delivers her classes, workshops and retreats all over London, and internationally.
Alo’s the Children & Families’ Voluntary & Community Sector Forum (VCSF) Representative on Lambeth Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). She received multiple awards for her work in education, including a Business Innovation award (from GLEoneLondon), and an award from UNTLD for VITAL (Vocational Involvement in Training & Learning). She received the London Leaders’ award for ‘Cause You Can’s sustainable education.
Alo learned and practised a range of performing arts as a child. It helped her to cope with issues at home, like her mum’s ongoing illness, and it kept her achieving at school. This is why she set up ‘Cause You Can in 2010. A Singer-songwriter, trained Musician and Ballet Dancer, she knows first-hand about the huge potential of creativity and self-expression towards improving confidence, motivation and wellbeing. Yet she’s aware that many parents can’t afford courses’ fees, which limits the children’s access to them.
‘Cause You Can tackles this and the broader inequalities that often hinder disadvantaged children’s development. Those who live in London’s deprived boroughs struggle to reach their full potential. Despite government’s reports and standards, child poverty in London is constantly rising. “Many of them feel unhappy, disempowered, and want to be heard. They need more opportunities to shine and to show who they truly are. At CYC that’s what we do: we nurture their aspirations and value what they have to offer”.
Marieke Wrigley, Treasurer
Marieke trained and qualified as an Occupational Therapist at the University College of Ripon & York St John (North Yorkshire). She’s worked in the NHS for over 26 years, in a variety of mental health settings. From 2007 to 2018, she was the Team Leader for SHARP (the Social Inclusion, Hope & Recovery Project) based in Lambeth. SHARP was unique, innovative and groundbreaking in providing evidence-based and time-limited interventions that focused on wellbeing, social inclusion and psychotherapy. The service had its own art gallery where clients and staff could exhibit their works together.
Marieke’s practice and charismatic leadership draw on a holistic and transdiagnostic approach to mental health. She likes to research into and develop new ways of working. She’s an expert in Mindfulness and other therapeutic interventions, such as Family & Systemic work, Solution-Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Marieke has a passion for the arts, with a particular interest in music and photography. Through personal experience and professional practice, she’s witnessed the therapeutic and transformational impact that all forms of participative and creative arts can have on adults, children and young people, like moving, inspiring and connecting them.
Olivia Emes, Secretary
Olivia is a Film Director and Senior Creative, who specialises in documentary filmmaking. She directed and produced eclectic and diverse content for television and online for over 14 years. She also trains young people to use filmmaking as a powerful means of self-expression, and to have their voices heard.
Olivia worked as a Senior Researcher for renowned agencies, including Viacom, MTV Networks and Apple. She was an Assistant Producer for Remedy Productions, a top entertainment and production companies in the UK. She worked as a Camera Operator at VICE Media and at the Barbican Centre, in the Education department. She became a Senior Creative at TellyJuice in 2012, a video and broadcasting agency who lent its editing studios to ‘Cause You Can’s students. She creates feature-length documentaries as a Director for PAZ Films. She has her own filmmaking and production company. She’s a lead Singer, Musician and Performer.
Olivia seeks to use filmmaking to create a dialogue on a local and international scale, using themes such as community and identity as sources of inspiration. She worked in Brazil as a Director and in-class Facilitator at Cinema Nosso, a film school set up by Fernando Merrilles (the Director of City of God). She also taught and worked with young people in Rocinha (the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro) and Vidigal, a neighbourhood of Rio with severe levels of socio-economic deprivation. In London, she was a Director and Facilitator for the ABC Trust’s project, Action For Brazil’s Children.