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 WrigleyMarieke 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 EmesOlivia 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.