Meet The Team
Pearl Lee Co-Founder/CEO, B.A Honours, D.T.A.T.I
grew up in Hong Kong and Malaysia. She never thought that she had the ‘artistic skill’ or ‘technique’ to create any meaningful art, since she always failed her art classes. But during her high school years, she became more interested in graphic design and enrolled in Art as one out of the six subjects for her International Baccalaureate diploma. In the beginning, she was meticulous and measured every single angle, until one day, she was given a 72” x 72” canvas. She no longer had the mathematical patience and just ran with it. That piece was the beginning of her therapeutic journey through art.
From a young age, she learned to put up a strong mask and concealed her emotions. During her International Baccalaureate course, she was guided to create a series of paintings circling one theme. Through that process, she was able to find healthy expressions for her concealed emotions and began to discover, explore, learn and heal.
She moved to Toronto at 19 and attended York University, obtained her B.A Honours in Psychology and took a year off to spend time with her father before his passing. After that incident, she thought about the moments she used to spend in the art room and the effect it had on her. She decided to follow intuition and pursue a career as an art therapist, and applied to the Toronto Art Therapy Institute.
She is currently pursuing her vision of affordable mental health services through the work of Art Therapy, to promote the importance of mental health and self-awareness.
Lacey Ford Co-Founder/CEO, B.A Honours, D.T.A.T.I
A native of rural Prince Edward Island, Lacey is a self-taught artist wh began showing an interest in art when she was only seven years old, and started out by doodling cartoon characters she saw in children’s books. In high school Lacey began using art creative as a form of therapeutic relief and self-expression.
In 2012, Lacey obtained her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). During the last year of her undergraduate at UPEI, Lacey came across the definition for art therapy, and realized this is what she had been practicing on herself, and decided then that she wanted to share the power of healing through art with other people in the world. Immediately after completing her undergraduate degree at UPEI, Lacey moved to Toronto to study art therapy at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute and graduated from the program June 2016.
On October 9th 2014, Lacey launched a grassroots non-profit organization with her friend and business partner Pearl Lee, called the ‘Full Circle-Art Therapy Centre’. The aim of the organization is to deliver art therapy services throughout Toronto and making mental health services more accessible to those who cannot afford private services. She has experience in providing art therapy to a variety of populations including: trauma survivors, youth, older adults with varying levels of ability, developmental delays, individuals struggling with mental health and addictions.
Our Board of Directors
Cherry is an accounting/finance professional working with clients' spanning across diverse industries including financial services, private equity, manufacturing, real estates, and Not-for-profits etc.
Karen is an artist and therapist from Toronto, Ontario. She holds a master's degree in Art Therapy from New York University as well as a bachelor of fine arts from OCAD University. After taking time to study psychology and human development, Karen worked in the field of early childhood education. She also spent five years being a creative arts volunteer at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health working in various departments.
Mark has an IT career spanning over 30 years, on 3 continents and in diverse industries and has built and overseen the successful development and implementation of business transforming solutions such as enterprise knowledge management, many integration solutions, global custom data capture, services-oriented applications, migrating systems to the Cloud and much more.
Naeimeh is a Software Developer with 10 years of experience with a variety of technologies from embedded programming to developing web applications. Her passion is in using technology to make a difference in people's lives.
Raquel Siu Chock
Experienced in Customer Service with a demonstrated history of working in the retail industry. Skilled in Trend Analysis/Forecasting, Sales, Retail, Store Management, Marketing and Events. He graduated from George Brown College with honors and has recently completed a certificate program for Web Design.
Why is mental health important to you? We all have mental health and we all have mental health struggles, no matter how big or small they may be. As a student, being mentally healthy is extremely important while at school. It means that I can get on with my day and be confident and relaxed in what I'm doing. My mental wellbeing has a huge impact on my grades at school, my life, and those around me. I, like most people, have also had friends and loved ones that struggle with mental health concerns and understand how important mental health support is. Mental health is important to me because the wellbeing of my family, my friends, and myself is important to me.
Why did you join Full Circle? I joined Full Circle because I am passionate about making mental health care affordable and accessible to all because we all have mental health, but we can't all afford to access mental health resources. I am also interested in pursuing a degree in Psychology and gaining experience as a Research Assistant and Grant Writer in a mental health context will be helpful in pursuing this career path.
Fun fact- I can speak some American Sign Language.
Why is mental health important to you? Taking care of our mental health is important because it affects every other aspect of our lives, and unfortunately is often overlooked. There is also such a huge stigma surrounding getting help for mental illness, and I think we need to continue to educate and change that narrative.
Why you join Full Circle? I joined as a co-op student because I love art-therapy, and I really enjoy exploring different forms of therapy that aren’t CBT or talk therapy. I loved the fact that Full Circle was offering services for those who aren’t in the best economic situation, because poverty is linked to an increase in mental illness, so I think it’s an important community that isn’t getting the help it needs.
Fun Fact - Every other sentence I speak is a reference to the Office.
Why is mental health important to you?As someone pursuing a career in public health, I've come to see the deeply important role mental health plays in the lives of others and mine. Regardless of age, profession, or background, mental health affects how we think, feel, and act, which in turn affects how we live. And this is why mental health is important to me, it is a vital link in the chain that ensures that all people live healthy, meaningful lives.
Why did you join Full Circle? I joined Full Circle because I believe in Full Circle's mission of providing affordable mental health services for all individuals. I also love the welcoming community that our founders Lacey and Pearl have fostered!
Fun Fact- I once climbed a mountain barefoot in Iceland. It was snow joke.
Why is mental health important to you?Mental health is important to me because it taught me that self-care is complicated. Sometimes I find that it’s easy taking care of myself when the solution is simple and straightforward. For instance, all I may need after an exhausting day at work is a hot bath, a bit of comfort food, and a night’s worth of uninterrupted sleep. But at other times, self-care is a struggle when I’m put in a situation where my needs are harder to identify, such as when I was in grief. As I got older, self-care became less about indulgence and more about stability - that is, maintaining a sense of control over my life. In order to do this, I learned that it was important to prioritize, be flexible, and manage things like time, expectations, and mental, physical, and emotional limitations. By realizing that self-management itself isn't easy, it's understandable to see how it can make self-care challenging when the impact of mental health is considered.
Why did you join Full Circle? In the summer of 2018, I finished my second year of university and was feeling doubtful about what I wanted to do in the future. I was looking to gain a fresh sense of inspiration when I found the ad listing from Full Circle Art Therapy asking for volunteers. After learning about the organization, I was excited to join because to me it was a great opportunity to get involved in something that brought together two things that I was passionate about: art and mental health.
Fun fact- One fun fact about myself is that Iceland is my favourite travel destination. I went on vacation to Reykjavik with my family in the summer of 2015 and I fell in love with everything there. What I loved most was that we went on a Game of Thrones tour where they showed us some of the locations that were used for filming.
Why is mental health important to you? Mental health is important to me because it is something that everyone in the world struggles with in some capacity. Mental health affects almost every aspect of our lives, including how we think, how we feel, and how we act. Since it affects so many different aspects of our lives it is important that we are in touch with out own mental state and take care of it the way we would our own bodies.
Why did you join Full Circle? I chose to join the full circle team because art therapy was something that I really didn’t have very much knowledge on and was quite interested to learn more about. Usually when people talk about therapy, most people most likely think about counselling services, and one on one type therapy sessions. However therapy can be creative and even fun at times too. I was very interested to learn about a fun and unique way to look after your mental health.
Fun fact - A fun fact about me is that people tell me that people tell me that I have a very pleasing voice, and that I when I was a kid I wanted to be a marine biologist.
Why is mental health important to you?Achieving a good mental state means being happy and having a peace of mind. Mental health is important to me because, I have individuals in my life who aren't content with their lives and struggle with mental health illnesses on a daily basis. Mental health is significant to me because, I want to find ways to make mental health services more accessible for people. Mental health issues are challenges that individuals face and it's important to me to make it an effort to help these people be satisfied with themselves and reach their full potentials.
Why did you join Full Circle? I joined Full Circle to help in the effort to spread awareness of mental health. I joined to find new ways of helping others and myself to achieve a peace of mind. Through participating in various art sessions, I've come to see the positive impact that art has had on my life in terms of de-stressing my body and giving me the ability to externalize my emotions on paper. I joined this organization in order to engage with more art initiatives, to be able to engage with new research, and to be a part of a fast-growing, amazing organization.
Fun fact - I have a twin!
Why is mental health important to you?
Many do not realize or rather choose not to realize that our mental health plays a major role in our everyday lives. Mental health is important to me because it effects how I think feel and act. Taking care of myself mentally allows me to be in touch with my feelings and helps me live life a little less stress free and happy.
Why did you join Full Circle? I joined full circle not only because of their mission to provide affordable mental health services but more so because of how they’re trying to do so. With a background of loving to draw and do arts and crafts I was interested in how art therapists at full circle focus on peoples own journey through a creative process of different kinds of arts that allows people to engage with feelings that they may otherwise not be able to put into words.
Fun Fact - I LOVE to travel!
Why is mental health important to you?Mental health is important to me because throughout my schooling and life experience, I have learnt that there are many individuals who do not have adequate access or the proper care and treatment for their mental well being. I want to advocate for those individuals because everyone deserves affordable and accessible mental health services.
Why did you join Full Circle? I joined full circle to explore different avenues of marketing and outreach. I also joined to gain knowledge and understanding of art therapy.
Fun fact - I’m double jointed and I’m learning how to speak German! Go Red Wings go!
Why is mental health important to you? To me health is a holistic concept that entails both physical and mental components. Only a healthy mind will enable us to reach for our full potential. Nurturing my mental health is an act of self-care and enables me to be a supportive member of my personal and professional communities.
Why did you join Full Circle? I believe the stigma around mental health needs to be removed and everyone should be given access to the right tools to arrive at a place of greater mental well-being. I love to be able to contribute to an organization that lowers the barriers for members of underprivileged communities to receive therapy. With myself being involved in the arts, I thoroughly believe in the power of art to be an outlet through which reflection, growth and greater clarity can be achieved and to aid expressing that which cannot be put into words.
Fun fact - I am a model Sagittarius, I love exploring! I have lived in 3 and traveled to over 30 countries, with my favorites to date being Norway and Namibia.
Why is mental health important to you? Just like our physical health, we also have to take care of our mental health, because you mental health is just as important as your physical health. It may be part of your life, but it doesn’t define who you are as a person. As part of our mental health, It is important to acknowledge that you also deserve the same love and affection that you constantly show or give to others. Our society shapes us in a way that makes us seek for approval from others rather than accepting ourselves for who we are. When we’re constantly trying to seek approval from others with whatever we do or trying hard to match up to the standards that society has thrown out there for us, we tend to be critical towards ourselves, which then leaves us feeling bad about ourselves in general or with the constant feeling all that you do ain’t enough despite of all the wonderful accomplishments. It may take practice and time for you to reach a point where you can fully embrace yourself for who you are and not what others or the society want you to be, and you may experience some ups and downs along the way and that’s okay. Take it day by day, Naeem Callaway once said “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tipetoe if you must but take the step”. The fact that you’re taking time to do some form of self-care or engage in self-compassion is a sign of strength and this small step is going to lead you to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Why did you join Full Circle? I was looking for volunteer research opportunities related to Psychology, came across “Full Circle” during my google search, so I decided to check their website out. After checking out the website, I immediately knew that this was an organization I loved to be part of because their mission statements aligned with my interest in that they provided affordable mental health services through the form of art therapy and offering individuals with access to ‘alternative’ mental health treatment. But what sparked my interest in this organization was their commitment in increasing awareness about art therapy. For numerous of years, the focus of treatment options has always been related to the clinical aspects of mental health care and not a lot of research has been done in regards to art therapy. Therefore, it is important to educate the public about Art Therapy by presenting the benefits of art therapy in forms of workshops and information sessions, because it can be therapeutic for some, provide a proactive approach in maintaining mental wellbeing as well as facilitate the recovery process just as effectively as traditional mental health treatments.
Fun fact- One fun fact about me is that I’d travelled to 14 different countries throughout my childhood and adolescent years.