Lori Flynn, Executive Director
Lori is an Anishnabe Kwe, a Mother and a Grandmother, and a member of the Hiawatha First Nation. She has had several roles within her career but primarily working in the areas of management, program development, organizational capacity development, and training designed to enhance staff, management and Board of Director skills. She was previously employed by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres as the Capacity Development Manager; providing support to member Friendship Centres to develop their capacity to achieve organizational standards of performance. She has had the pleasure of supporting many Friendship Centres in Ontario and looks forward to using her knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs to support the Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre to advance their vision and mission for serving the urban Aboriginal community in the City of Peterborough and surrounding area.
Michaela DeCarlo, Akwe:go Program Worker
Michaela is a mother of two wonderful sons; she is a registered social service worker and a trained sociologist, with a four year honours degree from Trent University. She has ancestral roots in the Georgina Island and Mnjikaning First Nations. Michaela has many years’ experience working on women, family and youth centred initiatives. Her holistic approach to wellness embraces mental, emotional, physical and spiritual awareness. Michaela has developed many innovative interactive community based programs designed to assist and empower participants. Her programs focus on self-care and self-esteem development. Her programs address such issues as; media influence body image, bullying awareness & healthy relationships. Michaela is excited to bring her skills, knowledge and passions to working with the Aboriginal children and youth in the urban Aboriginal community of Peterborough.
Courtney Taylor, Wasa-Nabin Program Worker
Courtney is an Anishnaabe Kwe from Curve Lake First Nation. She is a graduate from the Developmental Services Worker program at Loyalist College which gave her the skills and knowledge to support her work with youth and adults. In her past position as Curve Lake First Nation’s Youth Worker, she developed skills for assisting at-risk youth and learned strategies on how to help support and inspire their ongoing personal development as they learn to become responsible adults. Her employment and education has given her the skills and knowledge to support youth presenting with behavioural issues and how to deal with youth in crisis. Courtney has taken many courses and training opportunities that have enhanced her competencies over the past years, and is looking forward to bringing her skills to the Friendship Centre and the urban Aboriginal community. She strongly believes in a team approach and building positive working relationships in the community that will benefit the clients.
Melinda Taylor, Healthy Living Program Worker
Melinda is an Anishnaabe Kwe from Curve Lake First Nation. She came to the Friendship Centre from Curve Lake First Nation where she enjoyed working as the Community Health Representative. She has more than 17 years’ experience and has obtained a Native Community Care Diploma offered by Mohawk College. She has a very keen passion for healthy living and has personally taken steps in her life to create healthy personal change. She enjoys sharing her knowledge through workshop presentation and skills training and her passion and dedication towards clients and community shine through in her work.
Cynthia Gray, Healthy Kids Program Worker
Cynthia is an Anishnaabe Kwe from Hiawatha First Nation. Through her experience, both professional and educational, she has gained valuable knowledge and experience working with the Aboriginal Community in the delivery of programs and services that enhance the overall well being of individuals and families. She has experience in assessing client needs, supporting the achievement of their goals, and providing programs that support and enhance the wholistic well being of individuals. During her career, she has gained skills in case management, supportive counseling, care plan development and she completed an Aboriginal Community Development Certificate with OFIFC. She is excited to continue to work with the children and families of Peterborough’s urban Aboriginal community.
Ron Zinck, Addictions and Mental Health Program Worker
Ron is a Life Style Counsellor and mental health professional with a resume that attests to a long employment and volunteer career in the mental health field providing direct services to individuals and families. He is also experienced and passionate about addressing addictions and anti-poverty issues. He has worked across Canada, with diverse communities, including Aboriginal people and their communities. His certificate in Life Style Counseling and his thesis project were focused on Life Style Counseling as a treatment for those in recovery from addictions. Ron states that although he is not of Aboriginal ancestry, he has a deep respect for Aboriginal culture and has an understanding of the historical trauma that Aboriginal people have endured. He looks forward to working within our community and supporting our members to achieve their healthy lifestyle goals.
Ashley Safar, Aboriginal Community Wellness Worker
Ashley is an Aboriginal woman of Haudenosaunee decent. She has over five years’ experience working in a Friendship Centre setting, primarily with children and families, in the health outreach (wellness) sector. She has built her career in leadership roles with a strong commitment to improving and developing community based supports for Aboriginal people. She is respectful of her culture and that of others, and understands the social reality faced by urban Aboriginal people along the life cycle continuum. She speaks of a strong belief that working with the Aboriginal community requires a creative, unique and wholistic approach to provide education, support and resources as well as close gaps between Aboriginal people and the larger community.
Diane Sheridan, Aboriginal Prenatal Nutrition Worker
Diane is an Anishnawbe Kwe, mother of two and Nookamis to two beautiful grandchildren. She is a member of Hiawatha First Nation. Diane has had several roles over the course of her career but most were spent working with First Nation students, special needs students and student success programs in the Simcoe County Board of Education. She has also worked in the Aboriginal community as an Aboriginal Healthy Babies, Healthy Children Worker, Duty to Consult Consultation Worker and Acting Assistant Manager. Diane brings to our Centre great resources, networking connections and ongoing enrichment of her culture and the traditions.
Matthew Olsen, Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin Program Worker
Matthew holds an honours degree in Indigenous Studies from Trent University (2012). He is experienced in working with the Aboriginal communities of Peterborough and the surrounding areas through his roles as a Wasa-Nabin youth worker, a contract workshop facilitator for incarcerated Aboriginal youth, as well as an employment and education counsellor. He has also been involved in facilitating cross cultural training workshops designed to educate the general public with regard to the historical and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Matthew is a Firekeeper, supporter of the Water Walkers, and has organized events such as the Brothers of Sisters in Spirit Gathering and full day workshops for women and men that were designed to promote self-confidence, self-leadership and healthy relationships through traditional teachings taught by Elders and Knowledge Holders. He looks forward to continuing his service to the community through the Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin program.
Helen Casmey, Aboriginal Family Support Worker
Helen graduated as a Child and Youth Worker from Humber College in 1979 and has dedicated her career to supporting the social, emotional and mental health needs of children and their families. She has worked for the past twenty-two years as Health Promotion Coordinator, Families First Worker and Preschool Consultant with Kinark Child and Family Services. This has provided her with a well-rounded understanding of needs and barriers to raising young children as well as a clear understanding of available community supports and resources. Helen is passionate about meeting the grassroots needs of families and firmly believes that “all children do well if they can”. She is excited about learning and incorporating spiritual and good life teachings into programs and workshops for young children and their families.
Katie Beaver, Administrative Assistant
Katie is an Anishnaabe Kwe and a member of Alderville First Nation. She has a social work diploma from the University of Vancouver Island and a degree in Communication from Cape Breton University. She was previously employed by Cape Breton University as the Women’s Centre Coordinator and by Alderville First Nation as the Child Welfare Prevention Worker. She is ready to use her previous experience to support staff and guests as the Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre’s administrative assistant. She enjoys hiking, hand drumming and being with friends and family.
Nadia McLaren, Cultural Resources Coordinator
Nadia is an Anishnabe Kwe from Heron Bay, Pic River located on the North Shore of Lake Superior. She grew up in small towns across Northern Ontario eventually calling Sioux Lookout her home; moving to Peterborough last year. She is a mother of two, a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, a published author and is currently finishing a graphic novel entitled, “Ever Good.” She has over 20 years’ experience working within, envisioning and developing community based programs, and her work/projects have left lasting impressions of hope and healing within the Aboriginal communities she has been honored to work in. Nadia’s most prominent project to date is a feature documentary she wrote, directed and produced in honor of her late grandmother, who as a young child attended the St. Joseph’s Residential School in Thunder Bay, Ontario. “Muffins For Granny,” has won much critical acclaim and is being used across the country as an important resource tool, shedding some light on the Canadian Residential Schools Policy.
Bailley Taylor, Aboriginal Court Worker
Bailley Taylor is an Ojibwe Kwe from Curve Lake First Nation. She was born and raised on the reserve until she started her educational journey. She attended Fleming College from 2009-2011 studying Community and Justice Services with an Aboriginal Emphasis, then went onto earn her B.A. in Social Sciences, Criminology in 2013. While studying for her undergraduate, Bailley gained experience working with the local Children’s Aid Society of Oshawa, running programming for at-risk Aboriginal youth. After receiving her degree in Criminology, she went to Ottawa to develop and implement a drug prevention program with Aboriginal youth for two years. Bailley has recently re-located back to the Peterborough area and she is honored to be given the opportunity to work with the Aboriginal peoples of Peterborough and surrounding areas.