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.
Catherine Taylor, Administrative Assistant
Cathy is an Anishinaabe Kwe and member of Curve Lake First Nation, Otter Clan. She has worked in several admin-like fields of work over the years, including administrative support to her home community. She is excited to bring a broad range of knowledge and skill into her new position with the Friendship Centre, and looks forward to supporting both the organization and the community; assisting where she can to meet organizational and community needs. She enjoys greeting all who visit at the Centre, so please come to reception and give a warm “Hello/Aaniin”.
Rachel Paudash, Healthy Kids Worker
Rachel is an Anishnaabe Kwe from Hiawatha First Nation. She is a graduate from Fleming College with a diploma in Early Childhood Education and is now a Registered member of the College of Early Childhood Educators. Rachel began working in Child Care when she was 15 and worked full time in Hiawatha’s Child Care Centre for the last 6 years. She has a passion for working with children and youth, supporting healthy growth development and a connection to their culture. As the Healthy Kids Worker, Rachel is looking forward to assisting child(ren), youth and their families attain/maintain a healthy lifestyle and one that is rich in potential.
Sarah Edwards, Wasa-Nabin Program Worker
Sarah is an Anishinaabe Kwe from Hiawatha First Nation and a proud Mother of two wonderful girls. In April 2017, she graduated from the Social Service Worker program at Fleming College and accepted a short-tern contract with the Centre, assisting both the Akwe:go and Wasa-Nabin programs. In October 2017, she was appointed full-time to the Wasa-Nabin program. Sarah has a passion for working with youth, supporting them to (re)connect with their culture and gain a better sense of self and belonging. Through her work with the Wasa-Nabin program, she strives to enhance the inherent gifts that all youth have, to guide them towards better decision-making and living a healthier lifestyle.
Melinda Taylor, Life Long Care 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, Akwe:go Worker (short-term contract)
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.
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, Healthy Living Worker
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.
Steven Martin, Indigenous Court Worker
Steven is a social worker who has worked with various high-risk populations in Vancouver and Toronto before coming to Peterborough. He has worked with street youth in Vancouver as an overnight drop in worker, and LGBT+ youth engaged in the sex trade, as well as the homeless population, in Toronto as a street outreach worker and supervisor of Pankhurst House, a residence for youth leaving the sex trade. Prior to his position with Nogojiwanong, Steven was the mental health worker for the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT), a partnership with Peterborough Police. The team attended calls for service and engaged in the de-escalation and assessment of individuals who were experiencing a mental health-related crisis such as suicidality or psychosis. Steven is the initiator and editorial committee chairperson of The River Magazine, a publication written by individuals living on a low income in Peterborough.
Bryant Peters, Indigenous Court Worker
(Bio Coming Soon)
Tanya Jones, Indigenous Early Years Coordinator
Tanya Jones is a member of Alderville First Nation, and a proud Mother of three children. She is a registered Early Childhood Educator with many years in the early learning sector. Her role within the Early Years programs is to share Indigenous culture, traditions and language into Northumberland’s Early ON and Daycare Centres. The goal is to bring awareness into the playrooms. By planning and implementing culture-based programs we can celebrate our diversity.
Ryan Gray-Brady, Indigenous Cultural Resource Coordinator
Ryan Gray-Brady is a member of Hiawatha First Nation and has relations in Alderville First Nation. As the eldest child in his family, having two younger siblings, he has embraced his responsibility to be a positive role model. He grew up both on reserve and off reserve and values the knowledge and perspective that each experience has given him. Ryan has two undergraduate degrees, one from Carleton University, majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice with a concentration in Psychology, and a second from Trent University, majoring in Indigenous Studies. His studies focused on topics such as revitalization, resurgence and reconciliation, and Indigenous history in Canada (which included treaties, Residential School, the Sixties Scoop, etc…). Ryan is excited to bring his knowledge and passions to his position and looks forward to playing a role in reconciliation and relationship building throughout the Early ON Centres and daycares in Northumberland County.
Nikita Cobiere, Indigenous Community Wellness Worker
Nikita Corbiere is a recent graduate from Fleming College. She completed the Dual Pathway Programs of Mental Health and Addictions and Social Service Worker. Her studies at Fleming educated her in the areas of addiction and trauma. She also obtained the Indigenous Perspective Designation Certificate. Nikita believes that addiction and trauma almost always go hand in hand, having an impact on an individual’s mental well-being. She has a strong passion for supporting individuals along their healing journey, walking beside them on their paths to recovery.
Nikita was raised by her Grandmother in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, in a combined traditional and Christian household. She was raised with strong family values, living off the land, and taught the importance of self-perseverance. These lessons have enabled her to be supportive as well as understanding of people’s decisions and life choices. This ties into her firm belief and approach to working with people where they are at, and not to dictate to them where they should be. She is excited to be apart of the Friendship Centre team.
Audrey Caskanette, Mental Health and Well-Being Worker
Audrey is an Anishinaabekwe from Saugeenaung. She is a Grandmother with a strong commitment to the wellness of the Anishinaabe Community. Audrey has 30 + years of learning and passing on Anishinaabe ways of healing as well as her professional education in mental health. Recovery, resilience and resurgence of Indigenous Original Lifeway informs her purpose as a Helper and a worker in this field. Honor of our Ancestors teachings is foremost and central to her lifework within the community.