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 works 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.
Ashley Safar, Program/Human Resource Manager
Ashley is Haudenosaunee, wolf clan and traditionally from Tyendinaga, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte on her mother’s side and Hungarian on her father’s side. Ashley moved to Peterborough six years ago and comes to the Friendship Centre from Fleming College. Ashley has experience working within a Friendship Centre setting and was a former staff, and board of director with the Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre. She holds the Friendship Centre close to her heart, as it was the place that she had an opportunity to learn more about her own cultural identity.
Catherine Taylor, Administrative Assistant
Cathy is an Anishinaabe Kwe and a 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 skills to 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”.
Alexandria Maracle, Digital Communications/Administrative Assistant
Alexandria is a Mohawk from the Tyendinaga territory. She’s spent three years at Mohawk College where she studied Journalism and participated in a 245-hour field placement for a nonprofit organization. There she ran their social media accounts and worked to spread awareness of their campaign and large annual event. Alexandria has worked in numerous customer service positions and now resides in Peterborough. She is excited to jump into the community with the knowledge and experience she has gained both educationally and professionally.
Alexa Whetung, Apatisiwin Employment and Training Counsellor
Alexa is an Anishinaabe Kwe and member of Curve Lake First Nation, Loon Clan. Alexa is a recent Queen’s University graduate and has worked in various management and customer service fields, since starting her post-secondary education. Prior to her employment with our organization, Alexa worked as a student for the Canada Revenue Agency in the auditing department. She has continued to express her excitement in supporting the needs of our urban, Indigenous community wherever possible, and is eager to continuing learning new skills that come with the Employmeent and Training Counsellor role. As a new mother, Alexa enjoys spending quality time with her daughter and family. She also enjoys playing volleyball and is an avid reader.
Kim Lamothe, Cultural Resource Coordinator
Proud mother, grandmother, daughter, auntie, and friend. Kim was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is of mixed blood, Anishinaabe and Metis descent from Northwestern Ontario. Being raised by her grandmother, a residential school survivor, much healing has taken place to understand and overcome the intergenerational impacts of residential school.
She has been educated, formally and informally, in various fields and holds an Honours BA from Trent University, and a B.Ed. from Nipissing University. Her educational background and life experiences have created the strong desire she has to promote Indigenous Culture and History and Health and Wellness across Turtle Island through various cultural teachings/activities and educational opportunities varying from presentations, curriculum resources, cultural workshops, and craft creations.
Kim brings over 40 years of experience working with and for First Nations gained through various opportunities such as teacher, crisis worker, librarian, cultural events planner, to name a few.
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.
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.
Cody McMahon, Healthy Kids Worker
Cody McMahon is a Fleming College graduate of the Recreation and Leisure Services program and has many years of experience working with children/youth and their families in many different settings. Cody grew up in a sports family and has a deep background in playing and coaching lacrosse. Playing at the professional level and being a competitive athlete, Cody gained a lot of knowledge in nutrition and fitness. Aside from sports, some other passions of Cody’s are music and art.
Cody strives to be a positive role model while sharing and implementing his passions and knowledge into active and engaging programs for children/youth and their families.
The Healthy Kids program is dedicated to providing families with access to healthy food and nutrition programs as well as sports and recreation programs that will benefit and provide children and youth with fun and positive activities that will enhance their lives in an active and healthy way.
Cynthia Gray, Alternative Secondary School Program
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 holistic well being of individuals. During her career, she has gained skills in case management, supportive counselling, 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.
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-term 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.
Kelly Scott, Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound Coordinator
Kelly has over 15 years of experience working front line, in community-based organizations in housing and homelessness services and in the violence against women sector within the City of Peterborough. She has a wealth of knowledge on local community resources and is able to provide advocacy, support, and referrals in many areas for her clients.
Kelly’s background includes providing case management and advocacy to individuals and families and addressing any barriers that low-income families may face. Kelly uses both clients centred and strengths-based approaches with those she is helping.
She enjoys empowering women and is excited to work alongside single moms and their families using a holistic approach in a non-judgemental manner. She enjoys being able to make a difference in the lives of single indigenous moms and their children.
Kelly is the proud mom of one child and enjoys spending her free time with friends and family.
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.
Nikita Corbiere, Mental Health and Well-Being Worker
Nikita Corbiere is a graduate of Fleming college in the dual pathway program of mental health and addictions as well as 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 an 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.
Matthew Olsen, W.O.L.F Camp 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.
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.
Maygen Dochuk- Mental Health Peer Coordinator
Maygen Dochuk is of mixed Anishnaabek (Wahgoshig First Nations), Ukrainian, and Celtic (Ireland/Scotland) ancestry. Although she has been called a “Jill of all trades” for her many skills and abilities, Maygen’s true passion is psycho-spiritual wellness.
Learning, first, to transform her own childhood and inter-generational trauma, delinquency, substance use, relationship challenges, anxiety and depression into growth opportunities and life lessons, Maygen now shares these experiences and supports others on their personal journey toward empowerment and recovery. Maygen leads sharing circles, teaches on various topics, provides daily support, encourages people, and hosts land-based events, all intending to support others in re-discovering the wellspring of their own wisdom. Maygen is an Encouragement Coach at a local recovery chapter, a Life Coach at Sapient Studios, and is the Mental Health Peer Coordinator for Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre.
This pathway of giving back and contributing to making the world a better place has inspired Maygen to offer herself to many causes and projects. Maygen has combated industrial infringement on Human- and Indigenous-rights (Aamjiwnaang First Nations); created social and environmental justice awareness campaigns and educational materials (Ontario Public Interest Research Group); sought to remove barriers for individuals in attaining meaningful life (Community Living); incorporated Indigenous Knowledge into a technical school’s curriculum (Maya in Guatemala); applied her knowledge of microclimates and organic food production to feed medical patients (Sumner, Maine); and participated in the enrichment of community life as a community gardener and as a Festival Coordinator for the Ode’min Giizis Festival (Nogojiwnaang).
After journeying various Inner and Outer worlds, Maygen now hales from Warsaw Ontario, where she is re-kindling her close connection to the land, water, and sacred others. Maygen loves to be outdoors, dancing, singing, creating art, feasting, and paddling
Heidi Whetung, Indigenous Youth Mentor
Heidi is a Two-Spirit Anishinaabe member from Curve Lake First Nation. Heidi is a mother and a grandmother, who has held many positions in their community, working in a floral gift shop, Day Care, Union of Ontario Indians, Anishinabek Police Service and Administration Office along with volunteering with our youth. Heidi is looking forward to working with our Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ+ youth by providing a safe respectful honest caring environment with programs geared to their interests and our traditions.
Sarah Beardy, Early Years Cultural Resource Coordinator
Sarah Beardy is an Oji-Cree member of Muskrat Dam First Nation. Sarah is of the wolf clan and has descended from her family’s traditional lands which include, Bearskin Lake and Big Trout Lake. Sarah has made a careful examination of Indigenous matters through her studies at Trent University and continues to learn through participation in culturally focused workshops and ceremonies. Currently, Sarah is the Cultural Resource Coordinator for the Early Years of Northumberland County, sharing her
knowledge, skills, and values with Early Years staff and community members through a variety of learning and sharing opportunities.
Melody Belfry, Indigenous Early Years Coordinator
Melody Belfry lives in the beautiful community of Trent Hills, ON. Melody is a wife and mother to three wonderful, energetic, and caring children. She is currently working towards achieving her Early Childhood Education Diploma, through Loyalist College. She believes strongly in providing children with ample outdoor opportunities, offering children the chance to explore nature. Through her studies and time spent with her own children, Melody has seen firsthand the joy nature and a forest environment can bring to a child’s life.
Melody Is passionate about outdoor programming and enriching children’s lives through the 7 Grandfather Teachings. Through her daily work Melody provides Indigenous cultural knowledge to children and families attending Northumberland County EarlyON programming. Melody also holds a diploma in Broadcast Journalism, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Videographer work. When she is not working Melody and her family often spend their free time at their forest property, exploring their lands and the trails they have created.
Sonja Davis, Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound Navigator
Sonja is a proud wife to her high school sweetheart and mother of two. She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and graduated from the Early Childhood Education program at Fleming College. Sonja has a bachelor’s degree in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in American Sign Language from Carleton University in Ottawa. Her background also includes work in the Early Years sector, children with exceptions, and continuous professional development.
She brings her knowledge and skills to the Friendship Centre as part of the Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound Program. Working with the Indigenous families in the Peterborough Community, her goal is to provide support to increase the quality of life and care for all individuals.
Wendell Froman, Kizhaay Anishnaabe Niin
Wendell Froman, born at Six Nations of Grand River is Oneida (Brown Bear Clan). Wendell danced, competed, and traveled throughout North America on the powwow trail as a Northern Traditional dancer, and with numerous cultural caravans and dance troupes showcasing Iroquois social dances, regalia, languages, history, and traditions.
A stone-carver, craftsman/artisan, woodsman, cook, herbalist, farmer, ritualist/ceremonialist- among other things, Wendell is a proud single father of two and now, Grandfather to five. He has a deep and well-rooted respect for women, the elderly, treaties, truth, and spirituality. He has been a member of the Nogojiwanong community for 25 years, is a former Native Studies Instructor at Trent U, and is also a Masters’ Degree Candidate in Environmental Studies (York U).
As the Kizhaay Anishnaabe Niin Program coordinator, Wendell works within the Nogojiwanong community to promote an end to violence within families by showing a better way through Indigenous knowledge, culture, and traditional teachings.
Rebekah Rego, Community Wellness
Rebekah is from the Moose Clan and a proud member of Lac Seul, Obishikokaang, First Nation located in the Treaty #3 region in northwestern Ontario. She attended Wilfrid Laurier University and most recently, Fleming College where she graduated from the Social Service Worker program with the Indigenous Perspectives Designation. Rebekah continues to build on her professional development through education, certificates, and awards. Her education has provided her with a passion to work with individuals from a range of ages and nations through services that can assist their mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. She has experience working in areas such as the justice system, housing, outreach, violence against women, crisis, cultural support, education, mentoring, and social services. Furthermore, she has done work across the province of Ontario.
She holds traditional knowledge that is acquired through respected Elders, community members, and ceremonies. Rebekah has obtained sound knowledge of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis cultures, traditions, and ceremonies.
Rebekah is dedicated to her community and spends her time volunteering for various non-profit and community organizations such as her role as a Guides Unit Leader, assisting animal shelters, and preparing warm meals for the community.
Rebekah’s primary focus is on Homelessness and Housing. This reflects in her position as the Homelessness and Housing Coordinator. Rebekah is skilled in offering a culturally safe space for individuals with a range of history and/or matters seeking assistance, advocacy, and support. Through her position, she provides services that are culturally based and anti-oppressive based. Through her lived experience, she has an in-depth understanding of barriers and issues such as discrimination, safety, and systems that can affect Indigenous peoples as well as support options available.
Cydney Habraken, Akwe:go
Hi, my name is Cydney Habraken. My family is originally from St. Georges Newfoundland, which is Mi’kmaq territory. I have lived all over Ontario, as I come from a military family. I started my educational career as a volunteer in elementary schools all through high school, this quickly turned into a passion for teaching and education. I completed my bachelor’s degree with Honors at Trent University in History and English with an emphasis in teaching. Then I went on to complete my Master of Education at Trent University as well. I have worked in schools, both English and French. I have also worked with kids with disabilities in schools and a daycare. My passion is education and learning. I am so grateful and excited to be working at the Friendship Centre. It gives me an opportunity to learn with the children and explore my culture on a deeper level. I have lots of exciting events and cultural activities planned for Akwego, and I am excited for the years ahead!
Janice McCue, Wiisinidaa
Janice is an Anishinaabe Kwe from Curve Lake First Nation and is a proud mother and Gran.
Janice holds a diploma in Diabetes Prevention, as well as a certified Community Food Educator, and has also catered many events. Her work experience includes Curve Lake First Nation as a Community Health Representative, Peterborough Public Health as a Community Worker, and at Nourish as the Community Engagement Facilitator.
Janice has many years teaching food skills to youth and adults of all ages and looks forward to cooking with the Nogojiwanong community as the Wiisinadaa Program Worker.