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.
Teresa Nahwegahbow, Program/Human Resource Manager
Teresa Nahwegahbow is Ojibway and a proud member of Whitefish River First Nation located near Manitoulin Island.
Prior to returning to Ontario in 2017, Teresa worked alongside her husband in Northeastern Alberta for fourteen years with their company, The Paudash Group.
This work involved developing and facilitating their Indigenous-specific Life Skills programming and Transition to Employment programming for the urban and rural Cree, Dene and Metis communities of the Wood Buffalo region.
Teresa had the opportunity to work in an Executive Management position for Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre in Fort McMurray; she understands the great supports and resources which Friendship Centres provide for urban Indigenous community members.
Teresa feels that her life/work experience, people skills and facilitation skills will contribute to her role as Program/Human Resource Manager for the Centre. She appreciates being part of such a dynamic and impactful organization.
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 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”.
Alexa Whetung, Administrative Assistant
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 Administration Assistant 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, and lived with her grandparents in Geraldton, Ontario. 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, B.Ed. from Nipissing University along with many other diplomas and certificates. 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.
She currently lives in the City of Peterborough and employed with the Nogojiwanong Friendship Center as the Cultural Resource Coordinator.
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, Akwe:go 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 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 UIHB participants, during their journey of obtaining a post-secondary education and employment, celebrating the achievement of their goals.
Kelly works 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 Cobiere, Mental Health and Well-Being 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 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, Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin Program Worker
(Currently Wolf Camp Coordinator)
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.
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.
Sandra Walls, Apatisiwin Employment and Training Counsellor
Sandra is a proud mother of two and her Grandmother (Meme) of two awesome grandsons.
She is a graduate of Durham College AAT, Legal Administration program with additional courses in Public Relations and Communication.
Over her career, she has had several roles, including Community & Family Services Coordinator with The Salvation Army, Employment Ontario/Ontario Disability Support Program Caseworker & Employer Liaison with Watton Employment Services, Event Coordinator and Administrator with the Grafton Village Inn, Municipal Councillor for the Township of Alnwick/Haldimand, Canada Post Postmaster and Law Clerk with Creighton, Victor Law Firm.
Sandra has a passion for learning and for helping others.
She looks forward to meeting the service-users at the friendship centre and introducing the Apatisiwin Program, which will assist with developing labour force skills to improve employability and provide support to stay in school, return to school and/or transition along the education and employment continuum and increase labour force participation and retention.
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
(Short Term Contract)
Wendell Froman, born at Six Nations of Grand River is Oneida (Brown Bear Clan). Wendell danced, competed and travelled 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, Housing Case Coordinator Reaching Home Program
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 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.
Rianna Patterson, Akwe:go
(Short Term Contract)
Rianna is Anishinaabe Kwe, a mother of one and has lived in the Peterborough area her whole life. Rianna has transferred through many positions within the Nogojiwanong Friendship centre, mainly providing support to children and youth. Rianna reconnected with her Indigenous heritage while completing college at Fleming, this is where she found direction to her passion in child and youth care.
Rianna believes in using strength-based approaches to meet the needs of each child through a diversified lens to help facilitate optimal well-being. Rianna enjoys incorporating many aspects of culture within her work to further create a sense of belonging and grow within her own passions of gaining new knowledge. Rianna enjoys all forms of art and spends much of her time painting, singing and cooking to ensure self-care is prominent in her everyday life.
Jen Edwards, Indigenous Community Wellness Worker
Jennifer is an Anishinaabe Kwe from Hiawatha First Nation. She’s a proud Mom to a 6-year-old son, dog and cat. She has been working in the field of social work for 15 years now in multiple sectors. Prior to joining the Friendship Centre family, she was employed in the child welfare sector which she found to be extremely challenging but also set forth her passion for educating families, especially Mothers on how to navigate the child welfare system.
Jennifer is also very passionate about supporting people who are on their path to wellness. She strongly believes in the importance of taking care of ourselves first, as women are the caretakers of the Earth. She wants to empower women to harness their strengths and challenges and use them to heal ourselves. It is an honour to be a part of someone else’s healing journey.