TL JOHANNESSON – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
TL has spent the last 20 years working in the Non-Profit sector. She began her career in Winnipeg working as a Crisis Support Worker at a Shelter for Abused Women and Children. She also spent time working on a Sexual Assault Crisis line and was an Outreach Worker to those who were the victims of Sexual assault. After moving to Halifax in 2001, TL began working at Phoenix Youth Programs as a Full-time Key worker at Phoenix House. She quickly moved into Management and has spent the last 8 years as the Program Coordinator at Phoenix House. Recently, she began her work at Stepping Stone as the Executive Director. TL brings with her a keen understanding of the challenges and issues of marginalized individuals and communities. She has spent her career as a fierce advocate for these individuals and has fought for social justice throughout the HRM. TL believes that Sex Work is real work and should be defined as such by the Government of Canada. She is committed to a focus on changing the laws and advocating and supporting sex workers in HRM. With her background and passion for social justice, TL will lead and run the dynamic and solid program that is Stepping Stone. When working and at home, TL likes long sips of her extra-large coke slushie, and chips for every meal which she sometimes shares with her partner and kids.
LINDA GRANDY – COURT SUPPORT AND CORRECTIONS WORKER
With over 15 years of experience at Stepping Stone, Linda is our longest standing staff member. The fact is, you’ve probably met her if you have been in HRM for more than 5 minutes. Linda can be found on outreach, the bus, the court house, jail, just about everywhere. But you’ll have to move quickly to keep up with her as she’s always busy.
A relentless advocate for the Program Users, Linda is not afraid to speak her mind, and she speaks from experience. Linda is an advocate in the North end of Halifax and knows everything to know about every organization in the city. Linda is outspoken and articulate and has a soft side doing what she can for any of the Program Users in need.
Linda officially splits her time between the court houses and the correctional centre. As our Court Support and Corrections Worker, Linda is there from start to finish throughout the court process, supporting and offering resources to Program Users facing the legal system. She also is the first to welcome the Program Users back, assisting in discharge planning from corrections, and ensuring a web of support is available. Official staff mom to Reggie, she provides the majority of his food and treats, a comfy chair, and an open window for him to find a way in and out of any weather.
KATHLEEN PYKE – DROP-IN CENTRE COORDINATOR
Kathleen (Kass) is the heart of Stepping Stone, running the Drop-In Centre since 2008. The Drop-In is open Monday to Friday from 9-1pm, and is known as a safe place to obtain help from a harm reduction approach. This includes; basic needs supplies, groceries, peer support and community referrals.
Kathleen supervises the front line crisis management and peer support, when not doling out the daily goods from the food truck. A simple side glance from Kathleen can quickly stop any conflict, and she is known throughout the community as the person to go to if you are in need. This keeps the phones consistently ringing at the Drop-In Centre and Program Users accessing the Drop-In know they can find assistance and support whenever they call.
A strong advocate for equality and basic human and employment rights, Kathleen has acted as the conduit for our networks with other similar agencies across Canada as well as our online outreach. Kathleen does not answer to Reggie….most days.
WANDA TAYLOR – TRANSITION PROGRAM COORDINATOR
EQUAL ACCESS FOR SEX WORKERS PROGRAM
As the newest addition to the Stepping Stone family, Wanda Taylor brings over two decades of experience in human service and social justice work. As an author, social worker and advocate, Wanda has dedicated her career to giving a voice to the voiceless while serving on the front lines in child protection, with homeless and at-risk populations, and in underserved communities in Ontario, Nova Scotia and the US. Wanda is currently the Site Facilitator for the Women Unlimited Program at NSCC’s IT Campus – for women desiring to enter into trades and technology fields. She holds a Master’s degree in Education and three Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Journalism, and Early Childhood Education. In her ‘un-busy time’ Wanda is an active multi-disciplinary artist. In 2011 she was chosen by the province to serve as the NS Manager and mentor for the 2011 Canada Games National Artists Program. She is also a filmmaker and former CBC Television producer. Wanda constantly seeks out ways to bring arts and culture into her work. After three years of research on resiliency in people who have experienced childhood trauma, Wanda travelled across provinces to interview adult survivors and subsequently published her latest literary work – The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children: the Hurt, the Hope and the Healing (Nimbus, 2015), chronicling the decades-long history of abuse suffered by children at the NS Home. Wanda is a recipient of the prestigious Progress Club Women of Excellence Award for Arts and Culture. But she strongly feels that it’s not awards or accolades that make a person great, it’s their willingness to put in the work even when no one else is watching. She believes that every human being has ‘something incredible’ to offer, and part of our job in the field is to help them find their ‘incredible something’ and share it with the world.
GIULIA DIG – TRANSITION SUPPORT WORKER
EQUAL ACCESS FOR SEX WORKERS PROGRAM
First and foremost a proud peer educator & advocate, Giulia is a tireless supporter of survivors of childhood abuse & trauma; her belief in our responsibility to support people at their stage of recovery and healing is rooted in her own vast life and work experience. Giulia wakes up grateful for each new day and tries to practise what she preaches by paying attention to the health of her body mind and spirit…if life was as easy as riding her bike, she’d be all set, but she’s pretty good at taking being knocked down and getting back up again. Having worked on the Dartmouth Community Health Board of Directors, as well as being a member of Books Beyond Bars, and the International Network of People Who Use Drugs, she is excited to share her knowledge as our new part-time Transitional Support Worker. She especially aims to raise awareness regarding the connection between past trauma and abuse, addiction, and the criminalization of sex workers and people who use drugs. The stigma surrounding these issues and the need to develop better services and support for those struggling is paramount to healing our community and reducing the harm and further suffering. Giulia looks forward to helping Wanda deliver the new programs being offered at Stepping Stone, helping people work toward developing portfolios, and in whatever other areas she can be of assistance. Her work as an instructor in Cape Breton with The Adult Learner’s Association and at Cape Breton University in the ESL Dept. as well as at the AIDS Coalition as Educator/Support Worker helped her to develop skills and experience needed to know what help people need to reach their goals. Most of you will recognize her from driving around with Oscar doing outreach on Wednesday and Sunday each week, if you aren’t already familiar with her and her Nunu’s otherwise known as Brian and Little Nunu.
OSCAR FRANCIS – OUTREACH WORKER
Oscar has worked Outreach for Stepping Stone on and off for over 10 years! Affectionately called “Uncle Oscar” by all, he provides the comedic relief on the Stroll as well as access to food, snacks, harm reduction supplies and any other type of support needed. He is tasked with making sure our workers on the street are taken care of and know what supports are available to them. This bridge is invaluable to those Program Users who are unable to access the Drop-In Center.
NANCY ANNINGSON – BOOKKEEPER
Nancy Anningson of ImPROVE Impact Strategic Consulting is delighted to be working with The Stepping Stone Association to provide bookkeeping and financial management expertise. ImPROVE Impact helps non-profits and charities strengthen their organizations, improve their initiatives and prove their value to funders.
REGINALD “REGGIE” EDWIN
Reggie’s background is in Outreach in the Gottingen St area. He spends nights at his “home away from home” (his actual owner’s house, the Mi’kmaw Child Development Centre) but looks after the drop-in during the day. Reggie sets his own hours, choosing to come to work, leave, and come back to work, whenever he wants and can often be quite demanding at the door or upstairs window. Such are the perks of management.
Reggie’s current role is as the supervisor of our drop-in but he also works in the pet therapy department. His non-judgemental and harm reduction approach, combined with his calm demeanour, is our most effective tool for crisis management.
Reggie is also a big fan of self-care, and demands a consistent daily dose of fancy feast, temptation treats, and belly rubs. When not busy at his other tasks, he often acts as pest management for the backyard.