WANDA TAYLOR – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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.
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.
CARRIE MACINNIS – TRANSITION PROGRAM COORDINATOR
EQUAL ACCESS FOR SEX WORKERS PROGRAM
As a recent graduate from the Dalhousie School of Social Work, Carrie brings a critical lens to the Stepping Stone team. She started out as our social work student placement and has now committed to a six-month contract. She shared her time as a student between Stepping Stone and Coverdale Courtwork Society. Therefore, she has experience with the criminal justice system and offering court support. She has an undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s University with a major in criminology and sociology and a minor in psychology. She is a huge advocate for social justice and is passionate in the fields of mental health, suicide prevention and addiction. She spent last summer working at a camp for youth in the United States. Carrie is excited to take on her new role at Stepping Stone and work to deliver programs and workshops to our program-users. She is a young, outgoing asset to our team. As she has already learned ‘the ropes’ of Stepping Stone through her placement and has built great rapport with program- users, we are happy to now have her as a staff member.
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.