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Who we are

The Portal is a registered non-profit charitable organization that is a resource centre for Annapolis Valley youth age 16-24 who are at risk with a special focus on those currently experiencing homelessness.



All youth in the Annapolis Valley have a safe, supportive, and a loving home.


To Reduce the number of youth experiencing homelessness in the Annapolis Valley and prevent further youth from becoming homeless.

Supports We Provide 

  • Safe Space for youth

  • Outreach to youth

  • YIT from Care (12 + years)

  • Access to Essentials

  • Supportive Counselling

  • Programs to build resiliency

  • Mentoring

  • Advocacy and Access to other services

  • Connection to rapid re-housing

  • Outdoor Discovery

  • Skill Building- Community Service

  • Edge on Employment (18- 26 years)


  • Love & Mercy - We value the power of unconditional love and mercy in reaching youth.

  • Respect - We respect the worth and dignity of each person and their unique story.  

  • Community - We value community, believing that each individual needs and contributes to community.

  • Partnership - We believe that we can only achieve our mission through sincere collaboration and teamwork within the community.

  • Basic Rights - We believe that youth have the right to shelter, food, healthcare, education, and a sense of belonging in a safe family environment.

  • Youth Engagement - We value the input and partnership of youth in the seeking of solutions to community problems.




Rapid Re-housing


Through partnerships that increase family supports and education

Connections to community to understand available resources and community needs. We do this through Community Hubs. Click HERE to read more. 

Programming that is youth centred, simple and direct

Via family reunification or client centred supportive living including host homes, supervised apartments and supportive housing

Holistic approach to care using multiple services and supports and integrating this into a care plan individualized for each specific youth


The Portal Youth Outreach Association (formerly under a different name), a non-profit charitable organization, was born in 2008 following concerns raised by individuals through a series of roundtable discussions. The input from a cross section of stakeholders resulted in the identified needs of over 100 homeless individuals in the community, many in Kentville.  A great number of these were youth and young adults. Thanks goes to Valley Gate Church for caring enough to start the organization.  In 2010, at the invitation of the province, The Portal Youth Outreach Association took on the task of providing outreach support to youth at risk. Now, The Portal plays a significant role in advocating for youth and providing support for youth throughout the Annapolis Valley.


The Portal has effective partnerships with many youth serving government and non-government organizations. The Portal Youth Outreach Program has navigated over 1000 youth through the system to access support. Many faced homelessness and the risk of homelessness. The Portal receives partial funding from DCS, Prevention and Early Intervention, Child, Youth and Family Supports (DCS’ Child Welfare program).  The program has been in operation since 2012 in communities across Nova Scotia. The aim of the program is to improve the immediate and long-term social, economic, educational and health outcomes for youth between the ages of 16 and 24 facing environmental, social, and family conditions that may impact their safety, hinder their personal development and prevent their transition into adulthood as healthy and productive citizens.


Russ Sanche

Executive Director

Russ Sanche is the Executive Director of the Portal Youth Outreach Association. Russ brings over 35 years of experience in leadership training, community transformation, and advocacy for youth.  He has worked in various cultures and nations, creating the space to help young people to face obstacles, share their stories, take charge, and give back to their community.  In Nova Scotia, through The Portal, Russ and his team, reaches out to youth that have been marginalized, exploited, homeless, stressed and challenged. They help them to navigate through the system, getting the support they need, and rise to a better life. The hope is end homelessness in the Annapolis Valley by 2028. Building collaborative networks, challenging the status quo, and working to see a compassionate community is Russ’s passion. Russ and his wife Cynthia are parents to four justice minded daughters who will likely surpass him in accomplishments for those that face injustice. 


 Melinda Daigle

Youth Outreach Worker

Melinda Daigle has lived in the Maritimes for much of her life. She comes from a military family, and together they moved to the beautiful province of Nova Scotia when she was barely a teenager. After high school Melinda went to university and studied, among other things, youth and families. Both in her undergrad and in seminary Melinda had a heart for children and youth. After graduating from Acadia Divinity College, Melinda flew out west, to Edmonton, to work with high risk kids though a local non-profit. Melinda spent years living in Edmonton, building a community, and working hard with kids and their families. After about 7 years Melinda started feeling the tug to head back ‘home’ to the Annapolis Valley. So she packed up her things, gave away some furniture, and grabbed her dog to set out on another adventure. In the summer of 2019 Melinda and Kevin (her beloved dog) were back in the Valley, close to family and old friends. To give you a rounder view of who Melinda is, here are some random facts about her: she loves to crochet, read, and hang out with her pets (Kevin the dog and Carnivore the cat). She loves exploring the local walking trails up by her house on the North Mountain. She also has an embarrassing love of pop music and action movies. Her family and her pets mean the world to her.

Graysen Photo.jpg

Graysen Lynn Parker

Youth Outreach Worker

Graysen Lynn Parker,  was born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. After leaving for a few years to work on her degree from UNB, she returned home with her newest family member, Stark. Stark (pictured with me) is a 1.5 year old Golden Doodle and is her most prized possession. She spent the last few years working with the L'Arche Community in Wolfville as well as in Fredericton, NB and has a passion for making sure that everyone has a voice and is able to make it heard. She enjoys going to the gym, watching/playing sports and relaxing while watching a good movie!


Kelly McGregor

Housing Locator

Kelly McGregor comes to The Portal from Calgary, Alberta where she has spent over 10 years working in the mental health and addiction field. Kelly worked for a non-profit organization that housed adults exiting homelessness and worked to connect them to the wider community. Kelly has has also worked with women exiting sexual exploitation and adults transitioning out of psychiatric wards. Kelly believes that belonging and community are key to healing and both the prevention and elimination of homelessness. 

On a personal level, Kelly lives with her husband, Daniel, and her dog, Huxley. She loves most things to do with exercise including volleyball, soccer, rock climbing, boxing and hiking.


Amanda Haslett

 Housing Support Worker

Amanda Haslett was born and raised in all three counties of the Annapolis Valley, with exception of a small stint in her teens where she lived  in an isolated community in Canada's far north. Amanda brings with her 20 years of experience in the helping field: having worked with youth, supported families and networking engagement across the Valley. When not working she can be found with her family and friends exploring backroads, hiking trails, and campgrounds in Nova Scotia.

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