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 or currently experiencing homelessness.
All youth in the Annapolis Valley have a safe, supportive and nurturing home.
To Reduce the number of youth experiencing homelessness in the Annapolis Valley and prevent further youth from becoming homeless.
Supports We Provide
Drop in space for community building
Youth & family crisis intervention
Programs to build resiliency
Supporting families in transition
Connection to rapid re-housing
Family connect and RE-connect
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 300 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 has been involved in leadership training and education with young people for over 30 years. Russell has worked in various cultures, creating the space to help young people to face adversity, take responsibility, and give back to their community. In Nova Scotia, through the Portal Youth Centre, Russ reaches out to young people and families that are stressed and challenged. He helps them to navigate through the system, getting the support they need, and rise up to a better life. Building partnerships and working to see a community care about all members, young and old is Russ’s passion. He and his wife, Cynthia have chosen to live out this next chapter of their lives in the trenches of a forgotten community (youth at risk) in the Annapolis Valley.
Youth Outreach Coordinator
Nick is a NSCC graduate out of the Child & Youth Care program in Truro. He came to us from The Boys and Girls Club in Lower Sackville, and previously worked with summer camps for 9 years. He is originally from Mineville, NS near Lawrencetown Beach. In his spare time he likes to keep active my playing basketball, and ball hockey. Nick believes his positivity, humour, and encouragement has the power to change the atmosphere when teaming-up to face challenges with our youth. He loves to deposit strength and belief in them when sharing time together.
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 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 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.
Community Engagement & Host Home Coordinator
Amanda Haslett was born and raised in all three countries 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.
Prevention Program Coordinator
Leslie is our Prevention Programs Coordinator. She spent five years studying at Acadia University and has graduated with a Bachelor of Community Development and a Bachelor of Theology. She loves hiking, canoeing, travelling, and spending time with family and friends.