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Steering Committee Bios
Position: Coordinator Community Services
Organization: Edmonton John Howard Society
Years of Service: 7 with Edmonton John Howard Society 15 total in the field
Bio: Heather Peddle has been working at the Edmonton John Howard Society since May 2006 and has been working with high risk and at risk youth for the past 15 years in various capacities. During her time with the John Howard Society she has working in the REE*START program and is currently the Coordinator. Heather is involved in various community initiatives and committee’s aimed at addressing some of the systemic barriers for high risk and at risk youth. Prior to her work at The Edmonton John Howard Society, she has been responsible for providing one on one support along with the development and implementation of various programs ranging from anger management, social skill development and positive peer interaction. Heather Also works for Aboriginal Consulting Services Association as Facilitator for the Circle of Safety Children’s Program working with children and youth who have grown up or are living in homes where there is or have been instances of family violence and offering support along with strengthening their cultural connection
Position: Program Manager
Organization: Youth Empowerment & Support Services
Bio: Jeralee has been working with the high risk youth population for nearly 10 years. Her background began in the field of education working with Aboriginal special needs youth in northern Alberta, and then high risk youth in a specialized education program in central Alberta. Her passion for working with youth led her to YESS where she has worked in various roles helping to achieve the agency’s core purpose of empowering youth from difficult realities. Currently she oversees the program development and implementation of all client services areas.
Peter Smyth MSW, RSW
Position: Specialist, High Risk Youth Services
Organization: Edmonton & Area Child & Family Services (Region 6)
Years of Service: 24
Bio: Peter is the Specialist for High Risk Youth Services with Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services. Peter is a member of the Steering Committee for the High Risk Youth Initiative, and is part of the High Risk Youth Multi-Disciplinary Consultation Team in Edmonton. From November 2005 to March 2012, he was the supervisor of the High Risk Youth Unit in Old Strathcona. The unit incorporates innovative, non-traditional practice to better meet the needs of this very challenging population. Prior to this he supervised the Inner City Connections Program. He helped found the Old Strathcona Youth Society in 1998, and remains on the board of directors.
Position: E4C's Youth Services Director
Years of Service: over 15 years
Bio: Lynn has been working at E4C for 18 years. Lynn brings an expansive skill set to E4C including experience and education in horticulture, massage therapy, recreation administration, rehabilitation, and entrepreneurship. In her life before E4C Lynn sat on the board for ABC Head Start. During her time on the board she became the chair of the Program committee and helped facilitate the creation of a pilot project that amalgamated Edmonton Early Intervention Program and ABC Head Start which eventually became Early Head Start, here at E4C.
Lynn’s diverse background has served her well as she has transitioned through many different roles at E4C and is known as the senior leader that is up for a challenge. Lynn began her tenure at E4C as the manager of the program that she formed: Early Head Start and eventually added Clareview Head Start to her portfolio. She then became the Director of Early Learning when Art Start and the North East Children’s Program were added to her division. She spent one year as the Director in the department formally known as Fund Development and then oversaw the creation of the Youth Services Division when it was created in June 2012.
One of Lynn’s proudest moments was when the Early Learning Division, under her directorship, acknowledged that they were a high performing team. Over her time at E4C she has learned that it is not content knowledge that moves a team but about how you inspire others.
Position: Director of Community Partnerships
Organization: Safe and Caring Schools and Communities
Bio: With over 30 years of experience providing Clinical Supervision to programs for vulnerable and high-risk youth in the areas of personal development, mental health, and addictions, David has worked with diverse organizations such as UNICEF, Junior Achievement, Alberta Health Services, the Government of Alberta and AADAC. He is currently leading the development of the United Way Mental Health Community Action Plan for the City of Edmonton, and has been Director of Community Partnerships for The Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities, Provincial Team Lead for the Mental Health Capacity Building in Schools Initiative, Clinical Supervisor of Mobile Youth Addiction Services, chaired the Edmonton Inter-Agency Youth Services Association, served on the Council on Alberta Teaching Standards, the University of Alberta Medical Student Admission Review Committee, and the Alberta Think Tanks on Youth Engagement. David has received such recognition as the Canadian School Mental Health Award, Alberta School Council’s Association Excellence in Learning Partnerships Award, and the Man of Honour Award for community service and collaborative practices.
Bio: Daniel developed his passion for working with youth as a music teacher and record producer in his first career as a musician. Moving into the profession of social work, Daniel soon found his niche with various youth serving agencies, and was thrilled to become a caseworker on Region 6 High Risk Youth Unit.
Position: Project Coordinator
Organization: REACH Edmonton Council for Safe Communities
Bio: Holly is currently involved with a number of community safety initiatives that focus on youth, and is honored and excited to be a part of the High Risk Youth Conference Steering Committee!
David K. French
Position: Manager of Youth Homelessness
Organization: Family Violence Prevention and Homeless Supports Division, Human Services
Years of Service: 10
Bio: With close to 10 years working in Government and equally that many working with community organizations in Edmonton and across Alberta, David has a passion for developing programs and policy that meet the needs of high-barriered youth. Most recently, David was the primary researcher, author and developer of Alberta’s Plan to End Youth Homelessness. The Plan is a unified, integrated, provincial response to youth homelessness that engages government, communities, parents and youth in building solutions and aligns ongoing work being led through A Plan for Alberta - Ending Homelessness in 10 years.
Bio: Fayanne has worked with Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services in the Contract and Program Support for four years. Fayanne has prior experience with Alberta Health Services, Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD), and community residential supports to children and adults with disabilities.
Bio: Rebecca is a graduate of the Bachelor of Child and Youth Care program at MacEwan University, and enjoys her current position on the OBSD family wellness team at Chimo Youth Retreat Centre. Rebecca is passionate about her work with youth exhibiting high-risk behaviours, and is continually inspired by the strength and tenacity of the young people she works with.
Position: Youth Transition Advisor
Bio: Tennille has worked with youth for a number of years and currently works at the Edmonton John Howard Society as a Youth Transition Advisor for the REE*START Program. Tennille's role focuses on supporting youth with justice involvement both inside the Edmonton Young Offender Centre and in the community."
Position: Instructor and Field Placement / Coordinator of Social Work
Organization: MacEwan University
Years of Service: 4 years
Bio: "I have worked with youth in many capacities over the year and I am very interested in supporting best practices in working with high risk youth. I teach social work students about working with youth and I am also involved in research which looks at how high risk youth are able to access emergency health care."
Position: Executive Director
Organization: Old Strathcona Youth Society
Years of Service: 6 years as Executive Director
Bio: “I have been dedicated to providing non-judgemental services to high risk and street involved youth to empower them to move ahead with their lives”
Bio: Throughout his professional career Eric volunteered in youth serving programs and social development causes. Following his 2007 retirement from the manufacturing sector, he was able to increase his community involvement and obtained a Bachelor of Social Work degree as one of his retirement projects. He combines social work with his previous management, governance, and volunteer experience to be engaged in the community and with a variety of social justice projects. His efforts are primarily focused on the areas of at-risk and in-care youth, marginalized seniors, and sexual minority populations.
Position: Team Leader
Organization: Catholic Social Services
Years of Service: 8 years
Bio: I have worked with Catholic Social Services- Safehouse program since 2008. I find my job very rewarding as I have the opportunity to meet amazing young people who are very resilient. I am a member of the High Risk Youth Multidisciplinary Consultation Team in Edmonton. I have a B.A. in Sociology and a diploma in Criminology from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Role: Youth Probation Officer
Employer: Alberta Justice and Solicitor General Years in Role: 4 years
Position: Permanency Caseworker
Organization: Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services (Region 6)
Years of Service: 8 years with Region 6, 10 within the field
Bio: I have always loved working with people and have found my passion working with this unique population of high risk youth. After completing my first degree in Communication Studies, I started volunteering and working in a number of areas including forensic mental health and homeless youth - it was these experience that lead me to decide to pursue my education in social work. I have a Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Victoria and am always looking for new opportunities for learning. I worked as a High Risk Youth Caseworker for several years and prior to that I was an Assessor with Child and Family Services, in the inner city providing supports and services for families as well as youth in need. These youth have so much to teach about their experiences and ourselves and I love being a part of their journey.
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