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Meet the women behind our Home Visiting teams

Updated: Mar 11

“I think one thing that gets us back in the door is just going in and being ourselves. Being open and being honest with our families.” 

From left to right: Andrea Cole, Home Visiting Coordinator; Natasha Lewis, EHV; Marlee Lovell, PJ; Kristin Peach, EHV; Mouna Manna, EHV; Cheyenne Burke, EHV.  

Not pictured: Evangéline Francis, PJ. 

The women on our Home Visiting teams make up about a quarter of the staff team at The North Grove, yet many people are unfamiliar with the work that they do.  

Home visitors support parents with activities, resources, and in-home support in a wide variety of areas. Building strong relationships with the families that they work with requires understanding, compassion, and vulnerability. 

Home Visiting Coordinator, Andrea Cole with members of participating Parenting Journey family. 

Under the leadership of Home Visiting Coordinator, Andrea, The North Grove offers two different visiting programs.

Enhanced Home Visitors (EHV) Natasha, Kristin, Mouna, and Cheyenne offer in-home support to families with children aged 0-3 who are referred to the voluntary program by Nova Scotia Public Health nurses. These visits always take place with parent and child together and focus on life skills for parents and the healthy development of infants and toddlers.  

Parenting Journey (PJ) is a province-wide, goals-based program for parents of children up to 19 years old. PJ Home Visitors, Andrea, Marlee and Evangéline  are matched with families who individually identify a need for extra support. 

Many families face barriers and systemic challenges such as food insecurity and poverty.  

From left to right: former Parenting Journey family: Kristin, Jake, and David. 

Many of our home visitors are former program participants. Andrea and Kristin each participated in the Prenatal Program. Mouna participated in Family Programs for many years with her children. For Marlee it was bringing the children that she nannied to participate in Playgroup that got her thinking “I'm going to come back to this place someday, I just know it.” 

Before getting into Home Visiting, Cheyenne worked as a Teacher’s Aid supporting students with disabilities and later worked in a Youth Shelter. “I wanted to get into a position that was more preventative than waiting until they [children and teens] are already kicked out and then trying to support them.”  

“I took EHV with my youngest son, and when an EHV position opened up I was contacted by the home visitor that used to visit me.”  

Enhanced Home Visitor, Mouna Manna and Early Childhood Educator Yuki Tsuchiya with participants in The North Grove’s Baby & Me program.  

In home visiting, no two days look the same. Job duties often arise spontaneously and may range from impromptu visits to facilitating the Baby & Me program to delivering produce and hot meals. 

Andrea has been with The North Grove team since 2007 and worked as a visitor in both programs before taking on the coordinator role.  

“You never know what you're going to get, just like Forest Gump and his box of chocolates. But it’s about having the patience and the ability to stay focused on the needs of the folks that we’re supporting. You have a kind of overall, overarching plan for the day and then just follow where that takes you.” 

Some days are not easy, but members of both teams feel very strongly that they can lean on their fellow visitors for support. When challenging situations arise, their colleagues are always available to listen, answer questions, and share advice.  

Referencing the workplace culture, Kristin said “It's not like a lot of places where if you should fall apart, they say “Oh, maybe you're not fit for this job.” It’s kind of like, okay, you can fall, just pick yourself back up. If you fall apart completely, we are here.” 

The EHV team’s newest member, Natasha worked as an Indigenous Student Support Worker and transitioned to Home Visiting with the Indigenous community. Only a few days into her new role at The North Grove, she remarked on the supportive nature of the team, and feeling like she had ‘come home.’ 

From left to right: Andrea Cole, Home Visiting Coordinator; members of former Parenting Journey family: Dezmond; Diana; and Kwame. 

Home Visiting, like social work and support work, is a part of the broader care field. In Canada’s latest Labour Census (2016), at least 75% of the individuals in care professions were women.  

Some Home Visitors felt that the ability to ‘go with the flow’ in their role might be a maternal instinct. Many expressed that motherhood and raising their own children has helped them to empathize with the difficult experiences that parents who access these programs face. 

“Traditionally women are the caregivers, but I guarantee you could go down through any of our backgrounds and there is something that happened in our lives that made us want to grow up to be the person that we needed when we were younger.” said Natasha.  

Our Home Visitors in EHV and PJ agreed that that the most meaningful parts of their jobs are sharing connections with families and watching them thrive. Working with a dedicated Home Visitor allows families to stay connected to programs taking place at The North Grove as well as other community resources. 

“Being a part of The North Grove has brought our little family a lot closer to the community. It's given us a safe place to work, play, or to just relax (or to eat!)” said former PJ participants, Kristin and David.  

Former Parenting Journey family, Kristin and David, share their experience with the program and express gratitude for their partnership with Andrea, their visitor.  

Many parents and children who have taken part in EHV or PJ return to The North Grove for community meals or family and parenting programs. Others may get involved as volunteers, and some simply stop in to say hello.  

“You may not see somebody for three or four years as a participant, but then they will walk in the door one day and it's like no time has passed whatsoever.” 


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