Jill Balser, Project Lead

Jill was born and raised in Digby. After spending several years away, attending the University of New Brunswick Saint John and George Brown College in Toronto, Jill found her way back home in June of 2014. She quickly became involved with the Fundy YMCA as a member, volunteer and fitness instructor. Jill’s role at the YMCA then took on new responsibilities as the YREACH Immigrant Settlement Staff Member. In this role Jill supported immigrant and refugee families settle in the area by referring the needed services, such as language, employment and school settlement for youth. Before her return, Jill travelled the world fulfilling a life-long dream of long-term travel and spent time in Bali, Japan, England, France, Portugal and Spain where she successfully hiked the Camino de Santiago.

Jill brings over eight years of marketing experience and community development to the Digby area, along with a positive determination to contribute to the betterment of her home community. Jill’s true ambition is to be a part of something greater than herself and hopes to be lucky enough to inspire through her experiences.

Michael Carty, Community Coordinator

Michael and his family have lived in the Digby area for generations.  He has always had an interest in social engineering, psychology, storytelling and is an internationally published professional photographer and instructor.

Part of his education and experience includes a diploma in Professional Photography with highest honors from the International Career School (ICS) in Quebec, holding executive positions on the Digby & Area Board of Trade (DABT), where he received a Business Excellence Award (Rising Star 2016), he was one of the three founders of the Digby issue focused collective Defining Communities and he also instructs for the Digby Area Learning Association as the Technical Help Facilitator.

Michael believes a community is more than just a place; it’s the people that make it up and how they work together that make or break them.  His mantra for this work is,“When we all do well; we all do well.”

Morgan Dunn, Youth Engagement Coordinator

Morgan has lived in Digby for much of her life. She graduated from Acadia University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Community Development. Morgan has worked with many communities both locally and internationally throughout her undergraduate degree. She has had the opportunity to travel to Ghana, Ecuador, Honduras and Peru working with and learning from local residents during these volunteer experiences. One of the highlights of her trip to Peru, in addition to working with local people, was getting to hike the Inca Trail at Machu Picchu.

Morgan has gained experience in facilitation and leadership from her time as president of the Acadia Community Development Council, and from directing and planning summer camps in Digby and Kings County.

Morgan has a passion for working with youth and young adults.  During her six week professional placement with Turning the Tide it became evident that there was a need for youth engagement. Morgan is happy to serve the youth of Digby in this capacity as part of her role with Turning the Tide.

Elaine Rivers, Research and Evaluation Lead

Elaine was born and raised in Nova Scotia.  After graduating from St. FX, she studied and worked in many places across Canada and the US.  She completed graduate studies in Communications Research (Boston) and Public Administration (Victoria, BC).  She worked in the private sector in New York and Montreal, and in the public sector in Ottawa, Vancouver (federal) and Victoria (provincial). 

For many years Elaine worked as an independent consultant providing evaluation services to government departments and community-based organizations across BC.  In this role she designed and implemented evaluations for a wide range of social programs, with a particular interest in those focusing on families, children and women, health issues, immigration and settlement, and employment training.

Elaine joined our team in 2018.  Her role enables her to draw on her previous evaluation experience, and grow her developmental evaluation skills.  She has strong observation skills, and an innate sense of curiosity about how people interact to bring about meaningful change. 

When Elaine returned to Nova Scotia in 2008, she settled in the Valley.  In addition to working with Turning the Tide, she attempts to grow veggies and herd two very furry cats.