Erika Rolston (She/They)
Nova Scotian by choice since 2014, Erika grew up on coastal British Columbia. Living, raising a child, and working in small, resource-based communities is an important part of who she has become. Erika’s formal education and work experience in natural resource management cemented a life-long suspicion that everything is connected to everything – a view that is reinforced every single day! Erika’s experiences range from natural resource sectors to non-profit to economic development – all of them supporting systems views. Intentionally working towards system change is a powerful motivator for Erika and she is energized to bring her strengths to the Inspiring Communities team. Here’s to Turning the Tide!
Erika lives with her partner on a small homestead near L’sitkuk (Bear River). Working in their large garden and greenhouse is Erika’s favourite form of physical and mental therapy, though embroidery runs a close second favourite hobby.
Erika’s favourite touchstones are “The Four Agreements”: Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.
Oh and “Desiderata.”
Morgan Dunn (She/Her)
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. She now leads the CBYF (Communities Building Youth Futures) project.
Bobby Jay Aubin (They/Them)
Youth Outreach Worker
What excites me about the upcoming year is connecting with youth and, by working closely with them in their everyday lives, creating relationships that will see youth thrive. Working in the youth field for the past 30 years has allowed me to see their potential; I encourage conversations which allow them to seek answers that they never knew existed inside them. Seeing the growth that happens is similar to watching a freshly planted garden flourish over the course of the summer. By applying the right ingredients, our youth can and will flourish, knowing someone cares and wants to see them succeed.
To help youth reach their goals, Bobby is responsible for providing outreach, advocacy, accompaniment, mentoring, referrals, programming including activities for youth aged 12-24 in the Town of Digby and Digby County, in partnership with local schools, organizations and community groups.
Pour aider les jeunes à atteindre leurs objectifs, Bobby est responsable de la sensibilisation, de la défence des droits, de l’accompagnement, du mentorat, des références, de la programmation, y compris des activités pour les jeunes âgés de 12 à 24 ans dans la ville de Digby y compris le comté de Digby, en partenariat avec les écoles locales, les organisations et les groupes communautaires.
Carmelita Johnson (She/Her)
Carmelita is an NSCC graduate and hails from the African Nova Scotian community of Southville in Weymouth, NS. She has previously worked for NSCC, BEA-Regional Educators Program, and Digby SchoolsPlus. Carmelita has spent over 23 years working in the public school system as an ANS Student Support Worker in Digby and Annapolis County. Her passion is working to improve inequities within systems that directly affect historically marginalized communities. She is a firm believer in connecting with people spiritually (mind, body, soul). Being authentic and speaking from her own Africentric perspective has been the key to Carmelita’s personal and professional growth and success. She enjoys listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.
I am excited to bring my knowledge and experience of working with the ANS community to support the current work inspiring communities is doing to improve the overall quality of marginalized communities.
What book has influenced you greatly? how?
I don’t necessarily have a book that influences me but the African philosophy of UBUNTU which means “I am because we are” has inspired me to use holistic approaches to the way I work with people and to understand that we are human only through the humanity of others.
Shawnalynn (Shawna) Cromwell (She/Her)
Shawnalynn was born in Hallifax, Nova Scotia. Her father Morris was in the Canadian Military, so she was an Army Brat. The majority of her life she was raised and lived in Weymouth Falls, Nova Scotia, a predominantly Black Community. Shawnalynn has a varied background in education ranging from Human Services to Administrative Assistant Training. She enjoyed the Human Services Program the most because it began the spark in her to seek and pursue her passion to work in the mental health sector/system. Shawnalynn is eager and excited to begin her new role as Co-Community Coordinator with Turning the Tide.
What excites me about this year is becoming more connected and in tune with my community; the Black Community, and surrounding communities. I feel passionate about mental health: outside of my work with Turning the Tide, I am working towards getting an initiative in place to offer Peer Support to marginalized communities. I want to achieve this by having walk-in hubs, online and phone supports to be offered by paid Peer Support Workers. The Peer Support Workers will be a cross-section of populations and will be culturally and sensitively trained for whatever client walks through the doors. It is a labour of love for me and I have been working to achieve this for a while now; it is a process and I am learning as I go along this journey.
What song best describes your life?
The song that best describes my life is Bargain Store by Dolly Parton. This song best describes my journey through the life of someone with a mental illness. But do not despair! My life is making its way back into the sun.