Laura joins OPDI with twenty years of experience in the Mental Health and Addiction System diverse experience providing direct service in shelters and supportive housing. Her work history includes serving as the Executive Director of a small community-based drop-in organization during a time of rapid transition.
Laura has also had the privilege of leading the development of a Crisis Service for Older Adults, experiencing Mental Health and Addictions crisis and acting as a manager at a hospital. With her most recent role, prior to joining OPDI, Laura had the honour of providing her expertise of the Accreditation process to a Peer Led Organization with the result of achieving Accreditation Certification with Commendation. Laura brings a deep understanding of and a passionate commitment to Peer Support work in Ontario.
Laura has an educational background in Sociology and Criminology, a post graduate certificate in Psycho-Social Rehabilitation and a post graduate certificate in Addiction Counselling. She has taught courses at Centennial College. As a lifelong learner Laura seeks opportunities for ongoing learning, through courses, colleagues, friends, neighbours, and most importantly her family. When not working, Laura enjoys being active - preferably outdoors - with her son, daughter and husband. Laura also enjoys reading, gardening, cooking and baking.
Allyson began working for OPDI back in 1993 in its earlier incarnation as the former CSDI. Originally tasked as an administrative assistant, she has taken on other responsibilities including office finances, conference organizer and, working with graduates of the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Program while they complete their internships. She is certified with Peer Support Canada, and is qualified to deliver OPDI Peer Support Core EssentialsTM Program training. Allyson lives with her husband, two teenaged boys and their dog Scout who they adopted from a rescue organization. In her spare time, Allyson enjoys spending time with family and friends, trying new vegan recipes and exploring a healthy lifestyle.
Nevena has a background in instruction and content creation in higher education. She started her career at Queen’s University, where she supported the work of students and staff as a member of the English Department, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Student Academic Success Services. Nevena is committed to creating accessible educational resources that support people with the lived experience of mental health and addiction.
Nevena has her PhD in English Language and Literature, and in her free time she publishes and presents research on the intersections of gender, age, and performance. She also has a penchant for musical theatre and murder mysteries.