The Board of Directors of The Lotus Centre is responsible for the governance of the The Lotus Centre and the management of the The Lotus Centre financial situation through the implementation of clear policy.
Cheryl Paris, Chairperson
Cheryl is the Research Officer and Animal Ethics Coordinator for the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus and also a member of the Executive committee for the local NSGEU.
Her past volunteer work includes serving as Vice President for MADD Cobequid, and working with Red Cross and the Truro Homeless Outreach Society.
She is currently the co-organizer for 100 Kids Who Care and a member of the Community Investment Committee at United Way.
She’s the positive thinker behind the Facebook and IG pages “Positive Vibes” and “Empower Women”, as well as the Facebook group “Women Empowering Women”!
” In my early-30’s I started to pay closer attention to the injustices in society and tried to be purposeful in using my voice and platforms to influence change. 2017 shined a bright light on the challenges that women today still endure. I was compelled to do much, much more. I have admired the work of The Lotus Centre ever since participating in the One Billion Rising event in 2013 and took steps to get involved with the centre. I joined the Board of Directors in May of 2017 and shortly after, proudly accepted the Chair appointment.
I am dedicated to surrounding this center and myself with the most amazing women I can find to ensure our success!
In my free time, you can find me on the beach (any time of year), or taking a hike through our beautiful local trails.”
Twila MacDonald, Vice-Chairperson
Twila has worked in the human services field for approximately 15 years.
She has supported female adolescents with programming and life skills. She has supported parents and families and currently works in residential care.
She plans to attend University in September to further her education in women’s studies.
Twila is passionate about the issues surrounding women and the empowerment of women.
Rebekah Loughhead, Director/Secretary
Rebekah (or Becky as most know her) grew up in Truro where she became a versatile athlete throughout her youth, playing both hockey and softball.
She moved to Massachusetts where she attained an English degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and founded the Native American Student Association.
It was also in Massachusetts, that Becky became an avid Boxer while completing her degree.
After she completed her degree, she moved to Las Vegas, NV where she worked primarily as a substitute teacher before returning to her roots here in Nova Scotia.
Rebekah worked as a CCA in both home care and long-term care for 7+ years before choosing to become a Car Saleswoman.
She began her newest career at Century Honda where she made a notable impact on the dealership; playing a very active role in the company’s (2017) record-breaking year.
In 2018 she moved her talents to NISSAN, where you’ll still find her today. Becky’s positive attitude and perseverance are admired by all who know her.
As a single mother of two incredible daughters, Rebekah finds passion in women’s rights as well as helping to empower young women in all aspects of life.
She is dedicated to helping the women in our community.
Kenda Harris, Director/Treasurer
I began working for Colchester-East Hants District School Board in 1989 as an Administrative Assistant in Education Programs. When Cumberland, Colchester and Pictou Boards amalgamated into Chignecto Central Regional School Board I landed in Human Resources. I made the move to TJHS in 1998 where I have been ever since.
Truro Junior High moved into a new building in 2004 leaving our home on Victoria Street and moving to our new location at the top of Young Street. This was an exciting time for staff and students as we enjoyed the benefits of the new building while feeling nostalgic about the building we were leaving that had been there since 1938.
Proud mom of two adult children, Kirk & Robyn, very proud Nana of Charlotte and granddog “Abbie”! I love doing all and every kind of activity (or nothing at all) with all of them. I enjoy classes at the gym, yoga, hiking, gardening, beaching, updating around home and of course, who doesn’t like to travel!?
I have been wanting to become involved with community work so am very excited about being involved with The Lotus Centre.
Jennifer Clark, Director
Jennifer is a 28-year-old woman, born and raised in Truro.
Post secondary she studied Child and Youth Care at NSCC and has been employed with Colchester Residential Services Society (CRSS) since graduating in 2010. Jennifer recently got promoted to Program Supervisor this year and loves being able to support an incredible team of staff and some amazing supported individuals in one of CRSS’s group homes.
Jennifer is also supervising a project in collaboration with CRSS and an amazing group of community members who formed the Truro Inclusion Project. This new project is dedicated to creating a community inclusive of our various differences.
Jennifer aspires to help every person without prejudice or discrimination- because every person is deserving of love and respect.
Jennifer worked with The Lotus Centre Centre in 2009 when she planned and facilitated their 8-week Girl Power Day Camp, ever since, The Lotus Centre has held a spot in her heart. When the Board posted a recruitment announcement, Jennifer says she knew she belonged here.
She is dedicated to supporting the centre and the resource team, while they support the amazing women in our community!
Carolyn Irving, Director
“I believe that The Lotus Centre is one of the most useful resources available to women in our community. Whether someone is experiencing extreme changes in her life and is in need of an unbiased and supportive voice or someone has a desire to learn new skills that will foster a sense of person development and achievement; I want to be a part of building awareness of this incredibly important resource.”
Carolyn has worked within our health system for over 15 years and has participated in community initiatives in various capacities: Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Society, Truro and Area Minor Lacrosse Association, Cedarstone, many other rallies and women’s wellness events.
When she’s not at work you can find Carolyn spending time with her friends and family out on the trails!
Melissa Page-Webster, Director
Melissa is the owner of Cobequid Dance Academy. She intends to use her resources and reach as a business owner in this community to aid in bringing more awareness to the efforts of The Lotus Centre, as well as contribute her time to help those efforts succeed.
Melissa has Board experience as well as marketing and events planning experience
She believes passionately in the vision of The Lotus Centre. Being an owner of a business that deals mostly with girls and women, she feels that every female deserves a chance to be her whole and true self. She currently sits on the Downtown Truro Partnership Board, the Cobequid Art’s Council board.
Ardith Jordan Simmonds, Director
Ardith currently resides in Truro on West Prince Street with her husband Corey. She is mother of two grown sons and has one grandson.
Ardith was raised in Truro and graduated from CEC. She attended Mount Saint Vincent University for 2 years. Ardith received her certification in Afro-centric counselling from Dalhousie University in 1999. She attended CORE training with Correctional Services of Canada (CSC) in 2002 to become a Primary Worker/Correctional Officer.
She also worked within the government and private sector in numerous positions; Registry of Motor Vehicles, Co-ordinator of Cultural Enrichment Program with Black Educators Association, and Chignecto Central School Board as a Student Support Worker.
Ardith currently is a Correctional Program Officer with Nova Institution for Women. Ardith has over 16 years’ experience working at Nova Institution for Women and over 21 years of service with the Public Service. Ardith has acted as the Regional Manager of Ethno-cultural Services for the Atlantic Region and as the Program Manager at Nova. Ardith currently is the chief of shop stewards with USJE. In Ardith’s current position as a Correctional Program Officer, she facilitates CORE programming for women for reintegration back into the community.
In addition to working, Ardith actively volunteers with Community Enhancement Association working committee. She has served on the Apex Golf Association committee in the past and volunteers annually for the past 5 years with a raffle donating to the Apex Golf Association Scholarship fund in memory of her Dad, Arty Jordan.
Ardith enjoys cooking and spending time with her loved ones, especially her grandson.
Ardith has served on many boards in numerous capacities including : Employment Equity Diversity Committee, Emergency Response Team (ERT) for Nova, Community Enhancement Association, Truro Police Commission, Apex Golf Association, Black Educators Association Education Committee, Truro African Heritage Classic Basketball Committee
Erin Parsons, Director
Erin Parsons is a proud East Coast woman, born and raised in New Brunswick. Her family vacationed in Newfoundland and though her studies and work have taken her as far as Kingston ON.
She has made Truro her home and is happily settled here with her 2 lovely daughters.
Erin graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a degree in Kinesiology and returned to higher education while raising her girls to gain a certificate in Human Resources and Labour Relations.
She is definitely a people person, passionate about equality, diversity and empowering women especially.
Volunteering is high on Erin’s priority list and she has been involved with Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Alphabet Soup in motion, several events for youth empowerment, various fund-raising sporting events, breakfast programs, and has taken part as well as researched programs for at-risk females.
Currently employed within the finance dept. at the Town of Truro, Erin’s motto is ‘If I can’t change the direction of the wind, I better adjust the sails’.
She hopes to be a beacon of support for those who need it and is excited to join the Board of Directors at The Lotus Centre
Kari Ann Talbot, Director
Kari Ann was born and raised in Truro until her family relocated to Ottawa where she spent her teenage years.
Eventually, their Scotian roots called them back and Kari Ann started a family of her own, settling in HRM. She spent twenty years working, studying, and growing her family in the city, while keeping close ties with her family and friends here in the HUB.
At age 37, with 6 children by her side, Kari Ann enrolled at Nova Scotia Community College- Kingstec Campus where she attained certification in Medical Administration. She stayed and worked at the hospital in the Valley until 2013, then made the decision to return to Truro to be close to her aging parents and the town she feels holds her true roots.
She spends most of her time supporting her youngest children in sports, while still taking programs to keep her skills up to date. She strives to reconnect with her community and offer insights and supports to those who can benefit from shared experiences.
She views education and extra- curricular activities as priorities in children’s success. As a single Mother of 6, and Grand-Mother of 2, she recognizes the many challenges that exist in our systems. She hopes to be instrumental in eliminating these and ensuring that all children no matter of their status, gender or financial situation be able to participate and excel!
Lavinia Brooks, Director
Lavinia is a member of the first nation community of Millbrook. She would like to see The Lotus Centre as another resource for Mi’kmaq services. Lavinia currently works with the Millbrook Band Council as the Community Health Representative. She feels that with more information and involvement her community members will be more aware of what we have to offer at The Lotus Centre.
Lavinia has experience volunteering with multiple events in Truro and Millbrook.