Mel is an Anti-Violence counsellor and Educator who primarily works with folks in the Bow Valley experiencing Domestic violence (shelter and outreach). She also does preventative programming with youth, including Power-Up. Power-Up is a program dedicated to motivation & empowerment for kids. The program helps participants explore leadership and healthy relationships with self and others.

Mel has been a member of our team on a full-time basis for about a year and a half but had been working with the YWCA Banff team every summer for 5 years before that as a front desk agent while she went to University. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from MacEwan in Child and Youth care counselling.

Mel brings so many great attributes to the team! She is passionate about what she does and her care and concern for the families and individuals she supports comes through even in these days of video meetings. Colleagues describe Mel as super collaborative, whether it’s pulling in ideas or expertise from the team or engaging community members to co-facilitate. She loves being part of a community – both professionally and personally and enjoys working with clients and community partners.

One of the biggest challenges she’s faced over the past year with the pandemic is trying to connect with and support people. She knows first-hand that getting settled can be difficult when you are new to a small, close-knit community. Finding appropriate housing, a support system, and a social network can be even more challenging when other areas of your life are in turmoil.

When asked about her experience so far at the YWCA Banff, Mel said it’s been amazing to watch the organization grow over the past few years. She’s also had the opportunity and space to grow in her role and learn about the things she enjoys. One of the things she’s learned is that our programs and services, and our clients, are very diverse. While the focus is on women and their families, we serve all gender identities. She’s also learned that the people we work with could be anyone, including neighbours or friends – and that the pandemic has escalated the need for programs in community.