New Faces at Bruce House, and a Good-Bye

Bruce House is delighted to welcome two new people to our team!

Johanne Saintélus joins us at reception, helping coordinate the office, deliver client services, and assist staff.  This important role serves as a hub for our team, a stable core as our individual duties see us dividing our time between the office, on the road seeing clients, and working from home due to the pandemic. Johanne has already shown her skills greeting clients and visitors, helping with our food program, and gone with the flow of our sometimes crazy office.

Anna Brunzema joins us this summer thanks to a grant from Canada Summer Jobs. Anna is helping us with client services, assisting staff with grants and other projects, and will act as a back-up receptionist.  Anna quickly impressed us with her enthusiasm and reliability.

Having Johanne and Anna in the office will also allow staff to take some much-needed time off over the summer.  We have accomplished a great deal during the pandemic, continuing client services and greatly increasing outreach, food supports, and wellness checks.  Having two extra team members will allow everyone to take a guilt-free break or two, knowing that there will be no interruption in the supports given to our clients.

Sadly, we also said goodbye to Mariah Sylvester at the end of April. Mariah joined us last September for a short-term contract which we extended several times because, to be honest, she just rocked.  She took everything in stride as our team dealt with the changing pandemic realities, the increasing needs of our clients, and the personal stress we have all felt.  No matter how much we asked of her she accepted the work gladly—if she hadn’t already seen the need and done it before being asked. Mariah has moved on to a wonderful career opportunity, and we are very happy for her.  We have no doubt she will excel at this job too.

My name is Johanne Saintélus and I am a recent graduate from Concordia University.

During my time in the Women’s Studies major along with my minor in Political science, I have developed a passion for social justice work. I have always been intrigued by intersectionality and how it affects marginalized peoples, considering my position as a young Black woman in Canada.

I have joined Bruce House to understand the stigmatization against people living with HIV as well as continuing to include harm reduction practices and anti-colonialism in my social justice. 

Aside from this, I have a strong affection for the arts, specifically for performing arts such as dance. 

My name is Anna Brunzema and I joined the Bruce House team for the summer youth position. I recently graduated with my Honours B.A in Psychology from the University of Ottawa. I am hoping to complete my Masters of Social Work in 2022, which sparked my interest in non-profit organizations. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I completed multiple courses in human sexual behaviour.

Bruce House was first introduced to me while I was completing a research project on the effects of a positive HIV diagnosis on well-being. I discovered how important Bruce House and similar organizations are in providing support to individuals living with and impacted by HIV.

I am passionate about community support and the well-being of others. I am hoping that through Bruce House I can contribute to the team and the community in any way possible.