The Portal Youth Centre is a registered non-profit charitable organization that is a resource centre for Annapolis Valley youth age 12-19 who are at risk or currently experiencing homelessness.



All youth in the Annapolis Valley have a safe, supportive and nurturing home.



To Reduce the number of youth experiencing homelessness in the Annapolis Valley and prevent further youth from becoming homeless.

Supports We Provide 

  • Drop in space for community building

  • Youth & family crisis intervention

  • Supportive Counselling

  • Programs to build resiliency

  • Mentoring

  • Advocacy

  • Supporting families in transition

  • Connection to rapid re-housing

  • Recreation Buddies

  • Family connect and RE-connect

  • Outdoor Discovery


Through partnerships that increase family supports and education



Rapid Re-housing


Connections to community to understand available resources and community needs. We do this through Community Hubs. Click HERE to read more. 

Programming that is youth centred, simple and direct

Via family reunification or client centred supportive living including host homes, supervised apartments and supportive housing

Holistic approach to care using multiple services and supports and integrating this into a care plan individualized for each specific youth


The Valley Refuge Association, a non-profit charitable organization, was born in 2008 following concerns raised by individuals through a series of roundtable discussions. The input from a cross section of stakeholders resulted in the identified needs of over 100 homeless individuals in the community, many in Kentville.  A great number of these were youth and young adults. Thanks goes to Valley Gate Church for caring enough to start the organization.  In 2010, at the invitation of the province, The Portal Youth Centre took on the task of providing outreach support to youth at risk. Now, The Portal plays a significant role in advocating for youth and providing support for youth throughout the Annapolis Valley.


The Centre has effective partnerships with many youth serving government and non-government organizations. The Portal Youth Outreach Program has navigated over 300 youth through the system to access support. Many faced homelessness and the risk of homelessness. The Portal Youth Centre receives partial funding from DCS, Prevention and Early Intervention, Child, Youth and Family Supports (DCS’ Child Welfare program).  The program has been in operation since 2012 in communities across Nova Scotia.  The aim of the program is improve the immediate and long-term social, economic, educational and health outcomes for youth between the ages of 16 and 19+ facing environmental, social, and family conditions that may impact their safety, hinder their personal development and prevent their transition into adulthood as healthy and productive citizens.  


Russ Sanche

Executive Director

Russ Sanche has been involved in leadership training and education with young people for over 30 years.  Russell has worked in various cultures, creating the space to help young people to face adversity, take responsibility, and give back to their community.  In Nova Scotia, through the Portal Youth Centre, Russ reaches out to young people and families that are stressed and challenged. He helps them to navigate through the system, getting the support they need, and rise up to a better life. Building partnerships and working to see a community care about all members, young and old is Russ’s passion. He and his wife, Cynthia have chosen to live out this next chapter of their lives in the trenches of a forgotten community (youth at risk) in the Annapolis Valley.  


Nick Bethune

Youth Outreach Coordinator

Nick is a NSCC graduate out of the Child & Youth Care program in Truro. 
He came to us from The Boys and Girls Club in Lower Sackville,
and previously worked with summer camps for 9 years.
He is originally from Mineville, NS near Lawrencetown Beach. 
In his spare time he likes to keep active my playing basketball, and ball hockey.
Nick believes his positivity, humour, and encouragement has the power to change the atmosphere when teaming-up to face challenges with our youth. He loves to deposit strength and belief in them when sharing time together.


 Melinda Daigle

Youth Outreach Worker

Melinda Daigle has lived in the Maritimes for much of her life. She comes from a military family, and together they moved to the beautiful province of Nova Scotia when she was barely a teenager. After high school Melinda went to university and studied, among other things, youth and families. Both in her undergrad and in seminary Melinda had a heart for children and youth. After graduating from Acadia Divinity College, Melinda flew out west, to Edmonton, to work with high risk kids though a local non-profit. Melinda spent years living in Edmonton, building a community, and working hard with kids and their families. After about 7 years Melinda started feeling the tug to head back ‘home’ to the Annapolis Valley. So she packed up her things, gave away some furniture, and grabbed her dog to set out on another adventure. In the summer of 2019 Melinda and Kevin (her beloved dog) were back in the Valley, close to family and old friends. To give you a rounder view of who Melinda is, here are some random facts about her: she loves to crochet, read, and hang out with her pets (Kevin the dog and Carnivore the cat). She loves exploring the local walking trails up by her house on the North Mountain. She also has an embarrassing love of pop music and action movies. Her family and her pets mean the world to her.


Kelly McGregor

Community Engagement Coordinator

Kelly McGregor comes to The Portal from Calgary, Alberta where she has spent over 10 years working in the mental health and addiction field. Kelly worked for a non-profit organization that housed adults exiting homelessness and worked to connect them to the wider community. Kelly has has also worked with women exiting sexual exploitation and adults transitioning out of psychiatric wards. Kelly believes that belonging and community are key to healing and both the prevention and elimination of homelessness. 

On a personal level, Kelly lives with her husband, Daniel, and her dog, Huxley. She loves most things to do with exercise including volleyball, soccer, rock climbing, boxing and hiking.

Call us:


Toll Free:


440 Main Street Kenville Nova Scotia

B4N 1K8

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