Voices of HoPE

Voices of HoPE Advisory Council

The Poverty Roundtable HPE Voices of HoPE Advisory Council emerged from the 2017 Speakers Bureau training program after members recognized the need for a platform that allowed various forms of advisory, education, and community awareness building. Our members have dedicated themselves to using their stories and experiences to inform and shift attitudes, building community through shared understanding, creating change and cultivating belonging.
Voices of HoPE members are available to educate, to consult, to facilitate workshops on engaging with people who have experience, and to present and share stories.

For more information or to connect with Voices of HoPE Advisory Council contact Christine Durant or Tanya Dutton here

Voices of HoPE


Tami – grandparents/kinship rights, housing, food security

At 39, my marriage of 21 years ended. My life as I knew it was over. I had two kids, one at home.  My separation and divorce were very messy. I was thrust into a life of poverty, seemingly in a flash. This wasn’t my first experience with poverty, but it was the first, as an adult.  I was raised in poverty off and on.  As I teen I lived on the street for a brief time, before getting student welfare, living in a rooming house and struggling to get to school. A brief struggle with alcohol began. I was 39 when I found out I was going to be a Grandma. She was born in January, by April she was living with me. Since my grandchild came into my care, I have experienced many of the injustices and inequalities faced by the Kinship and Grandparents re-parenting community. It is my goal to advocate, educate and empower grandparents raising grandchildren. I’d like to help transform this very confusing and scary journey into one that empowers and builds confidence.  As vice-president of Cangrands, I’m making this happen. The reality is, housing insecurity, food insecurity, lack of financial supports and a lack of social services impact me and my community in a very negative way. I am driven to bring awareness and effective change to that reality.


Beth – precarious employment, income security, workers rights, housing 

It’s time for a change. Beth Bedore is an educated, talented, skilled writer and artist.  Yet, she struggles to thrive in life. With aspirations to become a medical illustrator, Beth attended the Ontario College of Art.  Over the last 2 decades Beth has worked in the publishing industry. However, that industry provides inconsistent work cycles. Beth has received messages from the government and society that don’t reflect the reality of her life.  “Go back to school”.  “Get another job”.  Beth has done all of that yet she lives in feast or famine cycle.  Beth is a dynamic speaker, focused on changing the perspective to reflect the current workforce. Beth is determined to change the basic income level, to exact change at a government level to allow educated, talented people to earn an income that allows then to feel stable while being able to provide immense value to the world through their talents. With a background in writing, Beth has a powerful message that you will remember for a very long time.


Ashley – addictions, mental health, housing, women in prison

I’m a second year student at Loyalist in the SSW program. I’m a single mother of a boy and two girls. I am a passionate speaker, writer, mother and social work student.  I was incarcerated for six years and when I was released I intended to be the change I wanted to see in the world today and was determined to make that happen. The change I want to see – is the stigma around addiction, around poverty and around ex-cons ended. Although I still live in poverty with my children, I’m overcoming addictions and that has made it a little easier to live. When I was first released I found myself homeless, hungry and addicted. It took years to get back and to know who I really am. I am the change I want to see in the world. Getting assistance when I was first released was impossible – there was no help. I didn’t know I had it in me – to pull myself out. I’m an advocate for prisoners’ rights, harm reduction, and support for families to get up on their feet. A hand up, not a hand out or a hand down. I come from my experience and the changes that we need to see. Everyone deserves a second – chance. I’m proof.


 Tracey – family poverty, single parents, housing, disability, food security

I grew up in a stable home. I didn’t know poverty. I do now.  Moving from owning your own house, to moving into rent geared to income, having to quit work due to my children’s disabilities took me down a path I hadn’t expected to be on. I’m here to help single parents that have come through domestic situations/dealt with abuse, are caregivers to children with disabilities and who deal with their own disabilities. Initially our family broke down because of the stress – of income, of illness and disability. The stigma needs to end, the supports to families need to increase, the endless waiting lists keep us stuck. Navigating a complex system is hard and challenging. I am a mother, I have a disability, my child has a disability, I’m a single parent. My journey as a single parent and living in rent geared to income – has been an eye opener – to see children going without, going hungry. It’s all around me – every day.


John – community advocate, seniors, housing

Poverty is not infectious, not a disease but a condition that is curable.  Throughout his experiences John Regimbal has witnessed too many barriers being put up against people who are living in poverty.  John is a retired Ontario Hydro employee, having moved to Belleville after suffering a stroke in 2013.  John currently lives in affordable housing and is actively involved in the community as member of the roundtable on housing and the poverty roundtable.  Since his stroke, John’s strength and perseverance has made him more active than ever, including volunteering as a high school football coach.  He strongly believes that people in need don’t need a hand out, but a hand up.  With a constant need to learn and grow, John is determined to break the cycle of poverty and the discrimination associated with it.


Monica – rural poverty, advocate, social justice, arts, Bancroft area

I grew up in a single parent home, in poverty. As a child in Grade 5 I was homeless. I’ve lived in tents. I’ve experienced, from a young age, the depth and trauma of poverty. When I was older I became a single parent. Through a lot of determination, I turned things around for myself. But I’ve always been an advocate and have always been, regardless of my circumstance, engaged and have always worked to ease the impacts of poverty for others. I studied social service work and later on lost my own home through a bank foreclosure. So I’ve had and lost and had and lost…in a cycle. My spirit is strong. I’ve learned to be in the world and not of the world. My big interest with the Speakers Bureau to show other people that a lot can be done, a message of hope and to work as a trainer to help others tell their story to. I am a public speaker, a Gnome for Social Justice & Equality North Hastings Chapter, an adult educator, a performance artist and singer-song-writer.










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