About Us

Nestled in the North End Halifax Since 1960, Mulgrave Park is a vibrant community with a rich heritage and powerful and valuable community connections and pride.  

The Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre is a Family Resource Centre devoted to providing safe, supportive and friendly service to our community members with a focus on strengthening families and uplifting the community. 


Our Staff

AJ Simmonds

Executive Director

AJ is from North Preston and currently resides in Dartmouth.  He is the proud father of Amari Antonio and Adonis Adre. AJ is an advocate, facilitator, consultant, and community mobilizer.  He believes goals, commitment and hard work can create opportunities and lifelong learning.  As an Alumni of Acadia University, with a Sociology degree, he understands the importance of having genuine human regard for all people and leads by example, with integrity.

As a Program Coordinator and Community Outreach Advisor he knows the significance of building trust and creating positive relationships. Community led initiatives, working with stakeholders, establishing partnerships are key aspects for success. AJ has been able to combine his work and lived experience to address systemic barriers and keep institutions accountable to ensure positive outcomes for communities and people.

Now as the Executive Director of the Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre. AJ is extremely excited to be part of the team.  This is an opportunity to grow, learn and empower staff and community through a grassroots approach, ultimately enhancing the work and service delivery. AJ recognizes the importance of utilizing the voice, history and lived experiences of the community through collaboration is the path forward to help rebuild and rebrand the centre.

Rita Abou-Khalil

Program Coordinator

Rita just recently graduated from a Counseling and Social / Human Services course in November of 2022 after doing her student placement here and is very excited to start her career here at the Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre. Growing up in Dartmouth in an Arabic-speaking home and going to an all-French elementary and high school has given Rita the opportunity to learn English, French and Arabic as well as understand and experience at first hand cultural diversity, leading her to have an open mind and an open heart. 

Rita believes that patience and having genuine connections with people in the community is key for success and with her new role as Program Coordinator she is dedicated to help make sure community members feel at home, heard and respected in our centre.

Sabrina Hum

Community Outreach Coordinator

My name is Sabrina Hum. I am a proud mother of 2 beautiful daughters Naykia and Janaysha. I am the new Community Outreach Coordinator for the Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Center. Cherishing the connections in the community having worked with children for over 20 years. Also engaging with the community and residents of Mulgrave Park through various volunteer committees and jobs over the years has guided me to the present day.

Born and raised in Mulgrave Park I am honored to be able to connect with the community and residents daily to access their needs and concerns within the community. I take great pride in being from the community of Mulgrave Park and always ready to enhance our community through training and partnerships.

I am humbled and delighted to be able to have a voice in the community of Mulgrave Park. To advocate for the community, additionally to collaborate with other communities encourage to unite and strengthen our bond between the communities. As the Community Outreach Coordinator. I am very passionate and thrilled about my position, and with the opportunity to advance, expand, empower, and learn not only for myself but for our community of Mulgrave Park.

Excited to embark on this new journey at the Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Center with our amazing team, to continue to advance and learn with many years to come.

Shannon Rafuse

Parenting Journey Coordinator

I am returning to the Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Center after doing my counseling/ human services student placement here 4 years ago. At that time I got to learn more about the community and was so happy when a Parenting Journey Home Visitor position became available this past February. I knew then I needed to return. I worked after my placement in the north end at Veith house in the supervised access and exchange program.  As well as at open arms in uniake square as program coordinator. Then I moved into a Parenting Journey position in Dartmouth.  From the start I knew that Parenting Journey was the place for me. My passion for helping families has grown and I truly love helping families meet their goals. 

Knowing the struggles that parents can have sometimes helps me be able to help other families. I am a mom to one son. Parenting sometimes can be a struggle which I can understand first hand. All parents struggle in some way shape or form at some point during their parenting journey so I am so happy to have this opportunity to be a support in the community. 

Parenting Journey is a support program that helps families navigate systems like child protection, supports families with child behaviours, and attends appointments with families with other professionals and so much more. As a parent sometimes it can be tough to call people for support so I meet parents where they are at. If you ever have any questions about the program please call (902) 225-8033.

Jade Verney

Parenting Journey Home Visitor

My name is Jade Verney, I am the new Parenting Journey Home Visitor for the Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Center.

I grew up in the North End of Halifax and have been working with children and families since 2017. In my previous jobs I have facilitated career building workshops for youth, junior leadership programs, summer camp programs, coaching basketball, and community event planning.

I enjoy giving back to the community and helping foster a sense of belonging. I graduated college with a Child and Youth Care Diploma 2017. Throughout my career I travelled the world as a Young Ambassador to do work in communities with children, youth, and their families. 

Knowing the challenges parents may face as I am a mother of two myself, I am glad to offer my life experiences and learning tools to help parents navigate their challenges and have a positive outcome.  I am grateful to be an advocate and a voice for the children and families in our community. 

During her free time she enjoys playing basketball, outdoor adventures, reading a book, and cooking. 

Summer Camp Staff

The Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre recruits Youth from this community as well as students from our local universities, to spend their summers working with our summer camps. All of our youth workers are passionate about working with children and dedicated to giving them the best summer ever!

Summer Camp Staff and Mulgrave Park Caring and Learning Centre

From Left: J’Rysse, Armon, Vanessa, and Tia with three of our campers