About TSF

TSF aims to enhance and improve mental health and addiction resources and support networks for youth between the ages of 12-24 within Huron County. 

Together, we work to create a system that provides:

  • Rapid and easy access
  • Stigma free, low-barrier physical and virtual settings
  • Evidence-based, youth-specific interventions matched to the level of need
  • Early intervention
  • Youth and family partnership, engagement and support
  • Co-development and collaboration with youth, families, and community
  • Authentic partnerships with community service providers
  • Peer Support programs and training
  • Education and advocacy
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Continuous improvement and evaluation

We maximize our impact by following the evidence, partnering with others in the system, and most of all, listening to youth.

What does this look like in action? Here’s how we work to create meaningful change to youth mental health and addiction services in Huron County:

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Connect local support services and help youth and their families navigate options,  providing a seamless mental health & addictions system (My Journey Program)

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Empower youth to voice their needs, actively contribute to solutions, and set the direction of the Tanner Steffler Foundation through a Youth Advisory Council

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Work with the separate and public Boards of Education to establish full-time, in-school mental health and addiction specialists

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Educate parents, caregivers, community members and politicians through advocacy and presentations within the municipalities of Huron County

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Our next step! 
Build and sustain an evidence-based Youth Addiction Treatment & Mental Health Resource and Wellness Facility in Huron County for our youth and their families.

Our Story

Tanner StefflerOn June 6th, 2017 after a battle with substance use disorder, Tanner Steffler was sadly poisoned by a drug overdose at the young age of 19.  Tanner’s disorder is not what defined him, rather, he was a handsome teenager, an academic student and full of life and potential.  He had a great sense of humour, was a talented musician, enjoyed being with his peers, had a soft spot for his loveable bulldog and had college acceptances to fulfill his career goal of an X-ray technician.  Tanner grew up in a good home, was raised with strong values, love and kindness by his caring and supportive parents, John and Heather Steffler.  He also had two younger sisters who are well adjusted and healthy.  Tanner was remarkably honest and shared his struggle with those he knew loved and cared about him.  In many ways, Tanner was a typical teen, and could at a first glance, be anyone’s child.  His story solidifies for us, that addiction and mental health can impact anyone’s child, no matter their colour, creed, income or status.

In Huron County, access to mental health and addiction resources for youth are limited at best.  Throughout Tanner’s struggle with substance use disorder we know that he tried desperately to access support that would help him overcome his illness.  Tanner didn’t want to be an addict; he wanted treatment and he wanted to be well.  Despite their best efforts, Tanner and his family could not access services that would support his treatment and full recovery in a timely manner.  The medical system and outpatient services did not help Tanner, the school could not and the justice system does not.  The lack of appropriate services for Tanner and other youth like him is appalling.  In the end, the “system” failed Tanner and it cost him his life.  Unfortunately, this is a story we hear far too often; youth do not have adequate access to mental health and addiction services in Huron County.

After Tanner’s death, others reached out to John and Heather to share their stories of struggle.  All stories shared a common theme; our youth deserve better services.  Repeatedly, stories told of the lack of immediate access to services, short term treatment centres with no follow-up care, youth being shuffled from one provider to another, long waitlists and doors being closed repeatedly.  Despite their intense grief, John and Heather created Tanner Steffler Foundation in August 2017, and are committed to saving the lives of Huron County youth so that others don’t have to suffer like Tanner and his family.

The focus of the foundation is to enhance and improve the Mental Health and Addiction resources and support networks that are in place for youth between the ages of 12-24 within Huron County.  Youth Mental Health and Addiction is a broad area of concern for the entire healthcare, law and education partners and is an identified area of need within our community.

Programs & Partnerships

My Journey

My Journey matches youth in need with a dedicated social worker, who helps them to navigate local services and support options. The social worker will make recommendations, act as a liaison, and follow up on the youth in need to make sure they get the help they need.

Peer Support Program (Youth and Family)

Our peer support program connects individuals in need of support with a trained volunteer who can relate to their situation firsthand. 

To volunteer as part of this program, click here. 

In-school Mental Health Support

TSF funded the first Youth Wellness Coaches in Huron County high schools. The program has evolved, and now each school has a Youth Wellness Coach. This program is now overseen by the local school boards, and TSF continues to advocate for in-school resources in our area. 

 

Crisis and Mental Health Support Training

In the past, TSF has hosted crisis and mental health support training in Huron County including certified programs such as ASIST, mental health first aid, and naloxone.

If you are interested in booking a training through TSF, please email admin@tannerstefflerfoundation.com

 

Presentations and Advocacy

Invite a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) member to speak at your event, school, work, or community organizations. Virtual and in-person presentations are available on a variety of mental health topics, including stigma reduction, wellness strategies, supporting others, and local resource sharing.  

To book a presentation or meet with a youth mental health advocate, please email admin@tannerstefflerfoundation.com

 

Thank you to our valuable partners

Fayme
Youth Wellness Hub
Huron Community Family Health
Huron Perth Addiction and Mental Health

Meet the Team

TSF is a youth-centred organization. Following the direction set by youth in our community, our organization partners with mental health professionals and community organizations to affect meaningful change in Huron-Perth.

Youth Advisory Council

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Grace Bonnett (she/her)
Youth Advisor

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Julia DeJong (she/her)
Youth Advisor

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Megan den Dekker (she/her)
Secretary

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Karissa Eckert (she/her)
Social Media Executive

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Natalie Fear (she/her)
Co-Chair & Wellness Support Person

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Deidre Gerrits (she/her)
Youth Advisor

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Becky Higgs (she/her)
Wellness Support Person

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Carson Hymers (he/him)
Youth Advisor

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Skylarr MacDonald-Webster (she/her)
Co-Chair

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Teegan McGavin (she/her)
Social Media Executive

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Kaylie Monden (she/her)
Youth Advisor

Jenna Peck

Jenna Peck (she/her)
Youth Advisor

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Alison Snell (she/her)
Co-Chair

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Charlee Steffler (she/her)
Youth Advisor

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Emily Upshall (she/her)
Co-Chair

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Nicki Van Bakel (she/her)
Social Media Executive

The Tanner Steffler Foundation is looking for 12 – 24 year old youth in Huron Perth County to join the Youth Advisory Council (YAC). The YAC is inclusive to all youth who reside in Huron Perth County with intersecting identities. There are members of the council who have lived experience and/or are obtaining education in mental health and addiction, furthermore, all of the members are passionate about being mental health and addictions advocates by advising TSF’s work in transforming youth mental health and addiction services in Huron County.

More About the Youth Advisory Council

The Guiding Principles of the YAC are as follows:
Nothing About Us, Without Us: support youth in participatory leadership from the axiom of “Nothing about us, without us”
Community Oriented: build a sense of community with authentic, brave, inclusive and equitable relationships
Shared Power: Value youth as active and skilled contributors to their wellness and valuable partners in mental health promotion
Transformation: strive for health equity and remove barriers that prevent access to mental health and substance use care
Anti-oppressive framework: develop anti-oppressive practices that encourage diversity and prioritize the needs and strengths of marginalized groups in service provisions
Youth-Led: advise the TSF on the ongoing mandates, communication and proposed services

Members meet for one hour bi-weekly in the evenings. There are members who invest more time outside of the meetings in accordance with their scheduling capacity as TSF recognizes that youth lead busy lives balancing academics, employment, extracurriculars, social wellbeing and self-care. All members record their individualized hours that they put into the council to receive signed volunteer hours from TSF’s Executive Director, Shannon McGavin. TSF will also be of reference to them in their future career path as TSF is confident in all of their diverse professional and personal abilities, moreover, their ability to adhere to the YAC Psychologically Safe Space mandate. Additionally, the YAC receives honorarium. Honorarium is a core part of this council so as not to tokenize or exploit youth for sharing their expertise. TSF is very appreciative for our Youth Advisor’s time and energy in attending the meetings, sharing their perspective and showing up as mental health and addictions advocates.

Staff

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Shannon McGavin (she/her)
Executive Director

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Rachel Robinson (she/her)
Peer Support Activation Specialist

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Ali Wilson (she/her)
Youth Intake and Engagement Coordinator

Board of Directors

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Kelly Austin (she/her)
Vice President

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Shea Devore (she/her)
Treasurer

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Lorrie Goos (she/her)
Secretary

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Kim Haytor (she/her)
Director

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Phil Main (He/Him)
Director

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Jeff McGavin (he/him)
Director

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Heather Steffler (she/her)
Director and Founder

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John Steffler (he/him)
Board Chair and Founder