About Our Team
Islanders Helping Islanders is a non-profit organization aiming to raise funds through the sale of various products where 40% of gross sales will go towards the awareness of specific projects centered around mental health here on PEI.
We see a growing need for mental health services and a need to just share a laugh or a story with supportive friends. If you notice yourself or someone you know struggling please do not hesitate to contact someone on our team.
Don't suffer alone.
Melissa is a single mother of two beautiful girls kennedy and Reegan! She has devoted the last 18 years to being the best mother she possible could be raising girls on her own to becoming independent women and she believes she did a pretty incredible job! So now melissa is focused on her passion! Mental health, addictions and homelessness! It has always been her dream to own her own foundation with the ability to make a huge difference in the lives of those who struggle to see their purpose! She too has struggled finding her purpose, has endured pain, lived among addictions and mental health and knows everything is possible if you believe and you have someone in your corner. She has built a team of people that are willing to be the hand that is reaching to pull those struggling back up. She believes that there is no better time then now to all come together and be the change. We are stronger together! She is real, has a huge heart and her passion burns deep inside her. She looks forward to the journey of hope for islanders who need that helping hand.
My name is Michelle Rush. I am a mother of two amazing boys, Brodie and Keegan.
I am a screening officer at the Charlottetown Airport and also an entrepreneur. I recently launched my own Skincare line last Summer.
I decided to jump on board with Islanders helping Islanders when I read a need for extra help. I decided immediately that this was something I definitely wanted to be part of. This type of foundation is very near and dear to my heart for many reasons.
This is my story and, is the first time I have spoken about publicly. Not only do I have family members who deal with mental health issues, I do as well. As a young teenager, I was in an abusive relationship for several years. Over these years I had developed depression which then turned into a severe eating disorder. Throughout those years I have had more hospital stays in PEI than I can even count. My hospital admissions also included Halifax and Guelph. All of these years later now age 42, I continue to struggle and fight with these issues. I now have more good days than bad and have learned how to cope and to live my own normal. I am very excited to be part of this team, it means so much to me.
Darren C. Blanchard
Director of Special Events/ Fundraising
With 30 plus years of entrepreneurial experience across industries such as Corporate Staffing/Recruitment, Clean Tech, and Green Energy, Darren brings a wealth of business knowledge to the table. He proved this as the award-winning C.E.O of Canadian startup NIMTech Inc. Frustrated with the way the corporate world works, Darren’s growing interest in health and wellness combined with losing well over 80 lbs helped drive his passion into the world of handcrafted sea salt production. He says he is not selling the sea salts, but rather educating people on healthy eating and good mental health practices. His passion for people and community is what feeds his never-ending push to change the path for individuals battling mental health issues on Prince Edward Island. That along with his past battle with mental health as well as losing a friend and associate to suicide keeps him focused and driven to be the change. He is driven to be a “new age millionaire” …and bring positive change to 1 million lives. Islanders Helping Islanders is the vehicle to help make this happen.
Dr. Antonio Bolufe-Rohler
Director of Technology & Member Services
Dr. Antonio Bolufe-Rohler is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Prince Edward Island. He specializes in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Optimization. Antonio obtained his undergraduate degree in Computer Science (2007), and Masters (2010) and PhD (2015) in Mathematics from University of Havana. Antonio was the elected vice-president of the Cuban Society for Mathematics and Computer Sciences and the chair of the Department of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Havana until he moved to Canada in 2018.
Antonio is the author or coauthor of more than 50 papers in international refereed journals and conferences. His current research focus is in deep learning and its application to a variety of problems. Antonio is also a passionate teacher who uses his positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage his students to work hard and succeed. He also enjoys sport activities such as running, dancing and biking.