This feature highlights one of many women who make a difference in the community, put on by ACAWS and the Alberni Valley News as part of the 16 Days of Activism.
I was born and raised in Port Alberni. Like most people, I left to go to school. I came back to Port after graduation, got married and raised my family. I am the Community School Coordinator for the Alberni Valley Community School Society and have been for almost 20 years. I also coordinate the ADSS Wellness Centre at the high school. I love what I do. I love working with the youth and staff at the high school and feel like I am doing some of the best work of my life.
I am a connector. I connect people with people, places and things. People often tell me, “I knew if anyone would know, you would or you would know someone who does.” My work at the high school gives me many opportunities to help people make connections that can make a difference.
I know there are issues of gender equality but when I do what I do – I don’t use gender as a judgment. I was raised by strong people who taught me when you see a gap – fill it; when you see a problem – try to help. They taught me the value of a smile, the value of listening and the value of fighting for what you believe. They also taught me that fighting for something does not have to be loud and obnoxious; that actions speak louder than words; that you can lead by example. And that is how I work toward gender equality. I work with “people.” And I put those people in very few boxes.
There really isn’t anything in particular to tell you. On any given day – I am there. I make sure they get dry socks when their feet are wet. That there are pencils, pens and calculators when they go to tutorials. I smile and say hi when I see them in the morning. I am a welcoming face when they come to the Wellness Centre. I answer their questions. I ask them questions. I listen to their answers.
Any deeper than that I can’t tell you … because those stories are not my stories to tell. I do what I do because I know it will make a difference in the lives of kids, but I am one of many that make a difference for kids. And it’s their story to tell, not ours.