The Next 125 Ambassador, Dr. Kim van der Woerd
What is your favourite thing about the YWCA? What area of the organization’s work is most important to you?
I have so many favourite things about the YWCA! Having served on the Board for six years, I’m so impressed and inspired by the team that they have created with a shared commitment to their vision and mission. Personally, the work that they do that is most important to me is the work around reconciliation and amplifying the ongoing need to speak up and speak out on issues that continue to target Indigenous women and families.
What drew you in to the YWCA?
My first connection was through the Inner Circle events (about 14 years ago) where the YWCA showcases their work and brings together supporters and new supporters to connect and talk about the issues that affect single moms and families. We went to a breakfast Inner Circle event and joined right away - we were profoundly impressed with how the YWCA delivers services and thinks deeply about making a difference.
What value does the YWCA hold for future generations?
It would be my dream that the YWCA worked themselves out of existence and that we achieved equality, and more importantly, equity for women and families. The YWCA has the opportunity to be reflexive on how they continue their advocacy and services that undoubtedly will continue to have meaningful impacts for women and families.
Why are you committed to The Next 125 and what does involvement in this initiative mean to you?
When it comes to women's equality and equity, clearly there is a lot of work still to do. Thinking about the inception of the YWCA and how it grew up in Canada’s colonial history, and its position; how the organization is reflecting on its growth over time and how it will position itself into the future is essential. The Next 125 is a reflective, but also action-oriented opportunity to take stock and situate themselves to best serve our communities.
Why should others support the organization and the campaign? Why is it important to do that now?
One only needs to look at the news and think about current state of the world (e.g., gross income divide, systemic racism, a climate crisis) - as we endure this pandemic and see all of the inequities in society laid bare - we have a window right now to name the issues and work to redress the policies and practices that underlie our current state. This is an ideal time to find organizations and people who will form a groundswell to create the change we need.
To learn more about The Next 125, please visit: ywcavan.org/next-125