Connecting the Community Award Quotes

Help raise $10,000 for a great cause simply by voting for the YWCA Women of Distinction’s Connecting the Community Award!

Connecting the Community Award quotes from our 2020 nominees:

Barbara Aidelbaum

My passion is supporting healthy choices for youth. I co-founded HEROS (Hockey Education Reaching Out Society) 20 years ago. HEROS and the Y’s programs Welcome to My Life and Boys 4 Real promote healthy development in a supportive environment. The fun after-school programs have a positive impact on girls and boys and encourage positive behaviour and healthy choices.

Aisha Amijee

As the founder and executive director of Voices of Muslim Women Foundation, I have experienced the transformative shift in a community when we inspire and educate our youth to be confident leaders. I choose to support healthy choices for youth because YWCA Vancouver is creating spaces for young people to create lasting and meaningful change in our communities.

Bridgitte Anderson

We are in the midst of a housing crisis in Vancouver which impacts our economy and our broader community. The YWCA provides safe and affordable housing for women in need, a key to building strong and healthy communities, allowing people and families to thrive. 

Sonia Andhi Bilkhu

As the founder of Shakti Awards, which celebrate the strength and resilience of women, I support preventing violence against women because this violence goes beyond intimate relationships. The impact of violence is not just on women, but their children, their families and society. We all deserve to live in peace and safety. Let us pledge to end violence against women.

Caroline Andrewes

As an engineer, I am obligated to “hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public”, which to me means a commitment to ensuring our community has fair access to basic needs like safe shelter and sanitation. I choose to support the YWCA in providing safe and affordable housing to vulnerable members of our community. 

Beth Applewhite

As an Anti-Racist Educator, I witness the discrimination students face daily.  I support healthy choices for youth because I am determined to make school communities more equitable by helping students safely talk about race and identity in ways that build bridges of understanding.  Youth need more tools and strategies to help them illuminate their concerns, celebrate their identities, and advocate for change.

Antonia Beck

As an active community organizer and mother of three, I have known firsthand how important having quality and affordable childcare in place is for women juggling family responsibilities and professional careers. For this reason, I choose to support early learning and care so that the young mothers and their children can be supported and have a chance to succeed.

Debbie Bell

The Mothers Matter Centre is dedicated to supporting socially excluded mothers in their role as their child's first and best teacher, ensuring their children's success in school and beyond. YWCA Vancouver has recognized the importance of early learning and care to ensure that children successfully enter the education system, develop essential life skills and eventually break the cycle of poor health and poverty.

Mebrat Beyene

As someone who works in solidarity with women in street-based sex work, I see the impact homelessness and precarious housing has on women.  I choose to support safe and affordable housing because it provides women a critical opportunity to stabilize their lives, to increase their ability to advocate for themselves and their families, and to dramatically improve their health and safety.

Joelle Bradley

As an RCH physician advocate of wellness, who is deeply committed to the development of community, collegiality and co-creation, I endorse healthy choices for youth.  This Vancouver YWCA program helps youth navigate change at a vulnerable time in their development, connecting them and encouraging respect amongst one another. Thriving, connected youth are full of potential to affect positive social change. 

Marion Buller

From my work in courts and the National Inquiry, I know it takes great courage for a woman to leave an abusive relationship. I support the YWCA Vancouver’s Housing Communities, because they provide not only safe and affordable housing for women and their children in dire need, but they also provide places for hearts, minds and spirits to thrive.

Theresa Burley

A key focus of my work is structural strategies, interventions, and policies that address and prevent inequities. Preventing violence against women is a key societal issue that requires structural interventions to fight against the negative impacts of patriarchal systems that drive this violence. 

Angela Calla

Homelessness is a large fear for many women who are looking to escape abusive relationships or have addiction issues.  Safe and affordable housing is a valuable asset in our fight to provide a secure environment to help support families while I look to educate them on mortgages so they may eventually invest in their own homes.

Beth Carter

In my curatorial career, I work closely with women and artists in the Indigenous community to share stories of strength and resilience in the face of adversity. I choose to support preventing violence against women because YWCA Vancouver is raising awareness and providing services to counteract intergenerational trauma caused by colonial legacies and historical oppression. 

Amiee Chan

Women are underrepresented in many facets of public life, especially in government and business leadership roles. As an executive in still-male-dominated fields of science and technology, creating more opportunities for women is especially important to me. Preventing violence against women isn’t just a women issue. The protection and empowerment of women is an indispensable step in creating an inclusive and prosperous society for all.

Karen Cheung

As a biomedical engineering professor, I see how eager our students are to gain the skills they will use to transform lives in emerging areas of medicine. I choose to support early learning and care because childhood science and engineering education is essential to give young children the fun, engaging activities that empower them to see themselves as problem solvers.

Chastity Davis

I choose to support preventing violence against women because I have dedicated the last decade of my life educating government, industry, and the general public on the disproportionately high rates of violence that Indigenous women face in our country and providing tangible solutions to increase the safety, health, and wellness for Indigenous women.

Courtney Daws

Through my work with Indigenous communities, I see how the impacts of colonialism have resulted in a cycle of poverty for many Indigenous families. Part of our collective reconciliation work must include efforts to alleviate this poverty. The work that YWCA Vancouver does to support families in the Downtown Eastside is critical to reducing child poverty and breaking this cycle.

Danica Djurkovic

As a city builder and architect, I was privileged to contribute in securing many affordable homes for the people of Vancouver. Housing is basic human right, and as a society, we need to do better. I invite you all to support YWCA program for safe and affordable housing that is making a real difference for the families of Vancouver.

Thalia Field

Housing is essential to successful healthcare. Amongst the YWCA’s excellent initiatives, I identify most with their emphasis on safe and affordable housing for women and their families. At my Downtown Eastside outreach clinic, I see firsthand the advantages that stable, low-barrier housing confers for individuals rebuilding safe, independent lives in the face of addictions, intimate partner violence, and other challenges.

Teara Fraser

In the tough times, I’ve learned you need two things to survive - a purpose and a sanctuary.  I support safe and affordable housing so that women have a sanctuary when they need it most.  Housing is a sanctuary for single moms, women overcoming addiction, and families seeking safety.  The YWCA is supporting women to move beyond surviving to thriving.

Barbara Grantham

I believe that investing in our children, through funding for early learning and care programs is one of the best investments we can make as a society. These investments – both public and private – give children the best chance for a long and healthy life, and give all of us as citizens a powerful return on our investment. 

Genesa Greening

As a woman with first-hand experience in surviving violence, I am proud to lead an organization that invests in improving the health sector’s response to gender-based violence. At BCWHF, we share the YWCA’s commitment to preventing violence against women through our gender-based violence course. It focuses on understanding, identifying, and addressing the impacts of gender-based violence for health sector workers.

Melissa Higgs

As an architect designing recreation, library and arts facilities for communities across British Columbia, I see the incredible impact that inclusive and supportive spaces can have on young people. I choose to support healthy choices for youth because of the YWCA’s significant work to equip young individuals with the spaces, skills, and confidence to realize their full potential.

Anita Huberman

Affordability and accessibility to quality early learning and care are necessary for employees to perform at peak productivity, confident that their children are cared for in a safe, learning environment. I led the charge for the Surrey Board of Trade to advocate for childcare through an economic lens because I believe that the return on investment in childcare produces a richer economic environment.

Taylor Hui

As a leader in female empowerment dedicated to helping our next generation of women rise to their greatest potential, I support preventing violence against women. The YWCA Vancouver is building a more positive and safe environment for women and children in our communities, rebuilding their lives away from physically and emotionally abusive situations by offering Canada’s first second-stage transition house.

Elise Huisman

As a woman in the predominantly male field of engineering, I know that the struggle for equal opportunities is ongoing. Preventing and eliminating the threat of violence against women will help increase women’s options. I applaud YWCA Vancouver’s programs that help in preventing violence against women.

Joy Johnson

As a gender and health-focused researcher, I have seen ways that women—particularly indigenous, racialized and trans women—are vulnerable to systemic and personal acts of violence. We must do more to ensure that all women are safe and able to thrive. The YWCA plays a key role in preventing violence against women, providing housing for those escaping violence and seeking support.

Ella Jotie

Barre Fitness is a catalyst for positive change in the lives of many women, helping them to build strength from the inside out and inspiring a community of women that lift each other up. These values align with my support for the YWCA Munroe House, preventing violence against women and empowering them to rebuild their lives. 

Michelle Kwok

Having volunteered at Crabtree Corner in my youth, and eventually building out a charity to combat global poverty, I stand as an avid advocate for reducing child poverty. YWCA Vancouver does critical work in diminishing future inequities by intervening in key childhood developmental years. My company FLIK hopes to complement YWCA’s work through levelling the playing field for young women.

Karen Lai

As a person with a lived experience of having a disability, I have witnessed firsthand the challenge of accepting yourself and the perceptions of others on you during the transition years. Thus, I support the healthy choices for youth that the YWCA provides as instills confidence, mutual respect, and teamwork within youths, especially those living with disabilities.

Louisa Lam

Our youth are our future community leaders and it is the responsibility of this generation's leaders and role models to nurture the limitless potential they possess. I support healthy choices for youth, because of the invaluable support and mentorship they provide at their after-school programs for youth.

Lisa Langevin

The barriers I’ve faced as a woman in the skilled trades propelled me to partner with community organizations to deliver training on bullying, harassment, and how to speak up about violence against women in the trades. We need to break the silence. I passionately support the YWCA’s efforts in preventing violence against women and empowering women to rebuild their lives.

Elaine Leung

As a youth educator, I understand how challenging it is for young moms to afford child care so they can finish school. At the same time, having quality care is critical for the development of kids. I support YWCA Vancouver's programs to provide early learning and care to help young mothers create better futures for themselves and their kids.

Megan Levings

As a scientist working in the area of health research and a mother of two young boys, I know the importance of a healthy lifestyle - both physical and mental - on life-long health. I choose to support healthy choices for youth because YWCA Vancouver is working to build healthier and more confident young people.

Connie Linder

As an advocate for implementing sustainable solutions in the marketplace, I choose to support healthy choices for youth to offer solutions, leadership and hope to young people who are experiencing unprecedented stress and worry about their future. Through our platform and our Global Change Foundation, we align with YWCA Vancouver who work daily to improve the lives of youth.

Kim Lockhart

Everyone deserves a chance to have a great life. My experiences led to a deep understanding of, and passion for, the importance of policies, practices and programs that strengthen families and provide children with environments for healthy growth and development. I choose to support early learning and care as critical investments with measurable effects on lifelong health and well-being. 

Devinder Maan

Reducing child poverty by providing resources and support to families in need is a mission very close to my heart. I truly believe it is every child’s birthright to have their essential needs met and be given the opportunity to fulfill their full potential. We must all do our part, big or small, in ensuring this.

Christina Marcano

I grew up believing that I could do or be anything I wanted to be and as a female entrepreneur, I know first-hand the impact that this mindset had on me, personally and professionally. This is why I choose to support healthy choices for youth because having positive and supportive role models from a young age is invaluable.

Carol Mayer

I believe that YWCA’s work in providing safe and affordable housing for pregnant and new mums who are vulnerable and need help and support is so essential, and extremely well served by the YWCA Housing communities. It is hard to imagine what their lives might be without this stellar program. Well done YWCA! 

Rosalin Miles

As a First Nation advocate for promoting holistic health and wellness with our Indigenous communities I choose to support healthy choices for youth. I acknowledge the strength based approach of the Vancouver YWCA in providing services for our youth and their families. All Our Relations!

Janice Morris

For me, safe and affordable housing is a fundamental human right. Social justice begins with personal sovereignty—control over one’s safety, dignity, inclusion, and ability to co-exist within society, communities, and neighbourhoods. Without safe and affordable housing, every other marker of social justice and anti-oppression is vulnerable: one’s health, employment, access to resources, and personal agency and autonomy.

Brenda Morrison

Women and children are the backbones of our communities; yet, we are failing to meet their basic needs.  The stats are worse for Indigenous women and children, who are disproportionately represented - from homelessness to incarceration.  We need to work together to honour their inherent rights, dignity and worth.  When we support preventing violence against women, we hold everyone up.  Chén̓chenstway.

Wendy Mould

As a formal teacher of children with learning disabilities, I understand the importance of early intervention.  I know that with good preparation children will have a successful entry into the education system and a chance to break the cycle of poor health and poverty.  It is for this reason that I choose to support reducing child poverty.

Margaret Mubanda

As a social worker in the Ministry of Children and Family Development and as an active member of the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition Committee, I work closely with children and families faced with poverty.  I choose to support reducing child poverty because YWCA Vancouver has recognized the importance of early intervention to help break the cycle of poverty.

Cheryl Nelms

The need for diversity in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce persists. As a female engineer leading infrastructure and city building, I’ve seen firsthand that diverse voices and perspectives lead to innovative, livable communities. I support the safe and affordable housing initiative because a safe home allows youth to thrive, provides confidence, and empowers them to enter STEM fields.

Gaganjit Phulka

As a Registered Nurse and board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, I have seen first hand how a community can help young people reach their full potential by providing programs that promote healthy choices for youth. I support YWCA’s programs that through mentorship and support strive to build stronger and healthier youth that are able to reach their full potential.

Mary Point

As an Indigenous woman from matriarchal lineage, I support the YWCA’s preventing violence against women program. Gender violence is a nationwide issue — an issue that especially impacts Indigenous women in Canada.  This important YWCA program helps women and their children transition to a life of safety and independence.

Zahra Rasul

I chose to support the early learning and care programs that the YWCA offers.  As an educator, community activist, and longtime (past) volunteer at the YWCA, through the Tupper Young Parent Program, I have seen firsthand the impact of both quality early childhood and secondary education for children and teen mothers who benefit from the programs.

Carolyn Roberts 

Being an Indigenous woman, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Girls affects me personally. It is about my daughters, my sisters, my aunties, and my mother. I strongly believe in the YWCA’s programs for preventing violence against women. These programs help support Indigenous Women with the violence they live in on a daily basis.

Carmen Rodriguez

Having survived a brutal military coup in my native Chile, I am very aware of the particular kind of violence that women are subjected to in patriarchal, capitalist societies where power and profits trample human beings and their basic rights. Therefore, I support YWCA Vancouver's programs in preventing violence against women and help them to live with dignity and in peace.

Neelam Sahota

In Canada, one in five children continue to live in poverty.  Inequality and poverty are rooted in systemic discrimination and stratified along lines of Indigenous identity, race, gender, immigration status (or lack of), ability, and other social, cultural and economic factors.  As an advocate for vulnerable populations, I strongly support the YWCA’s accessible and holistic services in reducing child poverty.

Shirley Samjh-Dayal

No child should have to worry about food, clothing, or shelter ...ever! A stable childhood is the basis of a bright future and creates a contributing member of our community. It’s for this reason that I support reducing child poverty because the YWCA Vancouver prioritizes families struggling with basic needs and breaks the cycle of poverty through education and support.

Leonie Sandercock

As a community planner working with Indigenous communities, by far the saddest reality I have encountered is the epidemic of youth suicides – a result of the ongoing impacts of colonization, especially the intergenerational trauma of Residential Schools. I choose to support healthy choices for youth because it is crucial to offer hope by engaging with social and community issues.

Merideth Schutter

As a woman & mother of two daughters who has built her entire venture around protecting women & girls, I understand the immense bravery & support it takes to move forward, make change & rebuild. I support preventing violence against women because the YWCA is a leader in offering support, aid & awareness surrounding this Global issue facing females today.

Sharon Selby

As an Educator and Registered Clinical Counsellor, I’m passionate about decreasing the high rates of anxiety in children and teens.  I am choosing to support the YWCA early learning and care program to help single and/or teen mothers complete their high school education, by providing childcare to their kids, thus reducing angst in these vulnerable moms and children.

Madeleine Shaw

In 2014 I founded G Day, a registered charity and national event series that celebrates the transition between childhood and adolescence in tween girls, and includes parents and other supportive adults in their lives. G Day supports healthy choices for youth by creating a profound and unique lived experience of multi-generational community connection at a critical life phase.

Sussanne Skidmore

The YWCA’s focus on preventing violence against women resonates deeply for me as a labour leader and human rights activist. Whether through Be More Than a Bystander, or the campaign to provide paid leave for those experiencing domestic and sexual violence, I fight to make tangible changes to prevent gender-based violence in the workplace and beyond.

Jeska Slater

At Skookum Lab, we are using systems thinking to address Indigenous child and youth poverty.  I recognize the YWCA’s Crabtree Corner as being a critical program to reducing child poverty in a holistic, wrap-around model.  Please consider voting for Crabtree Corner as it has helped many families and provides a great working environment to Indigenous folks from the community.

Angela Sterritt

Preventing violence against women means addressing modern-day colonial violence. Trauma, violence, family fragmentation and poverty are side effects of historical and current colonization experienced by hundreds of Indigenous women, which in turn affects all members of our society. Only when we see the least valuable members of our society, namely Indigenous women and girls honoured, will this violence be addressed.

Tina Strehlke

This year of climate change activism has shown us the power and passion of youth. I choose to support healthy choices for youth because YWCA Vancouver is investing in the skills and capacity of young leaders through programs like, Welcome to My Life and Boys 4 Real.

Katheren Szabo

We are all called upon to be community leaders, locally & globally! With care, compassion, solidarity and action we can work on preventing violence against women. So many - too many - of us have survived violence. Our living example of health, balance & overcoming is needed badly by younger women following in our steps! Let us light the path in 2020!

Jill Tipping

As an advocate for the technology sector, Jill Tipping is innovating how educators can bring the opportunities of science and technology to their students. By encouraging students to pursue education and experiences in STEAM fields, Jill Tipping advocates for healthy choices for youth by ensuring that all youth, but particularly young women, engage with technology and all the opportunities it brings.

Lisa Upton

Now in its seventh year, 44Dresses invites grade 7 students to choose a special outfit for their June Farewell event. 44Dresses promotes healthy choices for youth by encouraging them to reflect on personal strengths and accomplishments, as well as celebrate their ability to overcome adversity in order to reach this milestone ‘end of elementary school’ moment. 44Dresses is an LBGTQ+ friendly event.

Christin Wiedemann

Gender-based violence is a prevalent issue in our society, and every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her partner. Whether we are aware of it or not, we all know someone who is affected. That is why programs like YWCA Vancouver’s preventing violence against women are so important, raising awareness, and providing support to women fleeing violence. 

Kory Wilson

As a lawyer and an educator, I know the way out of poverty and preventing violence against women is through education.  Knowledge is power. It cannot be taken away. Hands up to the YWCA for all that they do to provide support, training and services to give women new skills and confidence to move towards self-sufficiency and happier days.

Lisa Wolfin

Women who live with physical or verbal violence, become prisoners of their own minds.  By offering a ‘Safe Zone', the YWCA's preventing violence against women program emanates a ray of hope that beams love into their hearts and helps heals women from the inside out, giving them the helping hand they need to rebuild their lives on a strong foundation. 

Christina Wong

As a passionate community advocate for residents experiencing homelessness in our Downtown Eastside Community, I often collaborate with residents who actively look for long-term support that will help them build financial stability for their children. I choose to support YWCA’s efforts on reducing child poverty because it will help give children access to the opportunities that they deserve.