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 2019 Nominees:

Tracey Arnish

In my role, I see firsthand the importance of education on the overall well-being and future of women and families. I choose to support early learning and child care as young mothers are able to achieve self-reliance and independence by having the opportunity to complete high school as without this support they would not be able to stay in school and graduate.   

Shelina Babul

Concussions can be caused by blunt force trauma or violent shaking. As a specialist in concussion research, treatment and management, I constantly hear from those whose lives are changed due to this invisible injury. I support the YWCA in preventing violence against women through the development of the Concussion Awareness Training Tool for survivors and those at risk of concussion.

Tanvi Bhatia

From my involvement in youth-driven initiatives as both a youth and an ally, I’ve come to learn that youth are not just the future, but are very much the leaders of today. I choose to support providing healthy choices for youth because the YWCA offers young people the support and room necessary to build confidence and contribute to their communities.

Jessica Bouchard

I choose to support healthy choices for youth because I have witnessed, in my case in the cultural sector, how opportunities for young people to channel their energy in healthy, positive directions grows engaged, impassioned humans. I’m proud to support the YWCA in this work.

Shelley Brown

As a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, I believe that women can only contribute to society if they are living in safe and supported communities. I choose to support preventing violence against women and at YWCA Munro house women and children are provided a nurturing environment where they can safely rebuild their lives and prepare for a return to the community.

Sonia Butterworth

Caring for our children, nurturing the future. I have the privilege of caring for children and families as well as educating the surgical leaders of tomorrow. YWCA’s early learning and child care program resonates strongly with me as it serves to optimize the well-being and education of our most precious while supporting parents and society.

Nicole Byres

As a feminist, I have come to understand how unconscious bias prevents women, LGBTQ+, and other racialized groups from thriving and reaching their true potential.  I choose to support the YWCA Vancouver’s healthy choices for youth programs because they empower youth to demand a world where individuals are not limited by stereotypes, and where diversity is supported and valued.  

Laura Byspalko

Women go to incredible lengths to shape and secure our children’s futures. It’s important for us to know that our children are safe and cared for while we gain an education or contribute to the economy through our work. YWCA Vancouver’s early learning and child care programs grab my heart and my brain. This is what the word ‘nurture’ really means.

Dana Claxton

In addition to being a professor in the classroom, I mentor indigenous youth and adults to reconsider school and to get training in their field of choice. I believe education can alleviate poverty and have a lasting generational impact. Reducing child poverty can be accomplished through education, whether the trades, diploma or degree programs, as well as additional services for families in need. 

Nurjehan (Jane) Devji

It has long been my dream to work with families and children from impoverished communities to establish a self-sustaining infrastructure that helps in reducing child poverty. Through my work with The Devji Foundation, I hope to build international relief programs that focus on fostering and enriching opportunities for these communities that provide access to clean water, housing, education, and health care. 

Carolyn Cross

I have three young adult children and have been concerned by the increasing stresses and challenges youth face today, bombarded by social media influences that are often less than positive. I choose to support healthy choices for youth as I value the work YWCA Vancouver has been doing; providing support, opportunities, and positive role models to youth in our communities.   

Carey Dillen          

I believe it’s incredibly important to support and empower our next generation of leaders. Through my work, I’ve seen firsthand the impact the right programs and mentorship can have on healthy choices for youth. I remain committed to gender equity, advocating for girls and women and providing opportunities to underprivileged youth, including access to sport and inspiring healthy living.

Sheila Early

As a forensic nurse and educator for 27 years, caring for victims of violence, abuse, and trauma, I’ve seen that aftercare and resources for women and youth are paramount in their return to secure and productive lives. YWCA's preventing violence against women program meets these needs and I fully support all their current and future initiatives.

Allison Eddy

Children first should define our society. Shockingly, the 2018 UNICEF Child and Youth Report rank Canada 25 among the world’s 41 richest nations! We must do a much better job of nourishing the body, mind and spirit from early life! As a lifelong academic pediatrician, I support early learning and child care, offering hope and providing the skills towards better lives.   

Lynda Edmonds

As a social worker and the CEO of Fraserside Community Services Society, I believe communities of belonging help all of us cope with the challenges of life. We belong when we have a home. I choose to support safe and affordable housing because YWCA Metro Vancouver provides housing communities for single moms and their children who are at risk of homelessness.

Bethany Edmunds

One of my biggest fears for society is that while technology is enabling communication and participation for some groups, it is also silencing and marginalizing others.  The socio-economic divide is getting greater which is why I support the YWCA’s efforts aimed at reducing child poverty. They provide supports to children and better enable social mobility in our communities.

Connie Fair

I choose to support early learning and childcare because I remember worrying about the financial burden and quality of care my own children received when I returned to work.  Through its four licensed centres, the YWCA is providing parents with quality affordable options for their infants, toddlers and pre-school children to ensure they get a great start in life.

Fiona Famulak

A safe and stable home is part of life’s foundation. The construction industry is no stranger to building affordable housing to meet the social needs of our communities. I also want to contribute. I, therefore, choose to support the YWCA initiatives that provide safe and affordable housing and support for single moms and transitional housing for families in need.

Joyce Fossella

As an advocate for women that experience violence and abuse, I support programs and services that make a difference in their lives enabling them to move ahead to a life free of violence. My own personal experience has compelled me to do the work I do in preventing violence against women.

Ashley Freeborn

As a company designed by women, for women, and focused on uplifting and supporting women, I choose to support the YWCA in preventing violence against women. Championing the YWCA in their efforts to provide women and children who are victims of domestic abuse with a safe environment to rebuild their lives is aligned with our mission to celebrate and honour all women.

Bianca Fusco Zanatta

As a philanthropist who focuses on “families helping children," I am honoured to support the early learning and child care program because YWCA Vancouver believes the importance of quality care for children at an early age. Our “Reach for Outer Space Reading Corners" volunteers aim to spread joy and inspire connections by filling empty bookshelves and creating cozy places for Canada’s most vulnerable young communities.

Anna Godefrey

Through my work with Binners' Project, I see firsthand the disastrous effect on our members when they have nowhere to live. When someone loses their home, it has a terrible impact on their spirit, confidence, ability to come to work clean and on-time, and for women to break free from abusive relationships. That's why I support the safe and affordable housing program.

Michelle Grant

As a working mother in a male-dominated field, access to reliable childcare is very important to me. To fix the gender imbalance in my industry and many others we need to support YWCA's early learning and childcare program. We need to keep more women in the workforce.

Genesa Greening

As an advocate who has worked in inner-city Oakland, California, the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and in Bulembu, Swaziland, I have seen how an investment in preventing violence against women can truly change the lives of those women, their families, and their communities.  It’s a generational investment that I am grateful is at the center of the YWCA’s great work.

Lauren Hornor

Swimmable, drinkable, fishable water is necessary for the things people value most in life — family, friendship, culture, freedom and opportunity. YWCA’s healthy choices for youth program helps build confidence and restore connections. By helping youth consider their own personal connection to water, we can help youth become more informed and engaged. Because when water is protected, communities can prosper.

Lisa Hubbard

In my time of 28 years, I have helped and grown childcare spaces from 87 spaces to 312 serving all ages 0-18. It is my role and commitment to ensure that everyone is treated with respect. I work to ensure that early learning and child care is accessible, affordable, quality and is for the benefit of all ages, particularly the most vulnerable.

Precious Ile

I've experienced firsthand the life-changing impact of positive role models, mentors and a caring community of friends and family. The YWCA's work in fostering healthy choices for youth aligns with my belief that youths, given the necessary skills and support, can succeed through life transitions and be change makers in our communities. Your vote can inspire healthy choices now.

Cathy Imrie

As one of four children of a single mother, I was very fortunate that she had a professional education that enabled her to provide a home for us. Many others are not in this situation. I choose to support reducing child poverty because of the critical intervention that the YWCA provides to women and their children.

Ninu Kang

While working to enhance women’s safety for over 25 years, I have observed women face increased poverty when leaving violent relationships. Sometimes, short-term transition housing is not enough. I support preventing violence against women because the YWCA Vancouver runs Canada’s first second-stage transition house, which has given thousands of women additional time and a safe place to rebuild their lives.

Ingrid Kastens

PCRS has a proud history of housing advocacy and action. A rich nation like ours has no excuse for homelessness. Standing side by side with the excellent work of the YWCA to create safe and affordable housing for women and children, I/PCRS/YWCA continue to work to end homelessness. Housing those at risk of homelessness creates safe, thriving communities for all.

Zeba Khan

As an advocate for access to quality healthcare for all, I learned that living in poverty has a particularly adverse effect on the physical and mental health of children. I chose to support YWCA’s programs to reducing child poverty as I believe that YWCA’s holistic approach helps children living in the Downtown Eastside break the cycle of poor health and poverty.

Shelby Kitt

There are currently nearly 700 homeless youth living in Metro Vancouver. Having worked as a high-risk youth worker, I recognize the importance of advocating for vulnerable young people who face significant challenges. Children can’t do it alone. I support YWCA Vancouver’s reducing child poverty initiative, after watching young people fall through the cracks of our often-overwhelmed system.

Mo Korchinski

As an advocate for women who are caught up in addiction, crime and prison, I know firsthand what it’s like to be released with nothing but a bus ticket and no place to go. I choose to support safe and affordable housing because YWCA Vancouver provides transitional housing for women with addiction issues.  

Suzanne Lewis

As a pediatrician specialized in childhood development and a long-standing autism community advocate, I applaud and support YWCA Vancouver’s initiative in providing affordable access to enriching, high-quality early learning and child care (ELCC). ELCC promotes the essential social, emotional, behavioural, learning and health determinants for optimal child development that support each child reaching their fullest potential, and positive lifelong benefits.

Careesa Liu

As a founder and director of the student training program SCORE, I see first hand the importance of education in helping youth build successful and productive lives. I support the reducing child poverty initiative because the YWCA is working to help the most vulnerable youth enter the educational system so they can develop the skills needed for a better future.

Patti MacAhonic

As a strong feminist and proponent of women’s rights who perseveres in empowering women to find their voices and creating safe spaces for women at risk of violence, I support YWCA Vancouver’s preventing violence against women. Not since the suffrage movement led by indomitable, courageous women have we struggled with the political trends against women’s rights, together we fight on!

Doreen Manuel

With my extensive experience developing educational models for innovative cross-cultural learning and community development, I know that healthy communities begin with strong families. I choose to support preventing violence against women because YWCA Vancouver provides a safe refuge where women can develop skills to lead their families to wellness and self-sufficiency.

Anna Mathewson

As a parent, I know the importance of early learning and child care, particularly the need for affordable and high-quality childcare as provided by the YWCA Vancouver’s licensed childcare centres. As a parent of a child with disabilities, I know it is also critical that these programs provide spaces and additional support to allow for the successful inclusion of all children.

Kristi Miller

As a mother of three, business person and former Chair of the BC Provincial Child Care Council, I understand the importance and value of quality, accessible child care. I believe passionately that early learning and child care is the most impactful investment that we, as a society, can make.

Christine Mohr

The work of the YWCA speaks to my heart and makes such good sense. I choose to support the YWCA's effort to provide safe, affordable housing because without it people do not have a foundation on which to build their lives and to achieve their aspirations. Everyone deserves a home.

Shawna Narayan

As an advocate for youth, I see first-hand the challenges inner-city students have such as accessing mentors that they identify with. As a former high school facilitator with YWCA’s That’s Just Me program, I understand how they support youth through mentorship and leadership building. Youth will become our future leaders. As such, I choose to support healthy choices for youth.

Heidi Oetter

I learned the importance of a good education from my mother who believed that if you could read, you could do anything. Through continued learning, women can achieve self-determination and better health. And so, I choose to support early learning and child care to help young moms, as well as their children, realize their full potential, and lead healthy lives.

Rochelle Prasad

As a youth empowerment advocate, and community engagement worker, I know how vital it is to make sure the next generation has access to education, and to mentorship. By providing support to the next generation, we will be more likely to build sustainable communities. That is why I am supporting healthy choices for youth. A program that supports the next generation. 

Alona Puehse        

Current social structures still present an uneven playing field for many women when it comes to workplace and career success – this has a direct impact on one’s ability to become self-reliant and financially independent. Increasing access to quality and affordable early learning and childcare like the YWCA’s facilities plays an essential role in providing choices, rather than obstacles, to women’s career development.

Anicka Quin

As the editor of Vancouver magazine, I read and write stories daily about how our housing crisis is one of the greatest issues to face this city. I choose to support safe and affordable housing because YWCA Vancouver recognizes that women at risk are particularly vulnerable to finding stable housing.

Clair Sakaki

I see firsthand how arts education activities benefit young people. Their confidence grows along with their creativity and collaboration skills, and they gain a sense of belonging. The goals of YWCA’s healthy choices for youth programs are similar to our education opportunities at Bard: they encourage cognitive, emotional and social development as they literally and figuratively give youth a greater voice.

Tanis Sawkins

As an educator, I’ve set up partnerships to provide quality, affordable and convenient childcare for women who face barriers to attending our programs. The YWCA has long advocated for the best start for children and better futures for women and their families – a vision I share - which is why I choose to support early learning and child care.

Lisa Southern

All women deserve safe environments where they can thrive – at home, school, and work.  I am proud to support preventing violence against women for this award.  An important aspect of our legal practice is the safety of women at work or school.  The YWCA’s programs raise awareness and provide much-needed services to women leaving abusive relationships.

Sheryl Staub-French

As an educator of the next generation of engineers, I want to ensure that all youth have equal access to the STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. I support healthy choices for youth because YWCA is working to ensure that Grade 7 girls and boys have the support, skills and role models they need to successfully transition from elementary to high school.

Marie Thom

I have chosen to support early learning and child care because I recognize the incredible potential of each child. The YWCA provides support, services, and affordable childcare to ensure that children, families and young mothers have opportunities to lead fulfilling lives. As a teacher and early learning consultant, I see the positive impact that early learning experiences have on children.

Kelly Tweeddale

As a music advocate and educator, I know the greatest advantage we can give a child is through nurturing early brain development and bonding. I support YWCA Vancouver’s early learning and child care programs as a shining example of how to build self-esteem, economic equity, and social and emotional competence not only for today but for our collective future.

Jennifer Twiner McCarron

As a mother, and the CEO of Thunderbird Entertainment, I feel a heightened obligation to ensure we produce content that inspires and educates young people to make positive choices. That’s why I wholeheartedly support the YWCA’s healthy choices for youth programs because there is nothing more important than empowering our children to be the best they can be.

Camara van Breemen

Reducing child poverty is meaningful for my work because children with serious illnesses in low-income families may be less likely to receive optimal palliative care. It is more difficult for these families to advocate for and receive support. It is well recognized that reducing poverty improves health. However, reducing poverty can also reduce pain and suffering while living and during dying.

Marianne Vidler

I choose to support preventing violence against women because the YWCA Metro Vancouver is doing critical work to improve the lives of women. This is particularly near and dear to my heart as up to 28% of pregnant women experience intimate partner violence. The health and wellbeing of our community relies upon our ability to address this fundamental inequity.

Cheryl Wellington

Approximately 70% of women who experience intimate partner violence experience traumatic brain injury and concussion, which may lead to long-term consequences similar to football players, hockey players and boxers. Although sports concussions have considerable research activity, there is comparatively little focus on women who have experienced intimate partner violence. I am committed to research in this important area and support preventing violence against women.

Jennifer Wildi

I choose to support healthy choices for youth – the YWCA provides programs to promote health and confidence in young people; goals that align closely with my own involvements. Having worked with children and youth as a Reading Bear Society coordinator and para-nordic ski coach, among other roles, I strongly believe in the importance of supporting youth’s health and wellbeing.

Penny Wilson

1.2 million children are currently living in poverty in Canada, that is 17% of all Canadian children, and you only have to walk through Vancouver's downtown eastside to see evidence of this. As the mother of two (now grown) boys I am passionate about reducing child poverty, and truly believe everyone deserves the same start in life.

Colleen Yee

With over 25 years in policing, having been a detective and supervisor in Sex Crimes and the Domestic Violence Unit, empowering women to take ownership of their personal safety has become my mission. I’m supporting preventing violence against women because YWCA Vancouver is helping raise awareness and providing direct services for women to liberate themselves from violence.