Meet Allison, Our New Basic Needs Coordinator

Tell us a bit about yourself!

Well, I’m Allison and I am one of the new Basic Needs Coordinators in the Centre! I started mid-August, and so if you’ve been in the Centre lately you’ve probably seen me around! I have a background in Addiction and Community Support, with a passion for supporting others to bring down barriers, or by bringing them a cup of coffee! For the last three years, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great organizations providing youth programming and supporting those seeking employment. I’ve been a feminist for as long as I can remember. I love having movie marathons (especially cheesy 80s flicks!), and spending time with my loved ones.

What is your personal definition of feminism?

My personal definition of feminism is quite broad, and constantly changing. I love to learn and for awhile now it’s been important to me to really check my own privilege when talking and learning about feminism. For me, feminism means being inclusive and having a strong understanding of intersectionality. It is not for me to raise my own voice, but to be a an ally to support the voices of the women around me.

What brought you to the Women’s Centre of Calgary?

I’ve been interested in the Women’s Centre since about 2015, when I first drove by the building, and with such a feminist focus in my everyday it immediately piqued my interest. Throughout my education and employment I kept my eye on the Women’s Centre, and with everything I was reading and learning through the website and word of mouth in the community, it became the place I wanted to work the most. Having the opportunity to support women in my own community is something that really excites me.

What’s the one thing you hope to learn at the Women’s Centre?

It’s a fairly common answer, but what I hope to learn the most is more about the Community Capacity Building Peer Model. Especially during the pandemic, the need for community is that much more important in building relationships and accessing supports. I’m excited for that!

Describe a woman who you admire or who has influenced your life?

The hard part of this question is the fact that I’m grateful to be surrounded by amazing women everyday. Specifically though, I would say that my mom is the woman who has influenced my life the most. The word “can’t” was never a word she used, especially when it came to my sister and I. We were always encouraged to work hard and push against the barriers put in front of us. The song “I am woman, hear me roar” was played constantly growing up. Having a mom who had a feminist viewpoint opened doors and provided a safe space for me to believe in myself and grow into my own feminism.

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