Meet Melissa, Our Girl Programs Summer Assistant!

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Melissa and I am a co-op student assisting with the girls program at the Women’s Centre. I am in my third year of Community Development with Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Acadia University. Social activism and environmental justice are my two main passions and I love to do anything that involves these issues. I am looking forward to being home in Calgary for the summer as it allows me to spend time with my two nephews and enjoy the beautiful rocky mountains! I enjoy hiking, biking, reading, and having good conversations over a cup of tea!

What is your personal definition of feminism?

To me, feminism is a movement, an identity and a way of life. It is the social, environmental, economical and political equity between genders, that recognizes intersectionality to include the diverse ways in which women encounter the world. As someone who identifies as a feminist, I tend to see the world through a gendered lens and do my best to take action whenever I can to support women and women’s issues.

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

I have wanted to volunteer and/or work at the Women’s Centre for several years now, and I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to do so through my co-operative education. The Women’s Centre is a place that I knew I could support wholeheartedly, as I hold the same values that are at the heart of everything the Centre does.

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

 I hope to learn the specific barriers that affect women in our community and how to better address them to enhance the lives of women in Calgary. Working at the Women’s Centre is a truly exciting opportunity for me and I cannot wait to learn from all the women and girls at the Centre.

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

It is very difficult to choose only one woman, as there have been so many amazing and influential women in my life. However, there is one woman who has come into my life recently whom I consider to be an important mentor for me. Her name is Mary Sweatman and she is one of my Community Development professors at Acadia. She teaches and works from a feminist and asset-based community development point of view. Therefore, she believes in the importance of grassroots development and having community members at the center of decision making. She does so much for her students and the community, taking extra care to ensure there are no barriers, to allow everyone to be included and have access to equal opportunities. I am so lucky to be able to learn from Mary and I try to apply her teachings and values to every community work that I do.

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