July 08, 2015
Somewhere New, Somewhere Old
Author: Vicky Chen
I never really knew where I would end up for my co-op position. As an aspiring teacher, I was open to all possibilities, but meeting new people and listening to what they had to say was at the core of what I wanted to do.
Flash forward a month, and I’m now a summer student at Surrey Women’s Centre, working on fundraising.
To be honest, I didn’t have a clear idea of what working at a women’s centre was like. My mind had this picture drawn up for me: lots of “coffee-couch” therapy and “hand-holding.” Things that a lot of people in society think to be true. But it really isn’t like that at all. I think a lot of people are reluctant to find resources in the community because they are lead to believe these types of misconceptions. It’s not about telling women what they should do - they get enough of that from society. It’s about choice, and how we will support what they choose to do.
A big part of my job this summer is to make others think twice about these misconceptions. Whether it’s through social media, or online campaigning, I want to show what the media often leaves out. There are painful stories, successful stories - but there are all sorts of stories in between: the healing process, where we come in, and how others around us are making an impact in their own unique ways. I want people to see how each and every piece paints a different part of the picture.
There’s no “coffee-couch” therapy and “hand-holding”, but there’s still plenty of warmth to be found in the people and environment here. From Carmina, our Resource Worker, who flashes me a smile that puts the sun to shame when I walk through the door every morning; from my Fund Development teammates, Sarah and Selenna, whose laughter fuels me through even the rainiest of days; from Sonya, my supervisor, who has a spirit forged from the brightest of flames; and from each and every woman I have met here so far.
I’m still learning the ropes, of course - what to do, what I can do, but...it’s funny. I’ve only been here for a few short weeks, and yet, it kind of feels like I’m with an old friend. The kind you lapse into comfort and plan new adventures with. The kind you never really want to leave.
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