I joined the board of directors at Monica Place a little over four years ago - wanting to deepen my involvement in the community and choosing to work with this incredible organization because I believe in what they are doing. Supporting young women in their independence during a time that can be scary and overwhelming for all of us; pregnancy and early parenting.
I was a young mom myself. I was confronted with medical challenges that left me with the 'now or never' option where motherhood was concerned.
My game-changer? I grew up in a household full of love; I had incredibly supportive parents - my mom is still one of my biggest supports to this day, and my father's memory drives so much of my ambition. We know this is not always the case for all women who find themselves pregnant and/or parenting at a young age. With over 50 years of service within the Waterloo Region Community, Monica Place has stood out as an innovative centre that motivates, educates, nurtures, and empowers pregnant or parenting youth to make healthy choices for themselves and their children.
Part of my involvement with Monica Place and within the community is engaging with the young women – listening to them speak and share about their traumas and, in turn, sharing some of my own.
I recently connected with a group of ladies and told them my story of rape, fear, hurt, but also of resiliency - of what came after, my journey back to myself. It's the same story I will be sharing with you here. Through a series of small introductions and culminating in a larger blog piece.
When I'd finished sharing, I noticed a young woman with tears streaming down her cheeks 'you're like superwoman,' she said.
"When I needed a hero, I became my own." This is my mantra. It is the quote that has shaped my journey from victim to 'superwoman.'
I told the young woman that she TOO was a superhero in her own right, I shared this quote with her, and I encouraged her to be the hero she needs for herself.
It is one of the greatest privileges of my career to act as the President Board of Directors for Monica Place. And if I didn't tell you about them ... I wouldn't be able to tell you about me. Because sadly, what my story serves to prove is that none of us are without our hurts, our traumas, our challenges.
But more than that, what this story serves to prove is that with a great deal work, a lot of heart, and the right people in your corner - any of us can prevail against the darkness. Perhaps even going so far as to spread a little light in our wake.
I hope you will stay tuned for the rest of this series - the first in a journey that will provide further insight into my story, the work I do and why it is so important to me, and the changes I've seen both personally and with my clients!