Working in Rosie’s Place’s Self-Advocacy department has been an incredible opportunity. As an International Studies major, I always assumed I wanted to work for an international non-profit or for the government in an international role. Rosie’s Place has expanded my interests and most likely changed the direction of my career path. While my goals of public service remain, I will likely focus on issues closer to home. Furthermore, I have a better understanding of the variety of specialties that are needed in a medium-sized non-profit and realize the importance of all roles from direct-service to development.
Over the course of the past two months, I have repeatedly learned the importance of empowerment for women of all walks of life. One memory that will stick with me is a moment that occurred during a leadership and public speaking development class. One guest was particularly timid and soft-spoken. During an exercise when the women were asked to stand and state their name, this particular guest barely whispered her name. The instructor asked the guest to project louder but the guest continued to speak in a reserved voice. The instructor then asked the guest to shout her name. What seemed like a simple request, to shout one’s name, proved to be too much for this guest and tears started rolling down her cheeks. However, the room was filled with supportive guests and staff, and with a slight shake in her voice, the guest shouted her name for all to hear. What I learned from this is that we all start in different places on our individual journeys to self-empowerment. The first step is owning ourself, our name, and our identity and from there we can become empowered women and men. Two weeks later, the guest who could barely say her own name spoke with grace and confidence about her struggles with mental health at a graduation ceremony with an audience of over twenty individuals. She expressed her determination to help those suffering from mental illness find alternative treatments. Empowerment starts with saying your name. I know now that no matter what type of public service I pursue, I want to focus on helping women find their empowerment.
Written by Madison Hynes, BC Class of 2018