Diamond Antwi-Mansah, NYWC’s new Program Manager, wants to empower women and survivors.
You can literally hear the excitement in Diamond’s voice when she talks about her new position at North York Women’s Centre.
“This role is an opportunity to work alongside an incredible team,” she says. “Also, I was born and bred in North York, so I see it as a chance to give my skills back to the community and support women and gender-diverse people.”
Having joined NYWC in mid-July, Diamond is already contributing to and planning impactful programs that help women and survivors achieve their goals and build autonomy.
Honouring Lived Experiences
“Growing up, I was always interested in women’s issues,” says Diamond, adding that courses on family violence and social injustice opened her eyes to how marginalized and racialized women were disproportionately affected. “When I got into the Social Work program at Toronto Metropolitan University, it felt right to me.”
After graduation, her work at agencies for women experiencing gender-based violence and other challenges further fueled her interest in creating transformative programs to support their needs. Implementing and overseeing non-judgmental counseling sessions and programs that helped survivors navigate family law or housing systems was life changing, she says.
“It was so great to see and hear participants acknowledging that what happened to them wasn’t their fault, and that they were moving forward,” she says.
Validating participants’ self-agency and knowledge is a priority for Diamond. As she says, “We need to empower people, because they are the true experts in their lives. Advocating for people who are oppressed or vulnerable – and helping them reach their own goals – is really important.”
For that reason, Diamond appreciates that some NYWC volunteers, facilitators and board members are also past program participants. “Many women and gender-diverse folks whom I talk to say they do empowerment work because they want to use their lived experience to support others,” she says.
A Listening Ear
North York Women’s Centre is renowned for support and programs that respond to the true needs of women and gender-diverse people in the community, so Diamond already feels at home. She welcomes women to talk and share their program needs with her. As she says, “I want NYWC participants to know that I’ll be listening, and that the team and I will do everything in our power to craft responsive and creative programs for them.”
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