Rachelle Beswick shares how NYWC supported her healing and growth.
Chi-Miigwetch to the team at the North York Women’s Centre for creating such a supportive community during one of the most difficult years of my life. Although I had become accustomed to living with a certain level of stress, I am now standing taller and prouder as a survivor. I am not just a victim, I am a survivor, a warrior.
I found the Centre and Women’s Empowerment program through an online search, as I was looking to connect with other women who had or were going through similar experiences. Despite considering myself as resourceful, capable and connected, I felt incredibly alone and isolated.
“Our time together still feels like fun.”
It has now been nine months since I first reached out in inquiry mode, lost. In those nine months of NYWC programs I have shared myself, been vulnerable, encouraged others, laughed, played, and taken advantage of the guided time to focus on my own wants, needs, self care and love. I have not missed a single opportunity to connect with the group. Despite participating for many months, our time together still feels like a fun, enjoyable opportunity – it doesn’t feel like drudgery.
In other groups elsewhere, I have struggled to remain present, engaged or to take any real action based on the learnings. At North York Women’s Centre, it’s evident that the group energy stems from the culture and energy of the Centre itself. I showed up to each session as a shell of myself, feeling empty and disconnected – and within minutes, found myself laughing, reflecting, creating and encouraging others. It continues to be an incredible gift to myself and others to inspire and be inspired; impact and be impacted.
I am grateful for the gift of time, energy, funds, space and commitment by so many involved behind the scenes to bring all of us together in community. This is not an easy feat in person, let alone virtually during a global crisis. The team at NYWC has me connected and participating at a new and higher level than I expected.
“There are no expectations or judgments.”
Seeing the faces of those who were previously withdrawn, quiet, pensive and apprehensive now smiling, laughing and chiming in has been the magic sauce: the missing ingredient I needed to see what is possible for myself, too. One step, one day, one action at a time. We are all doing the best we can, and there are no expectations or judgments – just warmth and shared understanding.
I am looking forward to continuing to participate and connecting with others at NYWC. I welcome the opportunity to reunite again and share our successes, triumphs and hurdles in the months and years to come. This isn’t easy work. Somehow, the Centre has cultivated an atmosphere of fun and collaboration for cohorts of women who have experienced and continue to experience incredible amounts of trauma over the course of our lives.
Chi-Miigwetch for standing for and with all of us!
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