Mosaic: Women of Inspiration Series Wrap-up
Girls Inc. celebrates community role models on International Women’s Day.
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta hosted its 8th annual Women of Inspiration series through a virtual event on International Women’s Day on March 8.
This year introduced five more positive role models living in the Wood Buffalo region who drive a positive change for other women and girls. The 2020-2021 inductees bring its WOI panel to a total of 82 community women recognized since its inception.
Regina Oppon is a dedicated community activist and advocates for immigrant women and youth - particularly girls.
Regina is the Executive Director of the Rehoboth Alliance. She works to deliver programs that help women and youth pursue their full potential while addressing systemic barriers around gender inequality.
Through the Rehoboth Alliance, Regina has assisted in organizing summer camps for low-income families. She has also established programs that target immigrant women within the Wood Buffalo Region. Regina was a pillar in establishing the community’s Black History Month events, which take place every February.
Her message to girls and young women is to “be yourself, love yourself, have confidence in yourself… and find that uniqueness in you.”
Victoria Brown is a human resource professional by day and an entrepreneur by night.
Last year, Victoria launched her LIGHTS Apparel clothing line. The clothing line shines a light on mental health, and a portion of the proceeds from every item purchased goes towards helping fund a local mental health initiative.
As a single month from Newfoundland, Victoria said she is no stranger to the struggles of a mental health condition as she grew up in a small town with no support. She uses her voice and experience to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Her message to girls and young women is to “speak your mind, stand up for what you’re passionate about unapologetically and know that you bring something to the table that nobody else can”.
Rachel Ivey is one of the founding coaches of Northern Trailblazers Basketball and mentors children, especially young girls, through sport. Although, her work stretches well beyond the basketball court.
Rachel empowers girls and her fellow volunteers to be confident both on and off the court and offers support for students to be the best they can be.
She is a strong advocate for the under-represented communities in Wood Buffalo, having helped lead the march to raise awareness of police brutality and racism against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.
Rachel’s message to girls and young women is to “use your voice” and “speak up for yourself, speak up for others, speak out against injustice and don’t let anybody tell you what you are or are not capable of.”
Chithra Udayashaukar is a passionate educator in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, and she is an inter-cultural awareness advocate.
She has taught various levels of mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer programming with a Masters in Mathematics and a Masters in Education from the University of Madras in India.
Chithra started the Sai School of Arts that teaches youth and adults various art techniques using oil, glass, collages and other methods.
Chithra’s message to girls and young women is to “believe in yourself and not let anyone or anything stop you from achieving your goals no matter how big they are.”
Shreeya Patel is the youngest nominee of the Women of Inspiration series to date. She promotes gender equality in various fields, such as health, sport and science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Shreeya is the General Assembly Leader for the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth (MACOY). Through her work with MACOY, she has successfully helped launch the first Youth and Health Conference after noticing a large discrepancy between men and women in nutrition, mental health and different occupations in the field.
She is the co-captain for both varsity volleyball and basketball at Westwood Community High School. She also holds an executive position in Queens in Code, an all-female coding club that provides a safe space to explore coding.
Shreeya’s message to girls and young women is to “keep your reservoirs of confidence full and strive for more experiences regardless of stigmas and stereotypes around them.”
To learn more about Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and its Women of Inspiration series, visit girlsincofnorthernalberta.org.