the leadership of grace campbell
We want to launch our project by featuring a well-known name amongst our members and supporters – Grace Campbell. Grace has been at the helm of Women on the Rise since 2003, when she bravely took over as head coordinator after only having been in the position of administrative assistant for a few months. She was nervous at first, worried that she did not have the experience necessary to fill in the role.
But since, Grace has helped grow Women on the Rise into what it is today by launching innovative programs that support mothers in different facets of their lives, securing more partnerships, and inviting more people into the organization. Regardless of who you ask, you will hear that Grace is the heartbeat of Women on the Rise and a keeper of many stories.
“I’ve always wanted to help,” says Grace, reflecting on how she first became interested in community work. Grace has always had a natural inclination for helping others. While she worked at the Black Community Resource Centre, before joining Women on the Rise, she often found herself trying to find extra ways to support people. She would try to visit people in their homes or tell them they could call her whenever they needed. It is this selfless attitude that has made many members call Women on the Rise their second home and has made them feel at ease.
“I’m really proud of the fact that people can say...‘I want to come here because I feel safe in speaking, I feel like a family’...I’m really proud of the fact that we’re able to do that.”
This is also what Grace is most proud of with her work at Women on the Rise; that women and mothers come here to feel safe. “I’m really proud of the fact that people can say...‘I want to come here because I feel safe in speaking, I feel like a family’...I’m really proud of the fact that we’re able to do that.” She attributes this sense of ease to the fact that Women on the Rise always ensures its members are comfortable when they walk through the door. Help is not overbearing here; it is here if you want it, when you need it.
For the 30 Year Anniversary Project, Grace says she wants to celebrate how Women on the Rise has been able to improve the quality of life for its members and celebrate community organizations as whole. According to her, community organizations “build networks, it allows people to grow...community organizations can speak at your level...you do not need to feel intimidated to come to a community organization.” It is in this spirit of community that we want to celebrate our 30 years and look ahead to many more.
The interview this newsletter is based on was conducted by Francesca Mourad and Gabrielle Vendette.
The newsletter was written by Gabrielle Vendette.