Monthly Archives: April 2014

“Less Guilt, More Joy!” – Valdi – By Kate Maurice


Pass It On Meeting

Pass It On Meeting

Working as a mentor supervisor I enjoy a position with the unique perspective of 28 young women ranging in age from 13-18 years old. I see many sides of these young women as we grow to know each other. Where often their insecurity is what drives their character, soon, with time and trust their true selves shine through. Putting words to their insecurities in a safe environment with belief and support for their emerging selves. Needless to say I care deeply about fostering true and positive growth into self and often find myself searching for the qualities which encourage confidence and those which take it away. The last two weekends were an amazingly clear example of the conflicting messages from our society and the hypocrisy in which our young women live.

I was empowered, engaged, and impressed by the women in my community at the celebrations for International Women’s Day that SWOVA and IWAV organized that took place on March 7th and 8th. A fundraiser for Pass it On, Sparkfest showcased amazing female talent and began the weekend events, followed by inspiring changemaker workshops held during the following day, concluding with an award dinner for community-nominated female changemakers from the Southern Gulf Islands. So many people came to support and celebrate women and their achievements. The young women who participated were engaged and positive. Emulating confidence and hope, surrounded by role models of achievement, insight, openness and the diverse reality of what it is to be a woman.


Spark Fest 2014

On this positive note I went to visit my sister in Vancouver. It was lovely to be with her and reconnect. Unfortunately or interestingly, I ended up watching some television with her which is incredibly uncommon in my life on Salt Spring. Although I have watched a lot of T.V. in my past (I last regularly watched 10 odd years ago) I was unprepared for the bombardment of commercials. They ran after only 5-7 minutes of programming and contained at least 60% of ads for hair and make up, 15% for cleaning products, 20% food ads and 5% random sales. The hair, makeup and cleaning ads all contained women. The hair and makeup were a barrage of pulsing images of women’s manicured and enhanced eyes, lips, skin, slight frames and glossy hair. The cleaning ads were of thin attractive “moms” who were stressed about dirt and satiated with sparkles. When I commented, my sister said she didn’t pay any attention to the ads. I agreed that logically and literally she probably knew they were nonsense and ignored them. I wonder though, how completely can we ignore something we are staring right at? How critical can our minds be of what we are subconsciously absorbing? Are we better off when we are young and impressionable? Or are we better at discerning as adults? Do we ever lose our impressionability? And does time wear down our judgments or strengthen them?

I believe humans are easily influenced, especially as teens. We learn from our families and peers and from those things we see and do the most. We are creatures of habit easily falling into patterns or judgments based on what we see and experience. It can be incredibly hard to go against what we are told we are and how we should look and act. Television is only one piece of the social media that all of us are up against. The Internet, billboards, radio, music and movies all actively promote these stereotypes of women young and old. How do we protect one another from these obsessive and constant messages we are all absorbing about how we should look and feel. How do the effects of a weekend with approximately 200 hundred people combat hour by hour pulses of messages that none of us are enough and none of us are the norm?

By Kate Maurice, Coordinator of SWOVA’s Pass It On program




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 A Salt Spring Island campaign taking place with the aim to address stereotypes and silence regarding crime and victims of crime in our community.  SWOVA’s Salish Sea Girls’ Leadership Project secured the funding from the Federal Ministry of Justice to run the campaign as part of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week April 6-12, 2014.

We wanted to do something that would be meaningful in our community.  Our goal was to provide accessible information that would generate thought provoking discussion and awareness.  Although we enjoy a high degree of perceived safety here on SSI, crime does affect our community in profound ways. Particularly disturbing are the disproportionate number of children, youth and women who are victims of crime as a result of family violence, sexual abuse and elder abuse.  The first level of support for many victims of crime is family and friends.  We wanted to illuminate that as well as the resources that are available in our community.

The collective (SWOVA, IWAV, Connecting Generations) has put together three initiatives which will take place over the week.  Firstly, a thought provoking public media campaign aimed to generate community awareness, dialogue and education regarding victims of crime in our community.  Secondly a youth led social media campaign.  The Salish Sea Girls’ Leadership Project have developed an online contest.  Gift Certificates valued at $50 each for local businesses including (Country Grocer, Uptown Pizza, Barb’s Buns, Treehouse and SS Roasting Company) will be awarded to those who get the most “shares” and “likes” for promoting the information/education materials we have produced.  Anyone can participate in the contest.  Check out the Salish Sea Girls’ Leadership Project Facebook page ( for contest rules.  Thirdly, a Resource Fair will be held in the Gazebo at Centennial Park on Saturday, April 12.  Virtually all of the on island organizations that provide resources and supports to victims of crime and their families will be there.  SSGLP members will be conducting a brief needs assessment, asking islanders what is working on the island, as well as what is missing in our community.  Treats will be provided courtesy of Country Grocer!  Everyone is invited.

The Yes it Happens Here campaign is a collective effort.  Led by SWOVA’s Salish Sea Girls’ Leadership Project, another great program from SWOVA – Empowering Youth for a Better Tomorrow partnered with IWAV (Island Women Against Violence) and Connecting Generations to make this all happen.  Support provided through a grant from the Department of Justice Canada.


Andria Scanlan – Coordinator, Salish Sea Girls’ Leadership Project



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Salish Sea Girls’ Leadership Project

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