By Sampada Kukade, Associate Director, Program Marketing at Skills for Change
Thursday, March 9, 2017
CHANGE. A word Skills for Change employees are not only familiar with, but it is what drives us every day. We focus daily on how developing new skills can bring about positive change for the immigrants and refugees we serve. So when #beboldforchange was announced as this year’s International Women’s Day theme (www.internationalwomensday.com), we knew exactly what that meant. That we need to encourage women to be bold, and by being bold, our voices will be heard.
But what does being “bold for change” mean? It isn’t necessarily about protesting or marching, but it’s about activism. It’s participating in any way you can, to support equality and women’s rights. And this participation can be done in simple ways. What is the first simple way we can participate? Through wellness.
You may be thinking, how are wellness and being bold connected? The answer lies in a session we held for staff, to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.
On March 8th, Skills for Change held a wellness session, in celebration of the women who work in our organization, as well as the women who inspire us – in our families, our community, and the world. Aina-Nia Ayo’dele is the founder and managing director of Sacred Women International (SWI) and a renowned leadership development trainer, spiritual teacher and life coach. We were fortunate enough to have her lead our day. The session started with energizing our bodies and minds through dance, followed by a talk on mindfulness and a discussion on what it means to be BOLD for change.
Aina-Nia emphasized the importance of taking care of ourselves first. Centering ourselves. Giving ourselves time to breath. And only by doing this, can we truly have the energy and mindset to Participate. Be bold. Take action. She quoted David Hawkins’ (professor and philosopher) work on mapping the levels of consciousness. She asked us to examine the deconstructive levels, such as shame and guilt and how being stuck in these levels would not leave room for us to be bold for change. But by something as simple as self-care and breathing, a person can move from those levels, into a creative level such as courage, which then allows us to have space to want to make a difference in the world.
In teaching calming breath techniques, Aina-Nia was able to create a space of openness, allowing room to be our true selves.
“It is important to me that our staff feel connected to one another, to take time for ourselves and celebrate who we are. Our clients come from all over the world, and from all walks of life, so focusing ourselves and on being ‘bold for change’ helps us to empower our clients, to succeed with their new lives in Canada” – Surranna Sandy, CEO of Skills for Change.
The day left all of us inspired and yearning to learn more about ourselves and each other. We’d like to thank Aina-Nia to imparting her wisdom on us; and to our staff for sharing their time to make this such a special day.