Score one for the People


(artwork by Kal Barteski)

Yesterday’s recap: Ohhoho. GREAT GREAT day! Beyond the fact that I was super productive, it was another good news day. (I’m getting so used to those!) Remember that little BIG editorial, I was writing for HR Matters magazine? Yes well, it looks like the editorial will not be included in the next issue the way we had originally thought. Instead my mama is going to be FEATURED on the COVER of the Spring issue of the magazine along with PROMINENT placement of the article.  HR Matters is the Human Resources Management Association of Manitoba’s publication and circulates to 1,100 HR professionals from every sector – education, industry, business, government, etc… Way to go Mom!

Back to today: I had a great meeting this morning with Manitoba Adult Learning & Training Branch. They want to include me in their roster of consultants! This is largely a result of the work I did on the Guide and more recently, the Children’s Health & Environment Partnership website content.  I think they can see the range of my abilities to develop plain-language resources for various target groups. I LOVE doing this kind of work. It might not be “environmental” per se but it is SO important. Knowledge is power and when people are not able to access information – because it isn’t written in an “accessible” way – they are not empowered to act. Reflecting on my meeting today, I can’t help but laugh at the SWEET SATISFYING irony of the situation.

Many years ago, I had a terrible experience with a researcher who was (one of three) supervising my development of a policy backgrounder on children’s health and environment – a field experience credit toward completing my Master in Environmental Studies at York. I have never fully admitted to the profound impact this experience had on me but to be perfectly honest, it greatly contributed to my paralysis in struggling to complete my thesis and then its eventual demise (or maybe I’m giving away too much credit?). I was writing for a lay audience (primarily parents/families but also those in health promotion and child care) and worked hard to make, an otherwise complex and dense subject, “easy to understand”. But instead of it being practical and useful, I was told it was “not Masters level work”. It didn’t meet expectations. It wasn’t good enough. Without being immodest, for my 27 years worth on earth, I can probably count on one hand the number of times anyone has said those words to me. At the time, I was a FOOLISH 22 year old – stupidly influenced by this experience. I let it erode my confidence and allow me to question a number of things including my ability to be successful in the field. Now, all I can think is, how many freakin’ members of the general public, particularly parents of young children in Canada, have Masters level education with English as their mother tongue? Seriously.

It might not be Masters level work but today, I realized the extraordinary value in the resources and information I have developed. That is, because of the WIN Guide and the Partnership website, some of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our society, now have ACCESS and KNOWLEDGE and POWER that they didn’t have before. What can I say? Sometimes it is nice to even out the score.

Got some more good stuff to share tomorrow. Til then.


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