On entering the room, laughter radiated as a diverse group of women, faces glowing from inspiration, bonded with one another at the fourth annual Journeys to Success.
On Saturday, December 4, 2016, Toronto Community Housing and partners Elizabeth Fry Toronto, METRAC, United Way, Power to Girls, hErVOLUTION, Gordonridge Action Committee, and the Community Action Council had the honour of hosting this year’s Journeys to Success event to celebrate the exceptional lives of ordinary women. This year’s theme, “Her-Thrival,” celebrated the resiliency of women who moved from surviving to thriving.
Picture (from left to right): Community Services Coordinator Shellecia Simpson, Masters of Ceremonies Karlyn Percil and Cheyenne Mathews, and Nadia Gouveia, Manager of Economic Development and Resident Employment, welcome attendees.
The event brought together 115 women of all ages and cultures to educate, inspire and empower women through a full day of presentations, panel discussions, wisdom circles, and performances.
Keynote speaker Belinda Kamshuka Barrocks left the crowd with a powerful message reminding them that they can succeed: “For so many years and maybe even for this entire week, you’ve been in survival mode, you got it in you, you are stronger than you even know it. Whatever story you have or whatever journey you are walking through, I know you will make it through because you are strong!”
During the afternoon Wisdom Circle session, attendees shared their knowledge on the themes discussed during the day, personal stories that promoted thriving and sharing their struggles in an uplifting way.
Picture: Former Toronto Community Housing YouthWorx employees Charmaine Chan (left) and Wynnikka Matthews (right) close the day by serenading the audience with "Rise Up".
Social media response
There was also buzz on social media as attendees used the hashtag #HerThrival on Twitter and Instagram to share their experiences.
Quotes from attendees
“Today it touched me that you talked about self-esteem. I lost that part of me for a few years. But it is back and I thank you for the event today. I was so impressed with the performers. Thank you for inviting me. Thank you so much.You don’t know how much it has meant to me.” - Resident
“Journeys to Success provided a space for women from all walks of life to come together to feel affirmed in their journey. The space was significant because it allowed for women to define success on their own terms, in their own way. It was a space filled with learning, laughter, tears and love for women, by women. As a community partner we heard resounding need from participants to have more spaces like these again. Participants wanted more spaces where women can build strategies towards navigating their own journey to success!" - Community Agency
“It was amazing to be part of this experience. The impact and importance of being part of this experience was evident for the participants as I looked around the room and saw engaged faces of the women from every age group and ethnicity. I am so pleased to have been part of HER trival and to have connected with women from all walks of life.” - Panelist
“I was nervous at first; but the older women made me feel comfortable which made it easier for me to share. Thank you for this experience, I would not have missed it for the world. There needs to be more events like this.” - Youth resident
"The Her Thrival event was a meaningful opportunity to connect young women and elders to have intricate life dialogue. Women had a renewed sense of energy and inspiration upon the completion of the event. Women craved the opportunity to come together and engender intergenerational dialogue. It was a meaningful day with a fair exchange of knowledge and wisdom." - Committee member
To learn more about the Journeys to Success program, visit the Journeys of Success page
on our website.