Meet the heartbeat of change—CFE Community Leaders. Community Leaders work directly on projects and bring lived expertise to the forefront of our initiatives while driving change in their communities. We invite all active leaders working directly on projects with the CFE to share a personal profile in their own words on our website if they wish. Profiles are posted in no particular order and when we receive them.
Kerstin, a 34-year-old single mom to her nine-year-old son, Gunnar, finds solace and adventure in her hometown of Revelstoke. With a strong connection to her family and a love for the outdoor activities the region offers, Kerstin has spent the last nine years working in the social services field for a non-profit. Her journey has been shaped by walking alongside clients who shared stories of life's inequities, revealing the cracks in systems designed to provide support. Kerstin is fueled by a passion for unraveling societal norms, advocating for social justice, and championing women's rights.
After becoming widowed during pregnancy, Kerstin sought support in making sense of these experiences. She came across the Centre for Family Equity (formerly the Single Mothers' Alliance) and was met with understanding, support, and solidarity. Aligned with her personal and professional experiences, Kerstin is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the project and share in the transformative experience of single motherhood and social change alongside the dedicated teams at the Centre for Family Equity and UBC. She extends her heartfelt thanks to the staff and her fellow peer researchers for this empowering journey.
A dedicated single parent who has personally faced the struggles of navigating support systems, Jagdeep brings a profound understanding of the challenges many encounter in accessing assistance for themselves and their children. Motivated by lived experiences, Jagdeep is committed to being a strong advocate for those who may feel overwhelmed or close to giving up. Her goal is to empower others to navigate the system and advocate for themselves, recognizing the isolating nature of these challenges. Jagdeep firmly believes that by coming together with love and support, positive change can be made, ensuring that everyone, particularly those already facing adversity receive the support they deserve despite the hurdles imposed by the existing system.
I am a supporting child care worker, a special needs respite worker and a Supervision aide living in Vancouver. I joined the (then Single Mothers’ Alliance) because I have been a single Mom since 2007, raising two children. In my experiment as a single mom, I experienced a lack of resources, inequity, sexism, gender stereotyping, and racism in governmental and court institutions. I was determined to join an organization such as the CFE that raises its voice to the inequities that single moms face and to band together with other single parents to bring light to the issues.
My experiences with the CFE have given me a platform to work with many women from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This has illuminated just how much lack of attention and resources has been put into projects for single parents. I have made friendships and cherished memories with many woman at this organization as we call forth the government and institutional bodies to listen and learn about what challenges and adversities single parents face.
My name is Holly, and I’m a lone mother of a six-year-old son. When I heard about the research project I am involved with I was immediately interested. Child care is so important to all families, especially those with a lone-parent. I am honoured to be able to contribute to this important work and make some positive change in the world.
I am a single mother of two and I found my role as a peer researcher when googling resources for women like me. I had just left a long-term relationship and I was struggling to find employment around my children’s schedules, and then was evicted from my home for landlord renovations. I have been a part of this lived- experience group for quite a while now and my life has changed so much for the better during this time. I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to help other single mothers, to learn through experience, and to create relationships with people who I might not have been able to meet without this program. I am excited to continue my journey with these amazing women and continue learning and helping others.
Christiana is an immigrant mother of two, a policy professional and a health sciences doctoral candidate at the University of Northern British Columbia. She got involved with the Centre for Family Equity as a peer researcher on the ‘Making Mothers’ Matter’ (MMM) project in order to share her lived experiences of struggles with finding child care and to contribute to research and advocacy activities enlisting the voices of marginalized women and families whose health and well-being of their children may be at risk.
As a peer researcher on the project, Christiana has contributed to our interview toolkits towards engendering trust and meaningful conversations with participant mothers. She has supported the design and reviews of interview questionnaires and facilitated a number of interviews. Christiana continues to avail herself for projects and initiatives with the Centre for Family Equity to investigate the systemic roots of family injustices.
I'm Kiana, a mother of two wonderful kids. I'm passionate about justice and equality and love to work on that in any way possible.
Hi, my name is Brenda. I am a lone mother. My background is Indigenous and I am from Treaty 6 Nation, Saskatchewan. I am passionate about helping vulnerable people with multiple barriers like myself overcome the challenges they face and break down the barriers they experience. We need to empower people so they can rise above any challenge in life that comes along. I've been a proud peer researcher with the SMA now CFE for four years and they have helped me be a part of my community and stand strong with others to use our voices to bring about the change we need now.
Leona Brown is a Gitxsan and Nisga’a mother of three children, of the Fireweed House and the Killerwhale Clan, and an Indigenous independent Cultural Facilitator. She gained three years of training around Indigenous Culture with the Resurfacing History Program coordinated by Jolene Andrew. This work has become her healing journey; the grassroots teachings and knowledge are shared with her children. This knowledge is important to know who we are, where we come from, and how we live with the lands and waterways around us.
As a Gitxsan Refugee in the unceded territories of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-waututh, I have been taking on land-based work here in the city and thrive as an ambassador to the work Resurfacing History has taught me about Indigenous food and resources that we harvest in the city.
I advocate at every opportunity with school boards, the City of Vancouver, and the Vancouver parks board for opportunities for Indigenous people to relearn our culture on the lands and waterways that we live on as we actively talk of reconciliation.