North Shore Womens Centre Lower Lonsdale North Vancouver British Columbia Canada

Interview with Emily Balzarini

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We are super excited for this interview article as we get to publish content about the North Shore Women’s Centre and support our local sisters, mothers, and grandmothers!

Ladies are the core of every community and as a result we are very grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with Emily Balzarini of the North Shore Women’s Centre.

She is the Fund Development and Communications Coordinator for the organization and has her finger on the pulse of all of the resources, events and happenings in and around the Women’s Centre.

North Shore Women’s Centre North Vancouver

What is the North Shore Women’s Centre and when did it get started?

The North Shore Women’s Centre is dedicated to improving the social, economic, legal and political status of women, and encourages and supports self-empowerment by acting as a resource and a catalyst for change, from a feminist perspective. We aim to provide women with access to resources and assist with life choices, actively address violence against women at all levels of the community, challenge sexism and discrimination in the community, and work towards the elimination of the feminization of poverty.

The Centre was founded in 1973, by a small group of women who had taken a women’s studies course at Capilano College together. For this group, studying issues in the classroom was not enough – women all around them needed more than ideas, they needed concrete resources and support. The founding members responded by establishing the North Shore Women’s Centre, and we have been serving women on the North Shore in many ways ever since.

What kind of activities or community support does the centre provide for local women?

We provide support in various ways, through our drop-in Resource Centre and Programs & Services. Women can visit the drop-in centre for any reason – many come by to socialize, get referrals or emotional support from staff, have coffee or tea, use the internet, or access one of our programs. The Centre is child-friendly, and we have a phone, public access computers, photocopier, printer and fax machine available to use for free.

We offer a variety of Programs & Services, such as our Single Moms’ Support Group, Family Law Clinic, Basic Computer Training, Health & Wellness Program, Girls Empowerment Camp, monthly workshops, and emergency & crisis support. Our programs are always free and confidential.

How can members of the community get involved and help out at the centre volunteering?

Members of the community can contribute in so many ways, either through donations & fundraising or volunteering their time. We are always in need of non-perishable food & toiletry donations, and monetary contributions are so appreciated. We also have volunteering opportunities for women, including becoming a Resource Centre Volunteer, Computer Trainer, Workshop Facilitator, or even Board Member.  If you are a health practitioner, you can volunteer your services with us through our Health & Wellness Program – find out more on our website! 

What are your short term and long term plans for the women’s centre?

This year, we have been able to do some minor renovations in the Resource Centre, thanks to the support of some amazing donors. In the short term, we hope to continue transforming the Centre so that it may best serve women on the North Shore, and more long term plans include expanding on current services provided if possible, in response to community need. We hope to continue serving women & girls on the North Shore for many years to come!

In your spare time outside of facilitating things at the centre, what do you get up to for activities?

As a recent graduate from UBC in Sociology, I have been focused mainly on finishing my undergraduate education for the past few years. I am passionate about women’s issues, both at work and after hours. I live in Kitsilano and spend my free time with friends & family, usually checking out new restaurants, doing crafts, spending time at the beach or getting out into nature.

Is there anything else you might want our readers to know about yourself or the Women’s Centre?

You can drop by the NSWC anytime (during our office hours, 9:30am-3:30pm Monday to Thursday) for any reason. No issue is too big or too small to seek out support from staff, and we always have coffee & tea available. Come by and say hello!

If you are looking for community support and other amazing local ladies, we implore you to go and visit the North Shore Women’s Centre located at 131 2nd St E, North Vancouver or call them at 604.984.6009. You can also use their website and connect with them Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

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