Voices of RPIA
In Our Community
Director, HR & Administration
I came to Canada with my parents and my older brother as political refugees from El Salvador at the formative age of 12. Being a teenager is hard enough, but when you add the socio-economic hurdles that young women from challenging circumstances must overcome to reach their full potential, early mentorships become a lifeline for so many of us.
Article published in The Hamilton Spectator about Tania’s father, who spoke up for what he believed in through his poetry.
I was lucky to find myself surrounded by a strong network of family, friends, and
teachers - women who lifted me up, loved me for who I am, and encouraged me to follow my dreams and aspirations. Determination and perseverance are often a driving force for women professionals, but when the odds are already stacked against you because of your gender, skin colour, and economic status, the empathy, guidance, and love of those who believe in you are all undeniable factors that help carry you forward in your professional success.
As a child, I was made aware of what social injustice, classism, and racial prejudices against marginalized communities look like. As an immigrant, I lived them. My father was a poet who was exiled from his country for speaking up against these injustices, and he fought for those who did not have a voice. After his untimely passing, I became determined to harness his legacy and do my part. I have never forgotten who I am and where I came from and I believe my purpose is to serve selflessly, to humbly provide guidance and encouragement to talented young women who have not been afforded an equal opportunity to realize their dreams. After some lengthy research, I came across the GEM organization, I was drawn to the values, pillars, and goals of the program and applied to be considered for the role of volunteer mentor. I am very excited and honoured to have been chosen for the 2021-2022 mentor/mentee cohort.
What is GEM?
GEM began in 2012 with just 22 girls from a single priority neighbourhood in Toronto. Today, GEM’s mentorship program has grown to become a robust and dynamic program across the GTA and beyond. Over the years, GEM has helped to transform the lives of hundreds of young women to become the next generation of future female leaders. GEM is founded, led, and made up of women who believe every girl deserves equal opportunity to develop professional skills, pursue higher education and build successful career paths. We are a force of dedicated women committed to youth education, promoting gender-equity and working with diverse communities. 1
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