IHO Site: Richmond Women’s Resource Centre
Overview: The Richmond Women’s Resource Centre is a safe space for the empowerment of women, providing support, encouragement, education, information and training so women are better equipped to make decisions in their own lives. The centre is also involved in work to address social justice issues for women.
IHO Site Supervisor: Florence Yau, Executive Director
Q: What is your background?
A: “I have a master’s degree in business administration. I was involved in the nonprofit environment before I took this position, working for a home support agency. I’ve been here for the last five years.”
Q: What is your mandate at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre?
A: “Our mandate is to provide a supportive environment in which all women are supported and encouraged to achieve their fullest potential.”
Q: Describe your typical day at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre.
A: “This is a drop-in centre, so we serve a lot of the immigrant population here on a drop-in basis. A typical day would be women from the community from different ethnic backgrounds coming in and asking for information and referrals. We also have different support groups and programs running on a regular basis, so there would be participants coming in to join those programs. We rely on a lot of volunteer help so we have volunteers coming in to assist the functioning of the centre on a daily basis. We also do networking, connecting with other agencies, and working on projects and events happening in the community.”
Q: What are some challenges that you face at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre?
A: “Limited financial resources; we are not government-funded so in order to make sure that we have enough resources to continue our programming we have to work very hard on fundraising.”
Q: What are some challenges that the local community faces?
A: “This is the only drop-in centre for women in the area and we find that sometimes it’s a challenge is to find resources available in the community that we can refer women to. Sometimes there are resources available but in Vancouver, not in Richmond. Sometimes clients are unable to go all the way to Vancouver.”
Q: What successes have you had in addressing challenges at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre and in the local community?
A: “Right now we’re doing a donation campaign; we’re hoping to raise funds for the continuation of our programs and services.”
Q: What has been your experience working with VCN?
A: “My experience with VCN is on two fronts; one is the CAP program, which is no longer available, and the other is the Youth Initiative Program. The experience has been good. I’ve noticed that in the last year there have been improvements in streamlining the operations of VCN, especially the youth initiative. A rep from VCN came out to visit us and let us know that they are the first point of contact, so communication has been streamlined that way. I see VCN as being on top of things and trying to improve efficiency.”
Q: How can a VCN intern help to address challenges at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre and in the local community?
A: “We are small, so an intern could do lab facilitation and multitasking. We very much need extra hands. Our current intern speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, and the language proficiency helps our front desk to address more clients with an Asian background.”
Q: What advice would you give to a VCN intern beginning work at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre?
A: “In order for this to be a win-win situation for both the centre and the intern, the intern would need to keep an open mind, be spontaneous and take initiative. Be like a sponge; it really comes down to how much you want to absorb.”
Q: What do you believe a VCN intern could take away from working at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre?
A: “If you work hard and make yourself available to accept new things and meet new people you’ll get a new experience that you otherwise may not have had.”
Q: What has been one of your most memorable experiences working at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre?
A: “The feeling at the end of the day when you know that someone has been helped.”
Q: What is one little-known fact about the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre?
A: “We’ve been in the community since 1976.”
Q: What can someone who is interested in getting involved at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre do to help?
A: “I would advise them to check out our website to see the kind of work that we do, and if they want to support our work send us an email or come in and fill out an application form.”