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Local, Global - Spotlight on Service - Joya Perrick, by Anastasia Anthony Zervos

I caught up with Joya earlier this week. She had been in Ecuador when I had originally tried to schedule an interview with her. When we did finally speak, I was struck by Joya's overall sincerity and transparency, as well as her empathy. What would eventually become clear to me, is that Joya acts on all of these qualities, in a very honest effort to help improve the lives of others.

 

Joya Perrick is an experienced social change facilitator, who excels in strengthening the voices of social-inclusion support strategists, gender-equity advocates, environmental stewards, as well as Canada's Indigenous people.

 

Fifteen years ago, Joya began volunteering with Beauty Night. She had responded to an ad we had placed in the Vancouver Sun.

 

On one of her first volunteer shifts, Joya, at a facility she has forgotten the name of, saw women washing their hair in a public sink. It was not a housing facility, but a support space, nonetheless, and was the Beauty Night venue for that evening. Moved, Joya marvelled that these women seemed to have nowhere else to wash their hair.

 

That memory stays with her and Joya credits it with motivating her to stay with Beauty Night. She wanted, in some way, to help these women have dignity, and if she could, provide them voices that society could hear. She saw resilience in the women that participated there, that night, and saw the positive potential of giving them a place, where these marginalized women, could communicate their needs with many stakeholders, so that they could have access to greater social, economic, and environmental justice. 

 

Beauty Night has informed much of Joya's further philanthropic work. Recently, Joya is a volunteer with: Women Transforming Cities, International Society. She was an attendee at the UN Habitat III Conference and Hábitat 3 Alternativo. One of her aims was to learn, so that she could bring those lessons back to local, Vancouver communities for their benefit. 

 

Joya has a deep understanding of global trends in urban stewardship, along with the practices and principles of sustainable community development. She celebrates diversity, while strengthening partnerships through public outreach, in order to implore political will to form policy objectives into new realities. Joya has over 15 years experience organizing community support for municipal, social justice innovations and international civic development, in harmony with regional community needs. 

 

What I find really encouraging is this: it all started here, at Beauty Night! Not just for Joya either, but for others too, like Katherine Benjamin, for example, who has taken what she has learned locally, at Beauty Night, and moved to England. How about you? What are you learning here, that you will apply on a broader scale, at some time, to influence another area and its people for the better?