Zoe is a member of the Young Women’s Advisory Panel and a peer researcher. In this blog, she talks about connecting to a community through Young Women’s Trust and how we should all find our people and cheer them on.
Like many in March 2020, I felt lost. I had just been put on furlough and knew that I was going to lose my job.
It was during this time that I started attending Young Women’s Trust YWTea webinars and had my eyes opened to a huge range of issues that I had never even thought about before. I learnt how women face discrimination in the workplace, the lack of affordable housing options in the UK, but that I could my voice to speak to my MP about the issues that I cared about in my local area. However, beyond sitting quietly and learning, I found something else. I found a community of other young women who I am still profoundly connected to two years later.
Being involved with this community has meant everything to me. During the pandemic, it made me feel a sense of solidarity and purpose, allowing me to cheer on my peers and be encouraged in return. It allowed me to find a place of kindness where I could speak freely and hear the stories of others. It made me want to get out of bed in the morning and participate in something larger than myself.
I now participate with Young Women’s Trust in several ways. I am a member of the Advisory Panel, a group of young women with experience of low or no pay who help shape the charity’s future. I’m also a peer researcher, interviewing young women and collecting data for the Research Centre for Young Women’s Economic Justice. These activities are woven into my life now, and they give me so much fulfilment, I don’t know what I would do without them.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish everybody could have access to the care, kindness and opportunities that being involved with Young Women’s Trust has given me. I think everyone deserves to have a community that supports them without judgement. I believe everyone deserves to have someone cheering them on. But maybe most importantly, I think that we sometimes forget to cheer others on. It’s amazing what a little word of encouragement can do to help someone move someone along in their life or give them hope again.
I often look out into the world I live in and feel sad and anxious, afraid that I cannot influence anything that I care about. What my time at Young Women’s Trust has taught me is that big change can be achieved with little, interpersonal actions. Having someone in your corner cheering you on can really make all the difference. I would encourage you to find your people. Seek out the group that you share values with and get your pom-poms out. Shout as loudly as you can for them. This small action might be more powerful than you might think.
If you want to join our community of young women, sign up to our private Facebook group, The Lounge.