By Skye VanLanduyt
I’m sad my time at the UMKC Women’s Center is coming to a close. Although I’m not a traditional UMKC student, the Women’s Center welcomed me as their blog editor for this semester. I wish more people in our community knew about the programs, resources, and services the Women’s Center provides.
I loved getting to interact with students, staff, and members of the community on a regular daily basis. However, I will treasure my one-to-one meetings with our Assistant Director, Arzie Umali. She provided me with valuable career development skills, advice, and compassion. I may have graduated with a B.A in English, but I never thought of myself as being “qualified” or “good enough” to be a writer. While studying abroad as an undergrad, a professor told me I was “unfit to be an English major.” Given this was a professor, their words greatly impacted my self-confidence. I started unnecessarily worrying over something as simple as writing an email. Two years later, I can say as an undergraduate, I published eight pieces in my school’s literary magazine. As an intern for the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City, I’ve kept governments’ accountable and ensured more women become appointees.
Now, I can say I am an honorary “Roo.” It has been a pleasure to be the blog editor for the fall 2019 semester at the Women’s Center. I’ve had the opportunity to staff the front desk and participate in Walk A Mile In Her Shoes®, the UMKC Women’s Center Wine Tasting, and The Clothesline Project. All of these programs and experiences have inspired me to pay closer attention to women right here in our community. It seems silly I let one person’s opinion of me affect how I saw myself. I let a lot of opportunities pass me by, either because I was too scared to try, or because I didn’t see myself as worthy enough. Arzie saw my potential, worth, and capabilities as a writer and young woman when I couldn’t see it for myself. I can’t thank her or the Women’s Center enough for encouraging me to see myself as a strong, qualified, worthy woman. I know I will take what I learned this semester with me for the rest of my life.
I’ve always enjoyed writing about women and LGBTQIA issues, but getting to write and help others write for a larger audience, has been really rewarding. My time as a blog editor for the Women’s Center might be over, but I hope to encourage and inspire other women just as the Women’s Center has inspired me. I know my writing career and commitment to continue fighting for women in the non-profit sector has just begun.