Tara Ray – Prevention Program Specialist

I restarted this blog six different times. Everything seemed cliché and not even something I would want to read again. So, I sat down with a good friend and had a fiery conversation about why I am here, why I am so passionate about young women, and why I need a place that gives me a powerful platform to support, educate, and advocate. In essence, it comes down to my high school self and that oh so common feeling of being silenced. Years ago, I couldn’t find the words to articulate my frustrations, not to mention it was absolutely not cool to express your thoughts and emotions surrounding the monster of inequality and oppression. Those frustrations manifested in poor decisions, mean words, and a lot of confusion.

It took me two crappy “boyfriends”, three college degree changes, an encouraging academic advisor, and some serious exposure to real life disparity before finally stumbling upon this second home, the Young Women’s Resource Center. It was more than just four walls though; it was the women who lived inside of them that really made it come alive. These inspiring women empowered me to find my voice that I had been forever struggling to find. They embody the mission and vision that our fearless founder, Louise Noun, set out to find 37 years ago, and they continue to be what makes this place so special.

For the last six years, I’ve had the privilege of walking into the Center each day knowing that I am exactly where I need to be. Words I struggled to say for so long, I now get to express freely. More importantly, I get to help powerful young minds find their own words and be able to articulate their desires to combat the same limitations I once felt.

My hope for all young women was once captured in a card written by an influential coworker, and each day, all of us here at the YWRC get to work towards making this a reality: “May you be at peace. May your heart remain open. May you awaken to the light of your own true nature. May you be healed. May you be a source of healing for all beings.

-Tara Ray