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Celebrating Heather McDowell: A Remarkable Journey at Stratford Pride Community Centre

It is with mixed emotions that we announce the departure of Heather McDowell, our esteemed Executive Director, from the Stratford Pride Community Centre (SPCC). Heather has decided to pursue new endeavors, leaving behind an indelible mark on our organization and the community we serve. As we look ahead, we reflect on Heather's outstanding contributions and the transformative impact she has had during her tenure.

Heather's leadership has been instrumental in charting a new course for SPCC, grounded in compassion, innovation, and community collaboration. Under her guidance, SPCC has undergone significant growth and development, propelled by Heather's unwavering commitment to advancing the well-being of our diverse 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

One of Heather's notable achievements was the implementation of a new programming approach, marked by the launch of the Needs Assessment Survey in Fall 2023. This initiative marked the first time SPCC engaged the community in shaping our programming and services. The survey revealed critical insights, highlighting the acute needs of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in our geographic area. Armed with this knowledge, Heather spearheaded strategic partnerships and programming initiatives to address these needs head-on.

Heather's advocacy extended beyond SPCC's walls through collaborative community committees with local social service entities. These partnerships have enhanced our collective capacity to support vulnerable populations and address systemic barriers to inclusivity and well-being.

Heather's visionary leadership gave rise to the Ambassador Program, a testament to her dedication to inclusivity and community empowerment. Through this program, individuals from various segments of the rainbow community actively participate in designing and implementing programming tailored to their specific needs. Heather's commitment to amplifying marginalized voices and fostering a sense of belonging has been instrumental in the success of this innovative model.

Another achievement of Heather's tenure is the Generation Rainbow Collective (GRC) program, a lifeline for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in our community. Heather's vision and dedication brought this program to fruition, providing a safe and supportive space for youth to find their social group and thrive. The overwhelming positive response to GRC speaks volumes about Heather's impact and the profound difference she has made.

Looking ahead, the Board of Directors will focus on the unification of the Stratford Pride Community Centre and Stratford Perth Pride organizations. Volunteers will continue to support the current programming in place during this transition period.

Upon unification, the new unified Board will determine the evolving needs of our community and post for a new role focused on programming and support. This individual will play a vital role in shaping the future direction of SPCC and ensuring our continued commitment to serving the 2SLGBTQIA+ community with excellence and compassion.

Please join us in wishing Heather all the best in her future endeavors. Though she may be leaving SPCC, her spirit and impact will forever remain ingrained in the fabric of our organization and community.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Brock Hart, Chair & Board of Directors

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