2 October 2014
At YWCA Canberra, we’re really proud of the vibrancy and diversity of our staff team. We’ll be bringing you regular Staff Snapshots so you can meet our team and find out a bit more about the people behind our programs and services. Today, meet Erin-Claire Barrow, Youth Engagement Officer.
Can you tell us a bit about your role at YWCA Canberra?
I’m a Youth Engagement Officer, working at the Lanyon Youth and Community Centre with young people from the Tuggeranong area. Some of the many things I am involved with include helping to run a supported Drop In Centre for young people, co-delivering and facilitating programs such as Y-ASPIRE and Every Girl, building and maintaining relationships with schools and other organisations in our area, and developing programs and activities for young people.
What is the scariest thing you’ve done in the past year?
In August I travelled alone to Seoul for a week to speak on the Women, Peace and Security agenda at a conference. I had never travelled outside Australia by myself before and I didn’t speak a word of Korean, but (as you would guess!) it turned out to be an amazing, challenging, and eye-opening experience.
What’s on your current playlist?
I really like Bertie Blackman. I’ve been listening to her album P.I.X. all week and can’t wait for her new album, The Dash, which is coming out at the end of next month.
What is the most out-there job you’ve ever had?
Last year I coordinated GetUp!’s Election Day campaign in Victoria, which was pretty full on! I really enjoyed being completely immersed in politics and activism in the lead-up to the election, and having the opportunity to meet and work with a very wide variety of people who were interested in and concerned about similar political issues to myself.
If you had to choose a single thing about the Y that makes you proud to work here, what would it be?
I am proud of the work the Y does to inspire young women and girls to realise their potential and to become leaders in their communities. I particularly loved delivering the Every Girl program this year, and seeing the girls’ confidence growing along with their understanding of their own strengths and their shared human rights.
When you’re not at work, what’s your relaxation activity of choice?
I love watercolour painting. I have illustrated one book (Cycling to Grandma’s House by former Y Canberra board member Jac Torres Gomez) and I particularly enjoy using art to challenge people to think about current human rights issues, such as Austalia’s treatment of asylum seekers. I also do lots of paintings for family and friends, so I usually have at least one painting on the go when I get home from work on any given day.
Who’s your favourite inspirational woman?
It’s so hard to choose – every day I’m inspired by different women, from heroes like Leymah Gbowee, whose memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers, I’m reading at the moment, to my close friends who are tireless in their work for an Australia (and world!) which is fairer and safer for all women. I wrote my thesis on the ‘mother of feminism’, Mary Wollstonecraft, several years ago though, and there will always be a special place for her in my heart!