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Eat Well, Feel Better

Every year Dress for Success Vancouver sends women from our professional women’s group, the PWG, to the Success Summit held by Dress for Success Worldwide. This summit is for women who show exceptional leadership skills and it aims to empower them to give back to their community through a Community Action Project (CAP). In 2017, Maria Shylov attended the Success Summit in Arizona and this winter she proved her leadership capabilities by hosting a ten-week workshop that gave local women access to classes and resources to support their nutrition.

Here’s what Maria had to say about her CAP project: Nutrition on a Budget | Eat Well, Feel Better

Why did you choose nutrition as the focus of your CAP project?

Nutrition is what I am passionate about. It is an important aspect of my fitness regimen. During the CAP research, I discovered a need and interest for the clarity and education about nutrition. Too much contradicting information is out there – which is confusing and frustrating – and, resources are not readily available which makes eating well-balanced nutritious meals more difficult.

What did the sessions cover?

The sessions covered everything from Nutrition 101 and the Canada Food Guide to the effects of stress on digestion and how sugar affects us. We even had Andrea Holmes, a former Canadian Paralympic Athlete & bronze medalist share her inspiring story, and the challenges and obstacles she faced in order to achieve her goal of becoming an athlete.

What was it like creating the CAP project?

Creating a project from a scratch is nerve-wracking and intimidating at first. Understanding that challenges happen and not taking it personally is the key. My values and goals are what kept me focused and on task to make this project a success. Finding an amazing team of volunteers to support me, and this CAP project, was a tremendous bonus. When I envisioned this project, I saw participants from various catchments, uniting under one roof for one common goal – to learn about Nutrition On a Budget, to Eat Well and Feel Better, to obtain access to community resources and expand their support network. Seeing this project evolve into much more was incredible.

What were your favourite moments?

My favourite moments were building my CAP Committee of volunteers, collaborating with participants and community members to deliver required education, clarity and resources about nutrition to help and empower low income participants, learning about participants – their needs, goals and interests regarding healthy eating.

Did you have any success stories?

A gentleman, Mark, attended sessions regularly on behalf of his girlfriend Lili who works night shifts. Seeing him participate, take notes for girlfriend and be engaged was amazing. Also, Grace who is a single mother working night shifts. She would come from Surrey to attend workshops with her young son.

These are just a fraction of amazing stories of dedication to be a part of this project. I could not be more proud of this initiative, the amount of people it helped, and the amazing feedback it received!

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