Monday, October 27, 2014

Advocating for Better Health and More Effective Communication: Kelsey Smith, IMPACT Chicago Office Coordinator

My name is Kelsey Smith and I am the new IMPACT Chicago Office Coordinator. In this position, I will be coordinating the office and related program work to support IMPACT Chicago, including maintaining databases, website updates, scheduling, and working with volunteers.

My interest in IMPACT was sparked three years ago when Kaytea, then an IMPACT instructor with IMPACT Personal Safety of Colorado, and Sarah, Co-Director of IMPACT Personal Safety of Colorado, stayed in my apartment as guests of my roommate while they took the IMPACT Defense Against Multiple Assailants course. After their first day, we had dinner and began discussing IMPACT and its mission. The women invited my other roommates and me to their IMPACT ceremony the next day. I attended and it surely made an impact on my life. I truly believe that all people deserve to live a healthy and happy life. I immediately saw that IMPACT gives women the tools to do so in a world that challenges this right every day.

With the influence of IMPACT, I chose a psychology and gender studies degree while focusing my independent research on boundaries and assertiveness. In January 2013, when given the opportunity to create my own independent study, I found myself in San Francisco for a month and took the opportunity to integrate IMPACT Bay Area’s Basics course (similar to the IMPACT Chicago Core Program) with research on boundary setting. I continued this work for the next year and a half, writing my honor’s thesis on assertiveness, health, and gender socialization. Earlier this year, I received my B.A. in psychology from New College of Florida. My academic work has given me a deeper understanding of assertiveness, health, and gender socialization, a perspective I look forward to bringing to the work I will be doing with IMPACT Chicago.

In addition to my dedication to the IMPACT mission, I am also bringing skills that I have developed as a consistent volunteer over the past 12 years with Kamp Dovetail, an organization and camp for kids with disabilities. I have been organizing and communicating with campers, families, and potential donors for years, including managing the Facebook page, developing databases, and organizing fundraisers. I have extensive experience using Google Drive and teaching others how to use it. I am currently working with Planned Parenthood of Illinois and have prior experience as an intern with Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida and Manatee County Health Department and a volunteer with the Chicago Women’s Health Center. My commitment is to continue to work in collaboration with people and organizations striving for better health and more effective communication.

Kelsey Smith, IMPACT Chicago Office Coordinator

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