I met Tanya Gordon when I started volunteering to teach yoga at a community center in Allison Hill in Harrisburg, PA. Allison Hill is not the fanciest part of town, but I found some treasures there, like Tanya, who was the Executive Director of the Allison Hill Community Center. Tanya also has a non-profit called Empower Ink, which works with teenage girls to empower them and expose them to a wider world. I really admire Tanya’s work, her wisdom, and her dedication in spite of community dysfunction.
Tanya exemplifies tolerance and the ability to consensus, focusing on what brings us together rather than what divides us. She is Canadian, blank, raised by a Jamaican mom and beautiful proof that the color of your skin is only skin deep. She tirelessly works behind the scenes with youth of all colors, to show them that there are lots of opportunities in this wide world to follow your dreams.
Q: I know you moved from CT to PA to follow a dream. Can you tell me about your vision?
TG: My vision was to create a community center that was state of the art and addressed all the disparities a neighborhood/City was facing. I wanted to create a place that could guarantee change. My vision evolved into creating a program that helped our young ladies realize their beauty and strength through service and leadership. We all need help in transforming and finding our “why”.
Q: What do you think that everyone should know?
TG: You cannot change people, you can offer opportunity for change BUT change is a choice.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
TG: I wake up every day knowing as long as I am here I can make a difference. I am inspired by small things. The girls I work with inspire me. When I see them apply something I taught them they inspire me to not give up on my dream.
Q: What scares you?
TG: I am scared that our young ladies will never understand their value. There is only so much of me to go around and I am scared that we will spend so much time throwing money at society as a small fix instead of realizing the truth strength is in our girls, our youth, our future.