Award alumni on building resilience

There’s an analogy about our current world situation right now that feels quite relevant: we are all in individual boats while battling the same storm. 

That’s why our individual responses to the pandemic are so, well, individual. Conversations with alumni from each of BC Achievement’s programs have revealed a myriad of responses on survival during the pandemic. While some are continuing to create art as usual from a home studio, others may have paused their businesses, while even more alumni are charging forward with their art, business, or supporting local organizations and their communities. 

Indigenous Business Awardee, Denise Halfyard has pivoted from floral design to creating beautiful beaded jewellery, connecting with her Wet’suwet’en, Tsimshian and Gitxsan culture. Mary Anne Cooper, 2020 Community Award recipient, says that hard work, perseverance and appreciating community connectedness are the keys to getting through tough times and she continues to advocate for a community space in the historic Ioco townsite. Applied Art + Design awardee Claudia Schulz has expanded her hat making to creating stylistic face masks. It’s a wonderful combination of design and creativity meeting a business and health need. 

Psychologists from the American Psychology Association define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. Resilience is like a muscle, we all have it, but the more you use it, the faster and stronger your response gets. It becomes important to build resilience which allows us to get through challenging circumstances, but it also empowers us to grow and improve our lives along the way. Somehow it makes our boat in the storm a little less rocky. 

Each alum we’ve connected with has shared stories which reflect how they’ve built resilience during these last two months. What seemed like a challenge a few months ago has become a way-of-life. And, although they may not know it, each person is strengthening their respective ‘muscle’ – the resilience one – which will serve them well in the months to come.