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Page 59


Rachel Horsley

My name is Rachel. I am a person who is moved deeply by the world. Throughout my career I spent my time following my heart to make social change and to help people who are in vulnerable situations become safe and stable, reach their dreams, and their goals. Helping to make the world a safer, healthier, and more balanced place for everyone has been central to my existence, my whole life. Having grown up in poverty, I know how limiting and excluding it can be. Having grown up with a single parent living with mental illness, I know what stress and trauma looks like, as a kid who doesn't know necessarily what's going to happen next. In that work, my hands held hands, gave reassuring touch, wrote funding proposals, and developed meaningful programming. After contributing most of my career, to these endeavors, I had a significant head injury, which made it not possible for me to continue to work with the same level of vigor, consistency and concentration that I did in the past. That led me to yoga. Yoga, increased my capacity, made me more resilient, made me healthier, and inspired me to bring yoga to more people who need what it has to offer. Then the invasion of Ukraine happened, and everything stopped for me. I was raised in North Bay, the home of NORAD. We heard air raid sirens regularly as they were tested to ensure that we would have warning before we were hit by Russian missiles. Not sure how they expected that to help, because as the second target in North America, it was unlikely that any of us would survive. Obviously when the invasion of Ukraine turned into a reality after months of watching the potential unfold, that was terrifying and also very, very sad. I was worried about the future of the whole world and also worried about every individual person, pet, every family, every household, every best friend. That moved me and my partner to take action immediately. My team and I create tools to help hosts and Ukrainians build a life here help them understand how families can work together to share space and be successful. Our lovely Ukrainian guests have now arrived, and my focus is on using my hands and heart to help them. We cook, we make pysanky, we hug, we apply for jobs. These hands care. These hands work to help vulnerable people. These hands give comfort. These hands give great hugs. Above all, these hands profound gratitude in all they do. Ukrainian Settlement Helpers Ottawa

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