Tessa Penich

What drives Tessa to push for a Calgary where there is Enough for All

"Born and raised in Southern Alberta, I first became involved in community activism and advocacy as an undergraduate student at the University of Lethbridge. Armed with an academic understanding of systemic inequality, I jumped into non-profit work after graduation, beginning as a crisis counsellor in a domestic violence shelter. I quickly learned two important lessons: first, that the lived experiences of real people were far more complicated than any academic article had articulated, and second, how much poverty shaped and constrained the lives of these women fleeing violence.

After a year of frontline work, my love for research led me to graduate school in Ottawa. When I finished my degree, I knew I wanted to return to my home province and work for an organization that was working to change the system and meaningfully improve the lives of Albertans.

Enough for All is special because it acknowledges the complexity of poverty: its roots in systems of oppression like racism, colonialism, and ableism, the multiple structural barriers that individuals face, and the collective effort it requires to undo these entrenched systems. At the same time, that complexity doesn’t mean poverty is inevitable or is impossible to eliminate. I’m grateful to work for Vibrant Communities Calgary and to help further the goal of ending poverty. There is enough for all."

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