Kate Dempsey - a voice for victims
Kate Dempsey originally applied to sit on the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, but her application through Engage PEI spurred an even better fit for her.
Instead – based on her experience and qualifications – she was appointed to the Victim Services Advisory Committee, a good match considering her background working with vulnerable and diverse populations. Whether working in a homeless shelter, with Canada World Youth, or working in the male-dominated profession of carpentry, Kate knows how it feels to be marginalized.
“I have worked with women in conflict with the law, homeless women, young women, LGBTQ communities, women in trades, and women who face barriers to education,” said the 34 year old. “Everyone is an expert in their own experience, and only they know how they’ve been impacted by it. It is empowering to for people be heard and have their experiences validated by a community.”
Engage PEI helps Islanders apply to volunteer on more than 70 provincial government agencies, boards, and commissions.
When applying for a position, Dempsey suggests people should keep an open mind and check off the ‘I would consider other boards’ box on the application. There may be a need for certain skills on other boards besides the one that originally catches your attention, which is how she got her position.
The St. John’s, Newfoundland native came to Prince Edward Island eight years ago on a six-month contract with Canada World Youth. She has a degree in women’s and cultural studies from Trent University and was tasked with placing Island youth with their exchanges in countries across the globe.
Kate met her wife Josie here in PEI, and says she has no plans to leave.
“I have lots of experiential learning and non-formal education as well,” she said. She still puts her cabinetmaking skills to work, and recently built a countertop from an antique oak door for her neighbour over the holidays.
Kate also sings second soprano in Sirens – an all-women’s choir – and loves chorale and folk music. She and Josie were also instrumental in creating the live-action game PEI Escape Room on Prince Street, a fundraiser for the Voluntary Resource Center.
“It’s important to be involved in these processes and be engaged in things happening in your community,” she said.