Wednesday’s Woman Saidat Vandenberg
Our Wednesday’s Woman for June 12th are three women doing incredible things in their communities.
Saidat has opened for the headliner Fergie. Made a music video for GoodLife Kids Foundation and on a weekly basis talks to hundreds of students and teachers. Whether she is speaking, singing or dancing, her message remains clear: One person can make a difference. Together we can change the world.
What began in 2004 as an idea for a classroom discussion has transformed into a high energy presentation that has been experienced by thousands of youth and community leaders in Canada and the United States.
A native of St. Paul , Minnesota, Saidat first developed a passion to help people find the dream in their heart through watching her mother care for her community by entertaining children in the neighbourhood through backyard activities and feeding them when they were hungry. Upon competition of high school, Saidat went on to attend seminary where she learned how to work with students at risk.
For the past 15 years she has been living in Canada working with youth groups, community organizations and schools to motivate each person to believe in their ability to affect change in their home, school and the world around them. In 2004 Saidat approached the Thames Valley District School Board in London, Ontario with a violence prevention presentation that includes music dance and drama to drive home the message of anti-bullying. The program has been well received in over 1000 schools and community events.
Saidat shares personal stories of struggle and triumph through her music and her message touches the lives of others. She knows all too well the affects of bullying and how one negative word can send you on a spiral of self-doubt if left unchecked. Once called a “black dog” by a neighbor made her feel ugly and worthless. “But when I decided not to allow the words of others to control who I am” I was able to overcome.” Saidat has also had to overcome obstacles in her life from learning to live with an autistic child to forgiving the man who killed her husband by a hit and run drunk driving accident.
Saidat’s ability to capture her audience with her contagious smile and high energy personality is what makes her messages memorable. Her presentation will allow each person to realize their potential to affect change. That you can live your passion. To think of your gift as part of who you are, not what you do. This can help each person achieve their goals.
When talking about bullying, Saidat will motivate teachers, parents and community leaders alike to use their uniqueness to reach their child or students. That you do not have to be an expert, famous or have a particular social status to make a difference. The first step is to CARE.