International Women’s day is a celebration of women held globally on March 8 every year. This year, the Uintah Basin celebrates this holiday by giving women the highlight that they deserve by showcasing three inspirational women that have shown the world that everyone can make a difference, regardless of gender.
Self Care is the key to a great work ethic
Aaryn Birchell is a mother of three, winner of the State Teacher of the Year award for teaching at Uintah High School and a major advocator for self-care. She promotes taking breaks from stressful assignments, the students also reflect on things that they’re thankful for and she even has an oddly structured classroom.
Her classroom is designed in such a way that doesn’t just have regular school desks but also has standing desks for the antsy kids, has business desks for those who want to feel professional and library chairs for those that want to be comfortable. All of this is in the name of creating a welcoming environment.
“My classroom is intended to look this way because it’s interesting to the kids but it has a secret to it,” Birchell said, “all of these odd chairs and desks allow for each of the kids to pick how they want their learning environment to be.”
This advocacy of self-care shows just how effective loving oneself can go as her classroom average has been several points above the national average for several years, showing just how much of an extraordinary woman she is.
“I didn’t earn teacher of the year award by pounding information into kids’ heads,” she joked, “we do daily gratitudes, we have a moment of calm before class, these kids enjoy where they work in and that makes it easier for them to learn.”
Resourcefulness turned to greatness
Marcella Abrams is a woman from Moldova who had a dream to come to the United States. She learned English through television, she learned how to survive in a country with an entirely different culture and she rose to the occasion to adapt and become a hard-working woman in a place she dreamed to be in.
“All of this is because I had one little thought,” Abrams said, “the thought turns into a dream and then I pushed that into action and then I worked hard until that dream comes true.”
Marcella has always been working hard; she graduated from college with a bachelors degree in just 13 months, she substitute teaches at Terra Academy, she works a second job at Ross, she raises three kids and she’s a loving wife.
All of this seems like it would be impossible to handle but for Abrams, all of this seems like something she has to do to achieve her dreams.
"Juggling all of this gives me purpose. it gives me something to keep me busy because I don’t like not having a goal to work towards.”
All of these things add up to her resourcefulness, she has pushed herself hard enough while remaining in control of her life, giving her that edge that makes her an important woman in this world.
Advocating growth in adolescence rather than adulthood
“I do this so that I can get a better understanding of why we have so many people grow up to be nasty,” said Angel Mayes, a counselor at the Juvenile detention center and creator of the Color Me Dead Podcast, “the podcast is entirely separate from my job but it stems from that idea.”
Angel has been working in the center while juggling a true-crime podcast that she and her cohost, Nikki Merrell, produce, that releases episodes weekly and has been doing so for around 200 episodes as well as be a step-mother to two kids.
Angel has seen a lot of cases come in, both for her job and for her podcast and she uses these to make connections that many people who cover the genre aren’t able to make as well as give her insight into why the kids she comes across do the things they do.
“I see all these kids who come in who are frustrated at the people who are trying to help them, or they don’t understand empathy, or something along those lines,” Angel added, “I try my hardest to understand these behaviors because then I have the chance to stop something horrible from happening or maybe even make a good difference.”
Angel hopes to continue to do the podcast so that she can continue to make differences in people’s lives by using the skills she’s learned from analyzing real cases.
These women have all become figureheads within the community, giving power and inspiration to many of those that have interacted with them. These fantastic women have shown the world that everyone should be celebrated and loved while also setting the tone that women aren’t any different from their male counterparts.