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Melise Sears: Cultivating Change and Community in the Peace Region

Melise Sears: Cultivating Change and Community in the Peace Region

In the heart of Northwestern Alberta, Melise Sears stands as a remarkable force, weaving a tapestry of positive change within the Peace Region. Her journey, rooted in decades of service, community engagement, and resilience, reflects a commitment to giving back that goes beyond professional boundaries.

Melise's relationship with the Peace Region is a lifelong bond, dating back to her family's relocation from Ontario in 1976. Since then, she has not only lived and worked in the region but has become an integral part of its fabric. As a Speech-Language Pathologist serving communities since 1995, Melise's impact extends to the very core of Northwestern Alberta.

Rooted in a family that prioritized improvement, service, and community building, Melise's journey has shaped her personal growth and sense of purpose. She firmly believes that communities thrive when individuals give back, an ethos ingrained in her from an early age, "I have always felt a call to return the kindness and generosity people have paid to me in my life," she shares. For Melise, paying it forward is not just a principle; it's a way of life.

In 1998, Melise and her husband felt a cosmic pull towards Habitat for Humanity. Inspired by the organization's mission, they sought out a local chapter in Grande Prairie and joined forces. Every time they handed over the keys to a Habitat for Humanity house, the experience was both gratifying and humbling. Melise vividly recalls the transformative journey of a family escaping war, witnessing their children now running successful businesses in Grande Prairie—a testament to the lasting impact of community support.

As a mentor to young women in her 30+ year career as an SLP, she has positively supported rehabilitation professionals, teachers, and educational assistants. Her husband attests to her ability to connect with people in various settings, a quality reflected in her current venture—managing and running a gym, Vigor Community Fitness.

Vigor Community Fitness is a venture she and her husband invested resources in and where she currently volunteers. The gym has become a hub for a diverse group of individuals seeking positive changes in their physical and mental health.

Melise acknowledges life's challenges, from managing a family and career to facing cancer diagnoses within her family. However, she emphasizes that these challenges are not extraordinary but part of the shared human experience. Managing them with security, Melise recognizes the privilege not afforded to everyone.

Melise believes in the transformative power of educated and empowered women in communities. Serving as a role model and mentor, she emphasizes the importance of women supporting each other. "You need to see it to be it," she asserts, highlighting the role of representation in building the next generation of leaders.

For Melise, the most important qualities a woman can possess to make an impact are compassion and empathy—qualities she embodies in every facet of her community engagement.

Melise draws inspiration from her mother, a school principal in Grande Prairie for 25 years, who left an indelible mark on the lives of many adults and children in the community.

As part of the '30 Women for 30 Years' campaign, Melise imparts a timeless message: "I believe in service above self. However, I also believe that 'You cannot give from an empty vessel; to give to others, you must fill yourself.'" This Chinese proverb encapsulates her legacy—a legacy of service, compassion, and the profound understanding that genuine impact starts with a full heart.

In the vast expanse of the Peace Region, Melise Sears has become a beacon of positive change, an advocate for service, and a catalyst for community building. Her journey, marked by resilience, compassion, and a dedication to uplifting others, inspires us all to make a difference in the communities we call home.

To learn more about 30 Women for 30 Years or to nominate a woman who you think has made an impact in the Peace Region, click here.