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grown men and women have been known
to fail at, and weep. Yet, the achievement
she is most proud of is completing the
2014 UWI half-marathon, in two hours and
35 minutes. "I never stopped," she says
proudly. "And no walking."
The feeling she was left with was so amaz-
ing, so exhilarating, that she was driven to
share it with other women. Her solution?
Yes She Can! "It inspired me to promote
wellness in women, in terms of fitness,
healthy eating, and self-care. There are
days when you get up and it's difficult,
sure, but there are also times when it
feels good. It's a full transformation, of
your spirit, of your way of thinking."
Yes She Can has struck a nerve with
women, and since its creation on Interna-
tional Woman's Day this year, the Face-
book page has garnered over a thousand
followers. Women are tuning in, and sign-
ing on, in droves. "People are saying to me,
'Roberta, I got on my treadmill today', or,
'Roberta, you HAVE to send me that
The page is loaded with tips and advice,
and conversations between women shar-
ing their experiences. Collins posts
monthly challenges, such as April's 30-
Day/30-Mile challenge. Women were in-
vited to cover 30 miles in any way they
desired: running, walking, tap-dancing...any-
thing. They posted photos of their dis-
tance-tracking devices, and Collins collated
their distances and posted the totals every
day, to keep everyone encouraged.
"A 62-year-old woman crossed 135 miles.
A mother and daughter team in Texas
took up the challenge, and the daughter
asked for a gym membership for her 13th
birthday. A group of women in Palmiste
who started by meeting and walking on
Wednesdays still continue, even after the
challenge was complete."
Although Yes She Can is essentially a one-
woman show, Collins is finding that her
enthusiasm is infectious, and women who
are in a position to help are offering their
services. Women's counselling psycholo-
gist, Oraine Ramoo, has lent her support,
posting an encouraging and enlightening
video in support of this month's theme,
"Thirty-one ways to self-care." Yoga In-
structor Renee Rampersadsingh of Anu-
graha Yoga has also come on board and
shared tips to encourage women. Collins
says that she has even gotten support
from O2 Oxygen Productions in creating
the motivational videos posted on the
For the month of May, participants are in-
vited to share how their self-care experi-
ences have affected them each day. "I
want it to be a positive space, free of neg-
ativity." She explains that she is a gluten-
free vegan, who avoids processed foods.
"But I don't pass judgment on others."
The Yes She Can Page radiates with good-
will and positive vibes, and just visiting is
enough to lift your spirits. Clicking through,
you feel embraced, understood, and en-
couraged, infused not just with Collins'
warmth and enthusiasm, but with a small
part of every woman who visits, and every
woman who shares.
It's real, it's honest, and destined for great-
ness. Trust me: if you're female, and you're
on Facebook, this page is for you. As
Collins explains, "I'm excited. I get more ex-
cited when more and more women come
on board. Our purpose is to Motivate, Ac-
tivate, Celebrate." And I think she can.
By Roslyn Carrington
I ARRIVE MORE THAN AN HOUR EARLY
for my interview, so I sit at a table in the
empty food court and catch up on some
work, nibbling on my breakfast as I go. I'm
so early, the cleaning staff are now going
through their paces.
A woman skirts close to my table, and as she
passes, she smiles at me and says Good
Morning. I smile back and respond, pleased at
being acknowledged by a random stranger in
a public place. She keeps on walking, and I
watch her as she leaves. Two words flash
through my mind: "fitness" and "grace."
At the appointed hour, a shadow falls over
my table. I look up, and it's my smiley-good-
morning lady, still smiling. I realise she's the
woman I am supposed to meet. Roberta
Rose Collins sits down and says, "I came
early, too, but I saw you working, and didn't
want to disturb you."
I think, yeah, you and I are going to get along
just fine. The founder of Yes She Can, an
NGO devoted to encouraging women to
push back the boundaries of their personal
expectations, begins to talk. "At my heaviest,
I was about 170 pounds. I was never in-
volved in sports. I just gained weight over
But a diagnosis of Celiac Disease changed
all that, forcing her to pay stringent atten-
tion not just to her diet, but to her level of
activity. "I started out walking with my hus-
band before work, close to my office in
Quinam." The Administrative Manager at
the Caribbean Sport and Development
Agency (CSDA) then decided to up the ante
and joined a gym. "I couldn't even run for
two minutes on a treadmill," she confessed
with a laugh. "It was challenging."
A good personal trainer made all the differ-
ence, and what happened next was amazing.
"I went from being afraid to try anything, to
signing up for and completing Hardcore
Caribbean." This, for the uninitiated, is one of
the most gruelling obstacle courses and en-
durance challenges open to amateurs, which
4 | WOW MAGAZINE
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