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This week, I had the pleasure and honor of speaking to women at a local shelter. First of all, I must say, these women are amazing and very gracious. I felt well-received by the staff and residents. I am greatly looking forward to more opportunities with this particular organization. I'd like to take a minute to share a few behind-the-scenes moments and things leading up to this opportunity.
As a child, I wanted to be an advocate for the underdog. That's all I knew at the time. As a pre-teen, I would stand on street corners and protest abortion. (Please, do not hold it against me, now.) As a young adult, I volunteered at a local deaf community, public school and homeless shelter. These are all good things but there was one thing lacking. It wasn't until I hit the age of 29 that I realized what that one missing ingredient might be. Experience.
Regardless of the fact that I've been a single mother for seven years, I found myself very anxious about meeting other women in similar situations. Why? I believe it's human nature to feel isolated in times of crises. However, it's the one thing I was lacking in my early years. Thanks to encouraging friends and family, I put my thoughts aside and shared my story. No one has all the answers but there's something very comforting in meeting other people who are walking in the same shoes. There's a strength that's derived from knowing you're not alone. I stayed up until 5:30AM working on my presentation and on the day of my speaking engagement, I woke up at 4AM. I didn't want to waste their time (or mine for that matter.) I had hoped, at least one woman would feel encouraged.
I left the shelter feeling both heavy-hearted, and happy. The women I met were such an encouragement to keep trucking along. I've been at it longer but that's the only difference. These women are strong, beautiful and intelligent. I hope to bring a greater awareness to the community. Women and children of abuse need to feel confident and supported in their endeavor to seek freedom.