I've written a few times about CPRI - the treatment centre we go to that is 200km (124miles for my American friends)away from our home.
About a month ago I received an email inviting me to speak "for a short time" at the Volunteer Organization of CPRI (VOCPRI) annual fundraiser. This year they are trying something new - it is called Wine & Design and features interior designer and TV personality Tommy Smythe (Sarah Richardson’s aptly dubbed “design sidekick” in Sarah’s Cottage and Sarah's House - not sure if folks in the US or elsewhere get to see this show).
Anyhow - I had wanted to go to this event but wouldn't have been able to justify the travel and ticket cost (though how I would love to support CPRI even more than we do cause of all they have done for us but it's just not in the cards with me not being able to work). So when I got the request I was ready to say yes to support CPRI, then they threw in the fact that I could bring a guest which was very sweet and very much appreciated.
For someone who spends so much time in careful deliberation of so much of my life, I also have the tendency to act impulsively. I said yes almost immediately.
After I said yes, within 5 minutes I had posted this on Facebook:
really needs to learn to not respond so quickly to emails . . . rash decisions lead to wardrobe worries, stage fright and public discussions about her "puppies" :-)
The "puppies" part was because I had private messaged a friend (a highly stylish and amazing friend who loves to develop fundraisers and then dress up in gorgeous outfits to attend them and happens to be about the same size as I am) about wardrobe concerns and she accidentally posted on my Wall that of course I could "shop in her closet" and she thought she knew the perfect dress that would allow for my ample cleavage (her term was "puppies" LOL).
The event is this Thursday. I have spoken in front of groups before and actually public speaking doesn't usually bother me at all if I am comfortable with the task/topic. Even though I am a very anxious and shy person (I am nervous about any expectations of small talk before & after I speak!!!) I actually don't mind standing up in front of a crowd. To be truthful I would love to give presentations and workshops for a living. However, that's just a dream that I haven't actually shared with many people and I haven't done much to accomplish that dream. I have never done anything quite like this before.
I will have people's undivided attention for 3-5minutes. Doesn't sound long but I know that it is when you are in front of a room full of people. All the fundraiser people have asked me is to speak a little about our family and the services we have received, they are also wanting to raise general awareness about Children's Mental Health. I find it ironic that I have spent the last 9 years trying desperately (and often in vain) to get people to listen to me. Now I'm being asked to speak and given an open opportunity to focus it in anyway I choose.
It feels like a daunting task.
I want to make people really listen. I'd like to give them a glimpse into what it is like to live day in and day out with the struggles that families who travel to CPRI have to. I would like to challenge people to think a little harder about what they can do to help - whether it be to not be so quick to judge, to volunteer themselves in some way or (as is the point of the evening) to open their wallets and give generously.
I have 4 days (3 sleeps) to get something on paper. Tomorrow and Thursday I have to travel to CPRI for appointments. I still don't know what I am wearing and since I only own like 2 pair of shoes I think it's likely I will need to do some shopping. Basically today and Wednesday I have to pull this all together. Oh and our fabulous Home Support Worker is at training today and tomorrow and she comes in late Wednesday to be able to cover the evening for us.
I am open to any suggestions on what to say, what not to say and take a look at the event flyer and tell me what you think I should wear. The last time I went to a fundraiser was like, well, NEVER.