Posts Tagged ‘community service’

Last night I attended the Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction Awards as a nominee. The nominees were truly an amazing group of women. I was truly impressed with the achievements and passion of the group.  I recognized that, collectively, there were many world changers sharing the stage with me.

I did suffer some chemical sensitivity issues early in the evening, especially when we were sent into a tiny room, where the newly perfumed women were gathered to practice going on the stage. Oxygen at maximum was not stopping the symptoms of watery eyes, extreme irritability, inability to concentrate and the strong feeling of a need to escape. The inner me was trying to stay calm but the inner me disappears and the animal me comes to the fore. Lucky for me, my dear (and I cannot emphasize this word enough), dear, dear friend, Dr. Lynn Elen Burton, acting as attendant (and she is not that kind of doctor, she’s an academic) was with me trying to stave off the reactions she has seen up close. Fortunately, in their wisdom (or was it due to Lynn’s pleasant attentiveness to the situation and her ability to communicate with the volunteers?) those in charge allowed me to wait by the ramp rather than repeating my entrance and exit from this little room.

From that point on, the evening was delightful. I was flanked by my scent-free friends on both sides through the dinner. Long time friends Lynn, and her husband Mario Piamonte, former Anmore Village Councillor, attended to my every need at my right. On my left,  Joe Trasolini, MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam and Gray Giovannetti. With tickets to the event at $200.00 each, most of my friends were eliminated from participation. How lucky I was to have these four with me!

It is easy to become caught up in the competition when the reality of the event is quite simple. It has two purposes. It is to raise awareness and much-needed funding for the wonderful programs for women sponsored by the YWCA. And, in doing so, this night of celebration raises awareness of some of the women in our community who are truly outstanding in several ways. These are identified as:

1. Breaking new ground or old barriers
2. Showing vision, creativity and initiative
3. Being a leader and role model
4. Guiding, supporting and encouraging the development of others
5. Participating actively as a volunteer
6. Being recognized by her community for her contributions (i.e. awards, accolades)

I am truly grateful for the recognition and the opportunity to participate.

I delight in the fact that I am able to involve myself deeply in community work. Elsewhere in MY BLOG or in the film made about me by Glenn terBorg, you will see that there was a time in my life when this kind of community participation was just not possible. DOING is a privilege! Not everyone gets the opportunity in life to know that. I am lucky. I know that each breath, each small thing I can do, is a pleasure to be savoured.

Washing dishes – no longer a chore, I enjoy the fact that it is something I CAN DO. So imagine the delight when I managed to convince the gang at TEDxSFU that I had skills they needed. It took a few tries, but eventually, with my positive persistence, I managed to convince Jason Wong that I am a good networker and a fine “community animator” for social networking. They didn’t really need someone for these jobs, but eventually some holes emerged, and here I am, part of a dynamic YOUNG team. The event is only two weeks away. I think it will be amazing.

I have met none of these people in the flesh, but with telephones, SKYPE, email and lots of effort and imagination, I can feel the energy that exudes. TEDxSFU is going to be one of those don’t miss events. And not to worry if you are not in the live audience… It will be webcast. The talks will be filmed. Our dream is that TED will pick up a few and share them with the world. We KNOW we have the calibre of speakers that will WOW TEDsters, TEDophiles, TED-lovers everywhere.

Meanwhile, I am looking for the ultimate red chair, black table and matching decorator lamp as a loaner for the stage. The stage measures about 10 feet by 4 feet (it’s small). Sophistication and simplicity would be the dream combination. Acknowledgment in the program would be the reward. Any takers?

Contact me!  info@elainewillis.ca Time is SHORT!