As a new board member of the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, I very much feel like I am still learning the lay of the land. Recently, I attended the signature event for the Women’s Center, Dream, Girl! You might be wondering what is Dream, Girl? This is what I knew going in:
- An evening of celebration, delectable desserts and beverages (I was sold on chocolate)
- Wear a dress (Sold! I love to dress up for special occasions)
- A intern and client from the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing will tell their stories (bring tissues)
- The winner of the Tribute to Women Award is announced
What actually happened at the event was something I could never have anticipated. I settled in my seat as the Emcee began and looked around the room. Young boys were there supporting their Moms (they may have been threatened or bribed to attend, but they were there!), husbands and male coworkers where there supporting the women in their lives. The room was a buzz with laughter and energy! It goes without saying, that getting women to show up to an event supporting women is an easy sell, but to have men there showing their support and pride, well that, is something to smile about. As I took in the room, I couldn’t help but smile even more, the room was filled with women of all backgrounds and ages, nodding their heads and affirming together what they were hearing.
I will never forget what I heard a client of the Women’s Center say, “Abuse comes in many forms, emotional, financial, physical….” At that moment I connected with exactly what she was talking about. I understood her pain, the difficulty it took to stand up there and share her story. It takes courage to share with others what you have been through. And courage is very much what that night was all about. The Emcee announced and read the stories of each of the women who were nominated for the Tribute to Women Award. Each and every one of those women in their own way, exhibited, and drew on courage to climb wall after wall that life placed in the way.
As the keynote speaker gave her address she talked about the importance of finding how your soul expresses itself. You find how your soul expresses itself by being able to go to a place that only you can take yourself there. When you go to that place no one can take that away from you. That is yours and yours only. Talk about powerful! So I sat there and felt the room nodding in agreement, saying yes, yes, you are right! I thought how does my soul express itself? I realized it does in a few different ways, running, writing, being by the water and with animals. When I am doing those things I am in my own unique element. I feel alive. I made a promise to myself right then and there, do one thing each day that expresses your soul.
Dream, Girl! is by far the best event I have been to in a very long time. We go about our daily lives in routine, flitting from one task to the next, checking off our to-do lists. I don’t know about you, but in my daily routine I don’t always take time to hit pause, to be inspired or in awe of something. That night I did just that. I was inspired and in awe of the common bond that drew all those women together. That had us nodding in agreement and saying yes, we feel you! We may not have gone through that exact challenge, but we do understand. I never been more proud to be a woman then I was in that moment. Finally, I felt like I was not the only one. Not the only one to question the system in place, to challenge myself and others and to have leaped through hurdle and after hurdle. It is that common bond that inspires and pushes me to raise $30,000 in support of two organizations that help women do just that, find their place and learn they are not the only one.
To learn more about the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing, click here.
To learn more about the Michigan Food & Farming System, click here.