What fun, attending the Muskoka Pride Celebration in downtown Huntsville.
Michelle Emson, a dear friend, advocate and just a really great person was on stage
in her fabulous butterfly dress, sharing her message. I asked Michelle why this was an important celebration:
Prides everywhere are so important in order to raise visibility and awareness, and also to build community; to let people know, ‘hey, we’re just humans!’ And come on out and party with us, because we have fun!
I add: “Inclusion, rights, respect… and fun!”
Michelle: “Yes and there is a whole week of activities! So join in if you can,
and if not this year, this is an annual event in communities everything!"
Thank you, Michelle, for all that you do to help others have a voice, for supporting people everywhere so they know they are not along and to know it’s okay to be who they are. We all deserve the opportunity to be our authentic selves. We all deserve…
Inclusion, rights, respect… and fun! FOR EVERYONE!!!!!
*Michelle spends much of her time advocating for rights for people globally.
You can check out her website and see some of her amazing, tireless work and
even her documentaries here.
I had the honour of attending the Muskoka Seniors Gala, which was an incredible event;
over 170 people dressed in their finest plaid, great food, awesome music, fabulous decorations and prizes… the works. What were they celebrating?
People of all ages who give of their time to volunteer for seniors!
With laughter and activity all around us, I took a few minutes to chat with Donna Nairn,
one of the Directors and Barb Mooney, a long-time volunteer. I asked Donna why this was an important event and what the volunteers mean to the community:
Donna: “Muskoka Seniors has a small staff. The volunteers provide the service in the community. Without them, we couldn’t do the work that we do. With this event we celebrate and thank them for what they contribute.” What did they contribute?
*5,473 Meals served at Friendship Luncheons
*6,968 Units of transportation were provided
*4,695 Meals on Wheels delivered
*13,509 Telephone Calls – Friendly Visits
*89 Free Income Tax Returns e-filed
*20,434 hours of recorded volunteer service!!
This is incredible and also makes an important message very clear; anyone can contribute!
We don’t all have to carry the 10 pound bags of potatoes! You can make call or visit.
Barb adds, “That’s right. Just be there!”
I asked Barb why she loved being a volunteer. She shared: “Because I get to see the same people each month and they look forward to my visit. And I look forward to seeing them too!”
I have to add my two cents: “With volunteering, you get as much as you give, if not more!
It just makes you feel so great; just listening, just being present.” Barb enthusiastically
agrees with an “Absolutely!”
Donna shares that there are seniors helping seniors and young people helping seniors too. There is something for everyone.
Our volunteer programs have allowed people, particularly seniors, to have meaning and purpose in life by giving to each other, whatever “gifts” they may have.
Could you volunteer, a little time here and there?
You can make a difference!
We often visit our cousins and their four amazing daughters; six year old Elyse
and seven year old triplets, Giavanna, Brielle and Vivienne.
The girls and I talked about what might make someone sad, and that it can be uncomfortable
and how they could Just Show Up. Here’s how our conversation went:
Me: “Thanks for being here ladies. We were talking about some things that might make someone you love or care about sad. What could make someone sad?
Elyse: “When you trip and skin your knee.” (Yes, that hurts!)
Gia: “When you get stuck in a tree and you’re very very sad! (Or scared!)
Brielle: “When your dog dies.” (Or someone you love dies!)
Viv: “When you get stepped on.” (Embarrassed or hurt)
Me: “Good answers! So we can’t always fix things but maybe we can help people to feel better. What can we do?”
Girls: “Just Show Up!!”
Me: Right! How can we Just Show Up?
Elyse: “Like, if something breaks you can just replace it with the same thing but it’s new!”
(Sure, that’s a great idea… if you can!)
Gia: “You can read them a book to keep them calm, so they don’t get really really sad again!”
(I think that’s a wonderful idea! Read them a book to keep them calm and then
you’re spending time with them too. Wonderful!)
Brielle: “You can kiss them…giggle giggle! (You CAN kiss them and you can laugh with them. That’s another great idea, or hug too!)
Viv: “You could sing to them.” (Yes, that could make somebody feel better!)
Me: “So, we can’t fix it and somebody might still be sad, but you know what, all we need to do is three words…
Girls yell: “Just Show Up!”
That’s right. Thank you ladies.
You have your bracelets to remind you to
Just Show Up for yourself first,
to Just Show Up for others and to share the message.
Yvonne Heath is a Canadian leader, Inspirational Speaker, Blogger, Television Host, Author and Creator of the #IJustShowedUp campaign.