This past Wednesday, I had the honor of giving my very first ever Girls Fight Back presentation at the Industries for the Blind here in my hometown. I worried so much before I got there. I worried about offending the girls I would be speaking to, I worried about not being able to present the information in a way that would be effective for them, I just worried… A LOT!
I presented to a small group of girls with varying degrees of vision capabilities who were a part of the IFB’s Summer Camp Experience. When I arrived, they were chowing down on pizza and laughing about their morning adventure visiting a local farm. I got set-up and started talking to the girls about the program.
Within 10 minutes of starting the presentation, I stopped worrying. I stopped because these girls had already interjected a dozen or more personal stories and asked what felt like a hundred questions. I realized that the desire to learn and the yearning to tell our own stories transcends our differences.
The gig was a huge hit with the girls and their teacher even asked if I would be willing to come back and teach the staff at IFB!
On Saturday, I presented two programs back to back. One for teens at a local teen club and one for mommies at a local church. Doing two gigs in a row like that was tough! But once I got started, I found all this energy rushing into me. Both were a great success and I couldn’t believe the amazing response I got from all the participants.
You would think that I couldn’t find three groups with greater differences than these. I mean, high school girls, mommies, and teenagers with varying degrees of blindness, what do they have in common? But after each presentation, at least one audience member approached me to express their fears. One young girl at IFB said that she lived in fear of being out after dark. One teen told me there was a certain street near her house that she didn’t dare walk down alone. A couple of mommies talked about spending thousands of dollars on high tech alarm systems, but still being overwhelmed by the fear that someone might snatch their children away from them at the mall, grocery store or local park.
As women, we all live with these fears. Fears that were passed down to us by our mothers and their mothers before them. This week, in a brilliant article in the Huffington Post, writer Ellen Snortland (author of Beauty Bites Beast) suggests that we put an end to this legacy of fear by creating instead a legacy of safety. Along with some awesome safety tips and a sweet shout-out to Girls Fight Back, she argues that self-defense training should be a mandatory part of getting a driver’s license. What do you think? Check out the article here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-snortland/license-to-live-time-to-m_b_253316.html and leave us your thoughts in the comments!