Wednesday, December 5, 2012

GTOC Blog #30 A Time to Engage.

A Time to Engage
December 2012
·        Veronica Hendrick-Lockyer, Spokesperson
·        Why GTOC Was Created
·        The GTOC Coaching Program
·        Rose Hall, A Home For Women in Prince Edward County
·        Little Theresa’s House, A Home for Women in Belleville
·        Furniture Friend.ze & Furniture Bank
·        Farm Friend.ze
·        A Public Awareness Campaign
·        The Community’s Role
·        Veronica The Storyteller, Our International Children 

It is my greatest of pleasures to be invited here today to talk with you.
·       To explain to you why GTOC has been created.
·       To detail for you how our coaching program supports women’s efforts.
·       To let you know the status of our various projects.
·       To discuss where you can assist GTOC in positively affecting this social issue.
Do you remember as a child, the dreams we believed?  We believed in Fairytales....We cheered Cinderella and Prince Charming....we cried with Bambie....We believed in Super Heros...Wonder Woman, Spiderman....Batman.......
As a matter of fact, WE believed in the impossible. 

One day we are introduced to the Boogey Man....and then, oh we believe in the Boogey Man....we check under the bed before going to sleep, we carefully close all the closet doors before we turn out the light and  we run the double step up the basement stairs....because YES, we can see him so vividly....WE believe!

We grow up…Our fears and our dreams change.....but we still fact eventually WE believe in ourselves!!  We remember when we sat on Daddy's knee and he told us we could be ANYTHING we ever wanted to be!! It was no different than sitting on Santa's lap and knowing he would deliver .... There was never a doubt....we believed.

Do you remember sitting on Daddy's knee and believing.....YOU could be ANYTHING you wanted?

Now look at yourself today.  Did you become what you believed you could be?  Did you?  How about you?

Some of us have.  Some of us haven't.   Some of us simply stopped believing.  Why? Can you imagine what it feels like to suddenly realize, you don't believe in our world, our people....that you don't believe in you?

There can be a million reasons why we stop believing we can be and do whatever we want in this world.  Sometimes it is self inflicted through self doubt and we simply stop trying.
Sometimes we meet someone, they become our ALL and we lose ourselves.
Sometimes we actually meet the real boogey man and simply surviving is our greatest need to believe.

Eventually in our lives, many of us need to restart.  There are many more of us than we could imagine.  Only restarting isn't as simple as when you were starting out as a child.  As a child you had those around you to teach you love, support, and dreams. Restarting must start from within.  You must dig deep and you must find the you who used to believe.

So restarting is a journey....let's look at what is involved in this all depends on where you are in your life version of starting I will detail mine......and mine is gentle compared to most I regularly encounter...

1.   On the day I found out my "spark" , my will to be alive, was about to dim permanently....after 18 years of learning to hide......I stood up.
2.  Terrified I confided in my most trusted Mom.
3.  My Mom told me to stand up for what I was there to do that, I had to protect me.
4.  I was lucky....I was the mother bear protecting her young. Many women must stand up who have no children, or their children are already grown.  It is more difficult for them.
5.  I learned to play the survival game.
6.  I learned to duck, I learned to bob & I learned to weave.....I learned all of this, because I believed in my protect my babies.
7.  I learned the game of chess....I learned to negotiate....I learned to take control of boundaries.
8.  I learned to say no.
9.  I learned that rape was rape, irregardless of circumstances and relationship.
10. I learned that abuse was abuse, irregardless of physical, mental or emotional.
11. I learned.....I had a voice....I had the will....AND  I had the right to say "NO"
12. and most importantly,...I learned that my children had these same matter what the circumstances.

13.  I  had  to learn to say no to someone I trusted to take care of not only me,....I trusted to take care of our children.

I learned that sometimes, the Boogey Man is the person we thought we trusted most in this world.

And so I dug in deep and I stood up to face our Boogey Man.  As a result, the father of my children, my husband, abandoned us.  In fact he moved to the other side of the world.  Having never been on my own, never mind on my own with 4 young children I was terrified yet relieved to be freed from the unspeakable life the children and I had endured.
First was survival.  Feed my children. Provide a roof over their heads. Provide warmth. Provide safety.

Like most women, I hid our circumstances until I collapsed with starvation.  I was working 3 jobs and could not afford the babysitters, food, mortgage, heat, hydro, telephone, car, insurance.....or …Christmas.

I worked so much that I became ill.  Following a long bout with Scarlet Fever, I stood up again.  I felt as of I had been kicked for my efforts.  Still, I stood stronger.  I moved forward.  I had to learn, one of the scariest lessons in ask for help....

So what happened with my children?  They were of course my prime concern, yet I rotated babysitters to accommodate the need for me to work three jobs to pay for food, home & transportation.  There are things "safe" children take for granted in life.  There are things my children were required to "overcome" "surpass" and "deliver" .
1.  Food.  Sometimes, the  condiments were the meal.
2.  Home.  We didn't invite friends over because we didn't have real meals, We didn’t have tv.  We didn't have internet.  We didn't have amenities.  We barely had heat.
3.  Rumours.  Small towns, small neighborhoods, closed minds are difficult.  Children, hear their parents.  Children hear what their parents gossip.  Children repeat what they hear to the other kids at school.  My children came home ashamed, because of the raging rumors discussed openly by neighborhood parents.
4.  School trips.....they are not necessities....and as a child, .if at first you ask and then your mother cries because she cannot provide..... you never ask again.  Did your children ever have to stay home while their classmates went to the frink centre?  It's not much to some... but .it is the world to others/
5.  Lunches.  Sometimes lunches were slim.  When supper is peanut butter, can we have jam for lunch?  What if jam makes you ill?  Ever had a horseradish sandwich?  My children, know what a horseradish sandwich is....because it is better than a jam sandwich when you cannot afford margerine.
6.  Bullies:  My children learned to stand and either fight back or endure.  Some did one, some did the other.  When children do not  have the "supportive presence" of a parent....ever,.....the bullies begin.  The children don't want to discuss horrible school torments with their Mom who they don't see till 11pm each night....they want to hug their Mom.  They have missed something important... time with. their Mom.

Life wasn’t horrible, we were free, but it was unnecessarily difficult.  What we expect amongst the working poor became a normal to us.  I for one never thought I would ever be categorized with the "welfare people" or the "working poor" yet  I have been both now for 9 years.

Have you ever gone to the bathroom and thought....conserve the squares....tomorrow there will be no toilet paper, so conserve the squares?
Have you ever not drank the bottles water, so your children could?
Have you ever had to approach a boss on pay day and beg for your pay cheque because there was no food left,...not even condiments and the kids were home .... waiting for food ?
Have you ever come home with no pay cheque, because your boss discounted the amount you would receive from welfare thinking it was fair to decided on your behalf that your minimum wage job was too much for her to pay when you already received you worked for less than minimum wage so that she could take her kids on a holiday instead of paying you?

These are only a few of the indignities I had to learn my lessons on, so:

This is where we learn to stand.
This is where we learn to play the game of survival chess.
This is where we must learn...We are worth MORE!! enough of this.  I think you understand.....self worth/self realization is a journey.  It is a struggle.  For those who have endured, for those who have succeeded and for those who have been fortunate enough never to have experienced.....YOU have invited me here to discuss........what is next.

There is more to this.  You look at me and you see a self confident woman.  You are witnessing someone who walks into boardrooms filled with corporate heads and politicians and asks them..."what have you accomplished for women today?".... How could you know that this morning I shook?  From the depths of my soul, I have been shaking for over a week, knowing I would be standing before you today discussing times within my life that challenged my belief in world, my life, my children and my belief in me?....

However following 9 years of self doubt....after 9 years of attempting to rebuild my self worth, of attempting to restart my life....I am still standing!  Because I am standing first and foremost as a mom....who's children adore her....who's children have overlooked the trappings of today's society and realize their own self worth, their families worth...and they believe in themselves.  Not because of what I have told them, but because they have fought for themselves, they have discovered their worth...a worth no one will ever be able steal from them.

Today I also stand before you as a woman who believes.  Everything I do, everyday is a result of my belief in God, my belief in my world,  my belief in my community, and my belief in me.

Our strongest leaders in our history have stood up and announced their beliefs in God,  in our Country, in our People and in themselves.   I may not be a strong leader....but I believe.  Today I came here to talk to you because I believe in women.

In February of this year, I had my company incorporated.  Glass Tower Offices Corporation.  The mission is to provide women with the tools to improve their quality of life through education, health and wellness.  When we are well, spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally...we progress.  Today is about progress.

I am going to assume you asked me here to talk with you today, not only to hear of my struggles, of my failures...but to hear of my successes?  GTOC...Glass Tower Offices Corporation is my success.  Within this corporation, we have the ability to address women's issues, to inject positive influences on a regular supportive basis and to approach our politicians to acknowledge the deficiencies in  our system. 

 I am approaching you, our community to discuss how we as a community cannot only improve upon and support the efforts of our women but also we can openly discuss with our politicians the need for them to openly support our women.  While we recognize their inability to provide funding to support our women,...can they not verbally support our efforts to assist our women in their struggles to better quality of life?  Or is that politically incorrect?  What about you?  Are you not sitting in the audience today amongst your peers wondering...what can I do?  I am simply me?  I am only one.

So am I.   I am simply me.  A mom.  A mom who still struggles every day to feed her children.  A mom who believes in women.  Women who deserve our support of their efforts to self sustainability.  And we all have the duty to assist in one way or another.

This past week I had the sad occasion to witness one of our own fail.   I cannot help everyone.  I do try.  Most nights I lie awake in cold sweats searching the depths of my mind for how I can do more.   Sometimes we have done everything possible and must accept our failures.  Sometimes, we know with more structure we could have done more,  with more support, one of our own would not have failed, sometimes we must stand up and is time to engage.

Our politicians and our government agencies that represent us constituents have privately recognized, there is a major issue to be addressed here with our women.  They have also acknowledged our  supported efforts to create solutions within these issues.  Why I ask you today, have they not publicly stepped forward in support of our efforts?  I have never asked for them to support with funds.  Instead I have put forth great effort to inform them of our mission and to ask them to refer to GTOC those women they cannot or will not help. 

Let us try as a community to support our own.  It has become obvious that to move progressively forward, our community must demonstrate to our government what should be done and when the time arrives we will willingly choose the candidate who stepped into his community and supported in like with his or her constituents.

It has become "the time" to stand up as a community and let our own struggling women know that they are worth every effort.  So it is your turn.  Glass Tower Offices has created the structure based upon experience within the Social Assistance "fill the gaps" assist those women struggling for better quality of life.  In our community, what is your role....what is your duty?   Stand up and engage.

You are an integral part of an influential group.  Make yourself and your efforts for our community's women known.   Start talking.  Start assisting.  Start.

I am simply one.  You, as a group, hold the power to make yourselves, your efforts known.  You as a group can ensure others within our community stand up.  Communication is your tool, Knowledge is your tool,  Following through is your goal.

As I child, I had never met a divorced person.  As an adult, it is difficult for me to encounter couples that have remained within their first marriages.  Times have changed.

Communications have changed and our world has changed.   As women, we have transitioned, we have become empowered to influence positive change for our next generations.  Do we struggle simply to maintain the struggle of our daughters, or do we stand up?  Do we reach forward and invite others to do the same?  Do we lead the path to influence a system that will progressively assist those women whose struggles we support? … I can tell you, I am.

The two greatest words to put forth are "I am"

I am a beautiful woman,
I am a loving mother,
I am a supporter of my community,
I am strong in  my beliefs,…so are you or you wouldn’t be here today.

Together we can say,
·        “I am a part of a group that will stand as one to ensure that if the boogeyman ever becomes a reality for my daughter....she will not struggle as deeply as other women before her have. 
I am a part of a community that will educate our youth to stand, to positively engage, to not lose their self worth.
I am an influence on my elected politician to affect the system to ensure a positive affect is put in place to support the efforts of our Community's women struggling for better quality of life for themselves and for their children. 

Today I ask you to stand up.  To step forward  and to ask me....what can I do?  What can we do as a group?  What next? 

To everyone who stands up and steps forward with the question,...what can I do?....I ask...What is your passion?  What do you enjoy?....Where do you want to make a difference?  It might be artistic, it might be financial, it might be educational. 
Let's discover what makes you feel your self worth in standing up and stepping forward. For you do have the opportunity to do this!  

In closing there is a heart warming experience I want to re-experience with you today.  Last month I was asked to start communicating with a mother and daughter that were being evicted from a house/cottage, fantastic location but with no heat, no hydro, no phone and no food...and barely enough gas to get them to the hospital when the daughter became deathly ill.  I put forth an opportunity for our community to stand up and deliver one item of food from each of their cupboards...and they did.  In abundance.  Those who could only give one,...gave one....those who could give much...did.  This is our role as a community.  We  give and do of yourselves.  The mother and daughter have struggled greatly and are now on a very slow upward curve to better quality of life.  What did they need? the necessity of nourishment but also the hope and belief that their community, without ever meeting them...believed in them, that their community believed in their worth when our government system did not. 
A little later, still in touch with the mother/daughter, I made public note of items needed by one of the women entering Rose Hall and the coaching system of GTOC.  The only response I received was from the mother / daughter.  From their meager possessions they put forth some of their very best items, to support one of their own.  This is a norm!
Those that have can require direction to participate in the greater need.
 Those that have nothing understand the concept of needing less and of releasing items that will enhance another's lives who need and will enhance their lives in the act of giving. 

It is the Christmas season and this story inspires me.  When requested, our community steps positively forward.  Up until 9 years ago, I was one of those seemingly "lucky women" with the perfect family that rarely stepped forward to be involve in community. 

So Today, thank you for asking me to talk with you.  Today I can tell you....I stood up.  Today I can tell you's your turn to stand up.  We all have a sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, niece, daughter, neighbor, co-worker, struggling  for better quality of life. 

Lets discuss this.  You, simply you, and you as a group have an opportunity to make a difference, to affect the system. 
 So do it...  I am not going to ask you what is stopping you, instead I am going to say which of the items listed here would you do for your fellow woman?  You have my contact info.  Talk to me....together.....we can eliminate this issue....we can make a huge difference to many…we can easily give hope.....we can affect the system for our daughters / grand daughters. 
I look forward to many, many discussions with each and everyone of you to answer the questions, of the how’s,  the where’s, and the when’s to stand up…we already know the “why’s”. 


A Time to Engage..Needs
December 2012
·        Everyone can communicate, spread the word, every day  so that women everywhere know GTOC is here for them.
·        If you have contacts within Ontario Works, ODSP, Industry (for the working poor)…communicate GTOC with them.
·        Communicate with the Media/Groups/Politicians
·        Put your name on the donator's list for food/furniture/funds
·        Donate your expertise !
Refinishing Furniture,
Delivering Clothing,
..always, always Communicating.never stop…it is our  power.
“…as one woman, like glass we can be fragile. 
Together as a tower we are the definition of strength…” Veronica  GTOC

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