Having just flown back from our Annual H&V Leadership Conference, the buzz is in the air….on Facebook, email exchanges, twitter, Instagram, and texts….
“It was SO good to connect.”
“Thank you for helping me with what I needed for a strong healthy chapter”
“Thank you for supporting me in a situation I have with my own child”
It’s just so wonderful to see the connecting, the exchanging of support, the “Wisdom Among Us”. We get such little face time together, that when we are together we talk a lot about feeling like we are back together as a family. We share our unique and yet common experiences of raising a child who is Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and we CONNECT! I personally walk away from the conference every year filled up and ready to make sure parent-to-parent support is available to all, and to tackle the challenges of improving the lives of our children in the health, education, and other systems that serve us.
The ‘magic’ or our family in some ways has elements we can define and prepare for, but also just happens when we are together. The logistics of bringing a conference together, however, is not magic – it’s hard work, TO DO lists, endless planning of details, and dealing with onsite happenings you just can’t predict. We learn from these experiences and also grow from them. I want to give a shout out to Molly Martzke, and Jeannene Evenstad, along with our full H&V staff that made the logistics parts of this conference come together.
But it’s not just AT the conference where we get this vibe. In fact, I just wanted to share a few moments that happened AFTER the conference, and I mean IMMEDIATELY after the conference when everyone was tired, looking towards home, and back to the ‘inboxes’ we so willingly abandoned for a few short days.
At our conference this year, we had the privilege of welcoming some international guests to our ‘family’ for the conference from Russia, China, and Kenya. As we closed out our time, people from among us stepped up to ensure that our guests got where they needed to go, created even more opportunity to enjoy their visit here in the U.S. and to ensure that the network of not just a few, but of many, continued the networking.
So… thank you Stephanie Olson and Lisa Crawford for opening your home after the conference, spending more time with our Kenya partner, Jackie. Jacki Oduor is giving to us the gift of herself, energy, and commitment to families in Kenya. We are so grateful to be connected with her.
Photo: Stephanie, Jackie, Lisa
To Candace, who not only helped arrange a visit from two special guest professionals from China, but went on to Colorado and spent the next day showing elements of the U.S. educational system in Colorado, and other activities to help broaden the guests perspectives. To our professional partner, Christine Yoshinaga Itano who helped arrange this as well.
And to Molly, who is the Leader for our Russian/U.S. Partnership Project, driving our guests in a rather large, 15 passenger van that tested the limits at times of wearing the hat of ‘driver’ amongst her other duties.
I wanted to mention these rather ‘logistical’ elements of the ‘network’ that helps us, in the midst of limitations of our capacity, the amazing number of people who step up and abandon their title for just getting done what needs to get done.
I am so proud to be a part of this organization. Not just for the stars on our map on our website that shows our growth, but that in any given moment, the number of people that are willing to step up and ‘just get it done’ is astounding to me. Thank you all, for making this 12th Annual Conference the best ever, and for keeping the network going even when we are not face to face.
Finally, as the Chinese visitors were boarding a plane after the conference to the next step of their journey, they turned to Candace and said, about their being here to experience Hands & Voices, “This is Destiny”.
Yes, it is.
Janet DesGeorges, Executive Director, Hands & Voices Headquarters
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