Last night I hosted a mixer for the Board of Directors and Advisory Board members. It wasn’t just a way to get everyone to formally meet and start team-building and brainstorming… it was our very own call to action. Old bonds were strengthened and new ones were made, laughs and tears were equally shared, and hugs were required. My heart is still so full from the love that filled my home, that when I walked into my living room this morning the vibe was still so strongly present that a huge smile came across my face. It’s a great place to be, considering where we were just three months ago.
L-R: Eduardo Morales, Lori Darchicourt, Erica Shapiro, Jill Cullinan, Patrick Cullinan, Donna Austin, Sean Wedige, Stephanie Liane, Jill Goolsby, Carol Dixon, Megan Gipson, Jennifer Hopkins
Our Public Relations director, Jen, was so moved by the little welcoming speech I gave last night that she said to me, “Jill, you have to put that on the website. People need to hear what you said.” Seeing as we’re set up for blogging (and I really do need to start utilizing it more frequently) I’ve taken her advice and am sharing it below. I hope it empowers you to do something positive today, if not for someone else, for yourself. Because self-care is so very important, and yet so often overlooked.
June 16th, 2016
“If there’s one thing that’s stood out through the entire process of building Project BRAVE, it’s how we’ve been able to find so much direction in such a fog of uncertainty. So much purpose in the midst of so much doubt. And so much love through so much grief. The fact that we’re all here today, this moment, right now, is a living and breathing testament to how much Casey is loved. And I don’t ever say was loved. Whenever I speak about Casey I intentionally speak about the love that people have for her in the present and never the past. Because love is a really amazing thing. Love doesn’t go away. Love doesn’t fade when a heart stops beating. It doesn’t end when a soul finds its new beginning. Love soldiers on. And it moves forward and it churns and grows and becomes something bigger and stronger than it ever could have in the course of a lifetime because without the confines of physical relationships it has no boundaries and can become as big and infinite as the universe itself. And that’s what we have been brought together to do… To help the love that so many have for Casey grow into this infinite extension of what she loved to do and was really good at – caring for others and saving lives.
Project BRAVE’s vision is to assist educators, faculty, and parents in helping children and teens recognize and eventually navigate healthy relationships for life. The way we plan to accomplish this is by developing a curriculum which teaches important and necessary social skills such as empathy, courage, kindness, and communication, among other things, and is easily integrated into existing educational models and school culture. We won’t be rushing in for a week of workshops and hurried lesson plans while encouraging the kids to wear purple on Tuesday to show their support for ending domestic violence – that model has been shown time and time again to not really work. What we’re going to do is very different than what’s been done before, but I think we can all agree that what’s been done so far isn’t exactly working when a third of our population will be abused verbally, mentally, and physically at some point in their lifetime. Statistically speaking, in this very room 5 of us have already been in an abusive relationship. We have to stop this – we have to say ‘enough’! With your help, I truly believe that while we’re never going to completely put an end domestic violence, we can bring those statistics down to their knees. Because love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”
Take care of yourself, take care of others, and always Be BRAVE!