Friday, October 15, 2010

5th Annual Orange County Domestic Violence Conference

It was an honor to be asked to speak at this years Orange County conference: Domestic Violence Seen Through the Eyes of our Children. This event was held at the beautiful Crown Plaza in Anaheim. What was even more special is that I had the opportunity to bring one of my sisters with me. This was the first time that Megan had ever been to a conferences or had the opportunity to hear me speak to a large group. The morning Keynote speaker was Dr. Lateefah Wielenga. I really enjoyed hearing her speak and share her firsthand experience with domestic violence. She works with teens who have been through similar situations and gives them a foundation to grow and become successful young women in society. Two of the young ladies in her program came to the podium and shared their life experiences with the audience. Both talked about how they are coping with the effects of the abuse and what their plans are for the future. These young ladies were so positive and had such a great outlook on their future. Both were so inspiring and I wish them nothing but success in their future endeavors. After the morning keynote, my mom, Megan, and I chose to attend a workshop called "Our Journey". Denny B. and Norma C. shared their personal stories of growing up in families where domestic violence was present. It was interesting to hear how different yet similar both Norms and Denny's stories were. Even more interesting is how I share the same views and outlooks on my past and how it effects me today. The lunch Keynote speaker was Alyce LaViolette and boy was she funny! She gave us an insight into her style of therapy which involved overcoming being exposed to domestic violence as a child. I really enjoyed her new fresh outlook on therapy rather than the conventional versions that really do not work. After Alyce's keynote was done, it was off to my workshop called "Through my Eyes - Scars that Bandaids Can't Hide". I shared my personal story on the effects of having domestic violence in my life at an early age. I had an open forum where the audience got to ask me personal questions on the struggles and challenges I face daily due to my past. I had a wonderful time and really learned a lot. I think the attendees did as well. Not to mention I felt not a feeling of being not so alone hearing that other people went through similar situations and they too struggle the same way I do. I am so thankful that people are taking an interest in helping children like myself. It is important not to overlook what is happening in our own backyards. Everyone can learn firsthand from individual like those at this conference, and together we can put an end to domestic violence. Thank you to all of the speakers who shared their story, as well as the attendees for taking an interest in this matter. Last but not lease, thank you Angela Santos and the rest of the staff for putting on this event and for asking me to be a part of it. It truly made a difference in my life!

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