You will see in my blog “From Experience With Love” that I love to listen and learn from others life experiences and stories. I also believe that it is important that you as a follower of my blog and website know who I am and why I do what I do because I want to make a connection with you. So wearing my heart on my sleeve this is a snippit of my story.
I am first and foremost the mother of Carley and Ciaan. They are two gorgeous girls who inspire me to make this world a better place.
Twenty years ago I started out as a teacher. It was all I had ever wanted to do. I was the little girl who would sit all her teddy bears together in front of a black board and teach them to read and write. I love the connection teaching allows you to have with your students and I applaud all the teachers out there who make a daily difference to children’s lives.
My life took on a new direction about seven years ago when I was asked to attend the funeral of a young girl. Little did I know that this girl’s death was about to have a huge impact on my life.
This beautiful twenty two year old had committed suicide after suffering depression that had developed from years of being bullied at school. As we watched the powerpoint of her life I heard a couple, whisper in the row behind me, “How ridiculous, bullying is just part of growing up!”. It honestly was like a brick to my head! Why on earth would we as compassionate human beings accept bullying to be part of anyones life? It was from this point on that I decided to begin my crusade of teaching children and teens life skills that would help them build resilience, good character, values and empathy for others.
I also saw the need to take time out of each week to teach children social/emotional intelligence so that they had the skills to identify and manage their emotions and be able to resolve friendship conflict and maintain healthy relationships. I firmly believe that without these skills our children will not be able to perform at their best academically. My passion saw me develop The Seedlings Program which you can read more about on this website as well as parent/child workshops so that the whole family can attain practical and easy to use skills and strategies to deal with the many issues life sometimes throws our way.
Another event in my life that had a profound effect on me, that I will never forget was the evening my five year old daughter stopped breathing in her sleep and was placed on life support. I was told by doctors that they were unsure if she would ever come off life support and my life changed forever. As I stood over the bed of my precious, blue eyed baby girl I have never prayed harder than I did that evening. I promised God that if Ciaan came out of this alive I would find a way to dedicate my life to helping others.
I am so blessed to be able to say that Ciaan survived and while we spent the next two years as outpatients in the children’s hospital she is a happy ,active and bright little girl who continues to bring joy into our lives.
I will forever be grateful to God and was keen to fulfill my promise. I didn’t know how or when I was going to fulfill my promise but I knew that I would and the answer came about a year later.
I was having a coffee with one of the most inspirational ladies I know (Bev Lowe) who shared with me that through a charity that she runs she noticed that there were children who couldn’t attend their school prom/ ball or graduations because they didn’t have enough money to buy food let alone beautiful clothes. This really affected me. I was presenting in some very prestigious schools where parents were spending a lot of money on their children’s outfits, only to have them worn once. In the middle of the night the idea hit me. I would get people to donate their prom/ ball dresses and suits and we would give them to those less fortunate so that they could enjoy this special experience as well. I was so excited and needed to tell someone. Fortunately for me I have a best friend who just “get’s” me and I will admit I am probably not the easiest person to “get” because I always think outside the box and like to do things differently from everyone else but I knew that in the middle of the night he would listen. I called and on this occasion my best friend, Bruce Reynolds, did more than just listen he agreed to set this project up with me and together we co founded Cinderella Kids.
Cinderella Kids is still in it’s infancy but has already evolved to include once a month dinners where sick or disadvantaged children are given a Cinderella makeover and are then taken to dine at a five star restaurant with a celebrity. The smiles on their faces are priceless! We now also take these kids to fun parks, sports games and movie nights. It is all about sprinkling some magic into these kids lives when they need it the most.
If you haven’t already worked it out I really am just a big kid at heart and my passion is to make this world a better place for our children and our children’s children.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope as you navigate your way around my website there will be one small thing that touches your life in a positive way. Hopefully, one day I will even have the pleasure to run one of my workshops with you in the audience. No matter I know that we both have important life journeys and I wish you every bit of love, luck and happiness on yours.