Happy Summer everyone!
With as much dysfunction going on globally, it is extra groovy to have the gift of sunshine, warm weather, the sights and sounds of nature that remains a consistent teacher and healer for me. A year and a half ago, April 3 2021, I received my second vaccine and had an awful reaction to it that lasted for 10 long months. Face and scalp numbnesses and daily anxiety attacks. Such a drag because prior to the shot I had not experienced a single anxiety attack for 12 glorious years! I am so pleased to tell you those stopped last January! Thank you God! (seriously)
In February 2022 I collaborated with the Maine School Safety Center, remember we collaborated with them on the Child Abuse virtual 3 day training with a record of 690 attendees… and the Maine Dept of Education (our primary collaborator) and held a virtual 3 day training on Trauma, education about 350 teachers etc across Maine.
Late last fall I stopped all zoom classes and most of any survivor support fund raising besides some dental needs because I simply didn’t have the emotional bandwidth for EVERYTHING I was doing and needed to pick “the thing” that could help the most people with… high level trainings! 10,000 I could, and have, buy classes/books for one survivor or personal items for 10 survivors in residence or or or or…. or, Me, Lucy (1) and Lily (7) provide a 3 day virtual training for nearly 1000 first responders, social workers, advocates, etc.
So February was great, not my best, but we rated 5 star by the vast majority of attendees.
March I received a call from a friend who works at the Catholic Diocese who said the Catholic schools had an overwhelming amount of students 6-12 sharing and receiving inappropriate pictures and videos. They wanted me to provide a conference on technology for students, teachers, staff and parents in the fall 2022. I said yes, of course, and then started reaching out to my peeps in education. Massive issue EVERYWHERE! The side effects of this never ending pandemic are exposing our weak links for sure! Domestic Violence , huge spike… mental health crisis… deaths by over dose…child abuse…animal abuse… My teacher friends are even reporting that after children were allowed back in school there was a remarkable decrease in basic kindness and manners. Interesting.
So I reached out to the Maine School Safety center for their insight and wisdom. They reported the same, huge issue. They asked if we could all collaborate for another statewide conference and educate as many teachers, staff, students and parents as possible. I ask the Catholic Dioceses and got a fast clear YES. Any so Conference #4 named “Un Delete Able” was conceived. This one is in person, we haven’t done that since 2019 at a cost of $25,000. Here’s the extra groovy part… Unlike the last 3 conferences, we get to record this one! The recording will be used by both public and private schools for training! YAY! You too for an additional $15,000…. glup. HAS to happen. Period.
Then another cool thing happened… My grant writer, Regal, nominated me for a $10,000 donation from the New England Patriots. 250 people were nominated from all across New England, only 25 were chosen. We each received $10,000! How cool is that!?! We only have to raise 20-25K before October 2022. No problem! I always get SO STRESSED out and yet, the money always comes. Remember the beauty of this is that I do not get paid, nor do I charge or try to sell anything to anyone.
This is all a labor of Love that bypasses all the red tape so that these high level trainings actually get to the folks that need them. Very cool.
My financial net has alway been my husband Charlie. Its easier to ask for donations when you aren’t desperate and begging. Sales 101, don’t act desperate, even if you are! lol! Charlie has my back if we are short. So we stay calm and keep asking. Somehow the money always comes. Because I don’t NEED over head, every Caption penny of every donation, goes directly to the cause. In the case, the fall conference.
We have some amazing speakers as always! Man I am so grateful for the gift of the kind of super hero human beings I get to bring before our community… Alison Feigh from Zero Abuse Project, Pete Singer from GRACE, Homeland Security, School Resource officers, Maine State Cyber Crimes, International child abuse law Enforcement that will blow you away… and don’t get me started on the technology sifting dog… In national sales I learned to ALWAYS bring your A game. You get ONE SHOT… do it right!
So like our first in person conference in 2019, we will have snacks and drinks provided in the foyer. Gary plays acoustic guitar as people enter in the morning. Food trucks and live entertainment for lunch. Final evening will end with an amazing panel. At the end of the day… the intention is that participants will have a FAR GREATER understanding of all thing technology related as it pertains to our children and how to keep them and each other safe. Students will be empowered and motivated to not share anything they wished they could delete… because there is not such thing as delete. Parents will feel empowered and motivated to stay connected to their childs online interactions in a way that is age appropriate and kind. Hoping that everyone is on the same page. Everyone will have take away resources and a feeling of community.
We are “in this” together, truly. I don’t know how long the powers that be will allow me to bridge this gap… but there are a few more conferences that are very much needed. I have these three on the back burner while I tend to the October needs but… * ACE: Adverse childhood experienced is NEEDED! Open/ recorded. * Trauma training just for homeland security and law enforcement that deals w child abuse/exploitation. Closed private training. * Addiction. Holy cow… wow. Currently this is all Im doing.
As you know I have no staff. Never have. I am a visionary not an implementation kinda gal so all this project management is very taxing on me and I just don’t want to keep doing what is so difficult and do it alone. Feel me? So 1 or2 trains a year is all the bandwidth this short old crazy chick can handle. This year I have taken 3-4 days in July and August to rest. I love Migis Lodge on Sebago so Im staying there for 3 nights and in August Im going to Nashville for a spiritual retreat for a long weekend. I wish I could do that every month but this is a much needed start.
So this is my update.
If you would like to donate please do on the website or Stop Trafficking US PO Box 84 Standish Maine 04084 Thank you for you support in my efforts. The fall conference is October 21 & 22 in Auburn Maine. Check out the website for more information.
In Service, Catherine Ann Wilson founder of Stop Trafficking US