Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We All Need a Little Good News

This past week, I’ve been in a number of situations/conversations that really made me think about the critical importance of self-care and respite from the stresses of our daily lives.  So, this week’s blog is meant to be a few minutes of taking a big deep cathartic breath through your computer screen.

First up: I had a major break through in my training this week.  With the weather being so warm, I’ve been able to get out almost every day.  11 km has become my standard run and by the beginning of April, my goal is to increase that to 16 km.  My breakthrough was the realization that if I double that 16 k, that will be 32 km, just 10 shy of what I need to reach for a full marathon. Now I’m sure that sounded like WAY more of a breakthrough when it happened in my head, but the point is that for the first time, I can tangibly visualize the distance and really see myself getting there.   I’m finishing my 11k feeling strong and, with 200+ days still to go before the race, I am sure I am going to be ready.  

The second thing I wanted to share and, honestly, a good news story that makes me want to burst with excitement every time I think about it, is that my mom has taken up running.  My mom is the epitome of the woman I still hope to be someday: beautiful, active, funny, caring, inspirational, and now a runner.  She went to the Running Room, had an analysis done on her feet, outfitted herself with the right gear and has started running.  To say I’m super proud of her doesn’t even begin to cover it, but I want to give her a huge shout-out for being amazing!!

The last 2 smiles-on-a-computer-screen I’m going to share are in video format.  The first is a video I saw a few months ago on Facebook and it makes me happy (and teary) every time I watch it.  The second is the song I play at the beginning of every one of my runs and I hope it will inspire you the way it inspires me.  I hope you all take good care of yourselves this week…and thanks for running with me.

P.S.  Please consider making a donation to the Run Strong initiative in support of Interim Place by clicking on the button below or if you would like to send a cheque/cash, please email me at corrie@run-strong.ca.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

If You Read and Share Only One Blog, Please Read This One

It’s been 12 weeks since I started writing the Run Strong blog and regardless of the topic I’m posting about on any given week, the message of this particular blog is always sitting in the back of my head.

The truth is this: success on this journey will only be achieved if at the end there is greater capacity to meet the needs of women facing violence and their children.

During the first 3 months of this initiative, the Run Strong blogs have been written to demonstrate 2 things: 1) there is immediate, critical need at this moment to give women and children safe haven; and 2) I so believe in the work of Interim Place that I’ll train, run, blog, ask for help, whatever it takes.  But the real story of this journey is YOU – my family, friends, colleagues, and those kind souls I haven’t met – and your willingness to respond.  So many of you have already far exceeded any response I could have asked for in terms of your messages, your offers to run with me, and your response to past blogs: it has been incredible.

Now, I’m asking you to do one more thing: please make a donation.

As many of you know, I’ve worked in the non-profit sector for over 15 years, many of them as a fundraiser.  I intimately know how many charities ask for your support and I completely understand that there are only so many dollars to go around.  I can assure you of 2 things: first, I would only ask for your financial support if I could personally bear witness to the great impact that these dollars can have. At Interim Place’s 2011 Annual General Meeting, a past resident of Interim Place was the keynote speaker.  It’s hard to imagine a reality worse than what this woman went through: years of almost unimaginable physical and verbal abuse.  Her story so greatly saddened me; to think that one human being could do such horrendous things to another.  But, there was this incredible shift in her story when she talked about coming to Interim Place.  Having not much more than the clothes on her back, she arrived at the shelter doors where she was, first and foremost, kept safe.  She was welcomed and provided with food and shelter.  She was supported: she received counseling and was offered assistance with legal, housing, employment and other issues that would help her to move towards a life free of violence.  What an image of triumph she was on that evening last June, now an entrepreneur, author, and spokesperson for Interim Place.

The second thing I can assure you is that Interim Place holds itself to high standards of financial accountability and funds raised are used effectively and efficiently.  I am a member of the Board of Directors and previously the organization’s Treasurer, so you have my personal assurance that great care is taken to ensure that dollars raised are used to increase the capacity to provide services to women and children.

My marathon won’t end global violence against women, but I know this for certain: your donation will directly and immediately impact women’s lives.  At the most fundamental level, it ensures there is a safe
place for women to go: some of whom are in life-threatening situations and all of whom are in crisis and require assistance fleeing violence.

Consider this:

$25.00 provides a rescue ride to help a woman and her children escape to safety
$50.00 provides a woman with a shelter Welcome Kit which includes new pajamas, undergarments,  
        socks, slippers, bathrobes, toiletries and personal items
$500 helps to give a fresh start for a mom and her two children to settle into their new permanent home  
        in the community.
$1,080 provides one year of free, confidential 24 hour crisis counseling for one woman experiencing
        abuse in the community to keep herself and her children safe and a plan to safely escape.
$1,440 provides 24 hour one-to-one and group counseling for a woman with three children during their
        four month shelter stay.

Please, before you close this blog, I ask you to do one more thing and click on the donate link.  You can donate online or send a cheque made out to Interim Place (email me at corrie@run-strong.ca if you prefer to mail a cheque).  As my personal way of thanking, you, I will send a “20 Life Lessons I Learned From Running” poster to all Run Strong donors.  Any amount you can give is a true gift to Interim Place.

I am so sincere when I tell you how grateful I am for your donations.  I know what these dollars can do and, on behalf of Interim Place and the women and children we serve, thank you…thank you.

Thanks for running with me.