Last night I nervously entered the Time Out Youth program in Charlotte, NC. I was the expert in the group. The problem was I didn’t feel like one. I am a published author. My book has been well received. However, I have no creative writing or English training. I’m a social worker. In addition, I have never seen myself as a public speaker. Within minutes, I was transformed.
The Time Out Youth program is dedicated to providing support, advocacy, and education to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their allies, ages 13-23, in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. My goal is to be a positive force in the lives of these teens and young adults.
Last night I talked for almost two hours about the publishing process, my coming out, and my current and future books. The kids I’m sure thought I was educating them. In part I was. However, I walked away with an increased desire to be a part of their lives. To me, that means that I was the one educated. Some of these teens have faced more than most will experience in their lives but they owned what’s needed to succeed—desire and passion. There was no sadness in their eyes just a will to be successful.
At the end they thanked me. I thanked them for allowing me to be a part of their creative writing group and loving “family.” I was transformed into a public speaker because they readily welcomed me creating an extremely comfortable atmosphere. I donated some books to their LGBT library and would like to donate more as they expressed a desire to have books that they could relate to.
My new quest is to ask my readers to donate one book to this fabulous organization. The donation would be two fold in that they would add the book to their library and a portion of the sale will be donated to their homeless program. If you’d like to participate you are welcome to send the book directly to the organization upon ordering it or order it directly from me. There is no shipping cost if it’s ordered directly from me.
In advance, I thank you, as do the kids that are a part of this village that we all belong…