So here is my attempt at Theta-Grand-Convention-Story-Vomit.
Factoid about Ashley: I was a sorority girl!
Hard to believe, right? ;-)
If you've ever read my blog, it's no surprise. I was a Kappa Alpha Theta at the Beta Mu chapter in Reno.
I lived in the house.
I attended the socials.
I made friends.
I lived Kappa Alpha Theta for 3 years of my life (the first year I wasn't very active, so I only count 3 years of full-active-ness).
At the end of June, I got to re-live my Kappa Alpha Theta love at Nationals Grand Convention in Tucson, AZ.
Kappa Alpha Theta's National Philanthropy is CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates. Not only is this organization close to my heart because of Theta, however it's an integral part of my life because when I was a child I had a CASA Advocate.
|Sign for the Workshop I got to help Kimi Martin with|
Because of this, Kappa Alpha Theta asked me to be a key note speaker at Grand Convention. Without realizing what I had signed up for, I eagerly said "YES I'D LOVE TO!" It wasn't until before I walked on stage and asked Elise, "How many people are in this room?" that I realized exactly what I signed up for.
"Do you really want to know?" Was Elise's response. Too many. That's all you need to know.
**Grand Convention Blogger, Casey Martinez, posts about CASA and my speech!!
What is a CASA? GREAT QUESTIONA CASA is an amazing person who volunteers their time for abused and neglected children. They're similar to social workers except CASAs only have 1 case at a time (Social workers have several), and they're volunteers. Ultimately, they provide an extra set of eyes for abused and neglected children in order to give children a voice in the courtroom. A CASA is often times the only consistency a child has in his/her life.
How is this coming together? I'D LOVE TO TELL YOU!When I was an itty bitty little munchkin, I went through the foster care system. My CASA helped me along my journey to finding a permanent home. When I was 3 years old I entered my final foster home. Three long years and a name change later, I was officially adopted into a new home. I was 6 years old. Without my CASA, I'm not sure where I would be today. I could possibly have graduated out of the foster care system. I could possibly be back home with my biological family. I could be with an entirely new family. However, I feel blessed to be with the family that chose me and I know that without my CASA I may not have been quite as lucky.
You may remember a post I made quite some time ago about the difference between a Biological Mama and an Adoptive Mama (read the post here). It is important to me for people to know I have no "real" mom. In fact, I have 2 moms. I have one who gave birth to me, and one who raised me.
So to sum this up and stop blabbering, I spoke about my experience at Grand Convention to over 650 Theta Sisters.
I got to meet Michael Piraino, CEO of Court Appointed Special Advocates.
I got to sit next to Amy Kate, Fraternity President.
And I got to tell my story to hundreds of people.
The entire thing was a blur, really. I remember wondering if I could sneak out of the room and have no one notice, then I remember having my name called indicating it was my turn to talk, then I remember hundreds of people standing and clapping and crying.
Right before my speech, I remember being thankful it was breakfast because people would probably be more occupied with breakfast than listening to me talk. At one point during the speech, I looked out and saw every. single. eyeball. staring at me. I'm positive if a pin dropped, I'd hear it.
It wasn't until after the speech that I realize the gravity of what I had just shared with everyone. There was a line of crying sisters to give me a hug because I too, of course, was crying at this point.
Afterward, I was coordinating schedules for the day with Kimi Martin, and one of the wait staff walked up to me to give me a hug. He had listened to my story and made an effort to reach out to me to thank me for sharing my story. He hugged me, thanked me, and left. It was wonderful to know I had not only impacted the Thetas, but also a complete stranger who had no affiliation to neither Theta nor CASA.
If you'd like to know more about CASA - please ask me! I love talking about it and spreading awareness of this amazing organization.
|Kimi Martin - my amazing workshop partner. She was my mama-bear for the weekend!|