Monday, November 15, 2010

Guest Post: Rebecca Forster--HEROES ALL

Editor's Note: Here's my fellow writer and pal Rebecca Forster with another post; and a good one, too. For more go to Enjoy....

Planning a new book begins with conjuring up a victim and a hero. The first must be protected, avenged or rescued; the second must be the protector, the avenger and the one who rides to the rescue.

Today, though, I attended a fundraiser for Ability First, an organization that provides services to help children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities realize their full potential. That's when the old story rule went out the window.

There I was, out of my jeans, dressed in my very lady-like shirtwaist and Jackie-O pearls, ready to lunch and watch a fashion show in support of a worthy cause. But I was early and the behind-the-scenes activity was even more interesting than the afternoon ahead.

The women of the Long Beach Center Guild of Ability First were working feverishly, setting up silent auction baskets and tables for the luncheon, making sure the sound system worked. Young people in brick-red t-shirts identifying them as Ability First staff helped vendors, manned the check-in table and took pictures. They also rehearsed the Ability First clients for the presentation they would make to the audience.

During those early hours, I met Geri. Wheelchair bound and unable to communicate verbally, she nonetheless was able to make it clear she was happy to be at the event and happier still to participate. When the luncheon began, Geri and her friends 'signed' a song for a group of 230 women who had come to celebrate their accomplishments and donate time and money to make sure that the swimming, arts, housing programs and more continue to service these amazingly courageous people.

I realize events like this aren't unusual. Everywhere you look there are ribbons to be worn, walks and runs to participate in and concerts that benefit good causes. But often I find it difficult to connect with these causes and their big events. Ability First, Long Beach is right in my own backyard and I was there, in that ballroom, with people who believed in the work that Ability First is doing. I was caught up in the the personal joy everyone felt and that made me feel great!

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