If you’re following me at all on social media (Shameless plug: I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) you undoubtedly already know that I attended my first ever blog conference this past weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. As a relatively new-ish (sort of) blogger, I had no idea what to expect from the Type A Conference. The things I learned, the experiences I had, and the connections I made during my time there far exceeded anything I could have ever imagined and I plan on sharing all of that with you in a later post (I know, I’m such a tease). Tonight, I want to spend some time chatting about all of that wonderful conference SWAG that you get when you attend events like these and what I decided to do with some of mine to (hopefully) help a stranger in the Atlanta metro.
Before I begin, I think it’s important for me to mention what inspired me to do this. I am a pretty sarcastic person in my normal day-to-day life. I’m someone who has a very dry sense of humor but underneath all of that is a person who really, really cares about others. This past Spring, I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans and one of the things I noticed during my time there was the massive numbers of displaced Americans living on the streets throughout the city. Homelessness is a real, very serious issue in our country and it’s not something we talk about as often as we probably should. Fast forward a few months to a warm evening in August when I had an encounter with an incredible and very friendly homeless citizen at the Country Club Plaza here in Kansas City. As I was speaking to this guy, I started thinking about my three year old daughter and it hit me: Homeless Americans have families, too.
That homeless man on the corner, the man who probably hasn’t eaten all day, he’s got a mom who he once lovingly referred to as “Mommy” much like my own daughter does to me.
That homeless teenager, the girl who probably hasn’t showered this week, she’s got parents of her own.
All too often we overlook homeless citizens who are living on the streets. They’ve become invisible to us and we have a tendency to simply ignore them.
All too often, we forget that these people matter too.
When I checked in at my conference on Thursday, I was given a bag with an assortment of goodies from some of our sponsors. I am lucky. I am lucky because I have all of things that I need in my life and I knew that I wanted to take some of this stuff that I had been given to do something that would help someone else, even if it’s in a very small way. So I began collecting. Throughout the weekend, I gathered small items (some from sponsors of the conference who were giving them away and some that were complimentary items from the hotel) and, on the last day, I packed them up and gave them away with an extra shirt that I had in my suitcase.
What I was able to give back to a random stranger, admittedly, wasn’t much but I hope that it helped make their day just a little bit easier, just a little bit brighter. Beyond that, I hope that sharing what I did with each of you inspires you to do what you can, with what you have, to help others. It doesn’t take much to make a difference in this World but you can. You really can.
So get out there and do something. Buy someone a coffee. Stop to say “hi” to a beggar on the street, even if you have nothing to offer but your time. Do something, anything.
A huge thanks to some of the sponsors of this year’s Type A Parent conference who provided some the goods that went directly to help someone in need in Atlanta.
I can’t wait to share my journey at Type A with each and every one of you in the coming weeks! Until next time…
Special thanks to my friend Kate for helping me distribute the bag at the end of the conference. I could not have done this without you.