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I CAN infect everyone I meet with the knowledge and power to stand up against violence.
* The following is an update from the artist, submitted on August 9, 2013:
Throughout your adult life, you rarely get asked to make a wish, to dream, to imagine. Those types of opportunities are reserved for the early stages of your life, in attempt to create a spark, a light to guide you down the right path in life. Over three years ago, I found myself in a place I never thought I’d be. I had chosen a path for myself that I knew nothing about and as I took a deep breath, I walked into a new job with mixed feelings. I was partly scared not knowing what to expect and partly calm, knowing that I was where I was supposed to be, where I was needed. As the months went by, I met many youth in the shelter and introduced them to many different tools to help lead them toward a path of healing and A Window Between Worlds was one of those tools. During workshops, I asked them to make wishes, to dream, and to imagine, questions some of them had never been asked before. As they immersed themselves, they were asked to press the reset button, turn around, and start all over again. Some were ready, some were not, but their ability to choose began to set them free.
When I sat in my chair at AWBW’s studio, ready to create my I CAN pledge on my hand, I remembered everything that I had gone through and most importantly, what all of my clients had gone through. My I CAN had to be big, it had to say something and say it loud! I wrote down, “I CAN Be Contagious” because I wanted to flip something we normally associate with illness and weakness and transform it into something positive. I went on to pledge that “I CAN infect everyone I meet with the knowledge and power to stand up against violence.” At the time, I had no idea what this was going to mean for me. I had no idea where I was going to take this or where it was going to take me. All I knew was that this was just the beginning.
When I got to work the next day, I immediately started to plan an event with my agency to introduce the I CAN WE CAN project to the community. Since I was going to stand by my “go big” motto, I wanted to go where the people were and I found the perfect place. A few months later, I was setting up for my community event, ready to introduce I CAN WE CAN to participants of a 5K walk within the community. By the end of the day, over 250 people took the pledge to talk about, inform, and educate others about what they had experienced. I was inspired.
That was 5 months ago, and now I find myself back at AWBW, but my role has changed. I have become part of the organization that has equipped me with the ability to provide a safe window of time to create and heal. As the new Children’s Program Coordinator, I have been given a special gift that allows me to live my I CAN every day. I have the opportunity to expand my reach and amplify my voice to help infect many more people across the country. I never knew that my I CAN would transform so quickly. It was so much bigger than me when I wrote it down, and even though I’ve come so far since that day, I have learned that my I CAN will always be bigger than me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I will be constantly fueled with the passion to spread awareness for all of those who need to be heard, understood, and loved. I CAN and I WILL continue to be contagious.
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