Our first-ever CP Social was so incredible! Wow– I am still overwhelmed at the experience we shared–I only wished it could’ve lasted longer!
I want to thank all those who came, enjoyed some food & drink and good conversation. Who knew something so simple could feel so empowering and bring so much joy? Personally, I feel like our first community-led event was a huge success as we collectively shared stories, experiences, and held powerful discussions about entering adulthood with cerebral palsy. Now I’ll share some expectations I had about this event, and the following result!
EXPECTATION: In organizing this event, I was never entirely confident people would show up…
RESULT: We had 43 people come out and even more from afar tune in throughout the night on our insta-stories. In case you missed it, I included some of the photos in our “CP Social” highlight on Instagram. Check out #cpsocial & #cpstrong on your socials as well. More photos to come. 🙂
EXPECTATION: I hoped attendees would come wanting to meet their fellow community members, share in some conversation, be inspired, and feel a sense of belonging…
RESULT: We witnessed a beautiful dance performance and listened to several speakers readily share bits of advice about traveling with CP, living independently, dating, and finding fulfilling work. We talked about all the different kinds of mobility aids we use, owning the word ‘disabled,’ and even what it was like growing up with CP. We shared some laughs, tears, and lots of smiles… and friends were made! There was a true sense of community and kinship among us. I also learned that this was the first time ever a few of our attendees were meeting another with cerebral palsy.
EXPECTATION: I anticipated that attendees might not stay the whole time, or feel hesitant to share their experiences…
RESULT: Many brave people came forth and shared personal anecdotes that reflect our daily experiences and interactions with the world around us. Some great questions were asked and we had to cut each topic short because each could’ve lasted twice as long. Most stayed until they kicked us out!
EXPECTATION: I prepared some thoughts of my own in case I had to jump in on some of the Q&A discussions…
RESULT: We heard some new voices, met may new faces, and I was happy to sit back and watch it all unfold.
EXPECTATION: I imagined a much quieter evening, with lots of silence to fill.
RESULT: It was almost too loud that I wished we had microphones. In part, because our venue had a live band playing– but we also had a lot to say and share!
EXPECTATION: I wanted to understand what people wanted out of a community event; I wanted to leave feeling like there is something here for us to explore through Cerebral Palsy Strong.
RESULT: There is always more to learn but I feel like many attendees came because they never had this opportunity before–to meet others with CP. I am deeply motivated and excited about the future of CPstrong and it is all because this event was such a success. I think we all realize how we’ve had to become our own advocates in life and so with events like these, I hope to create a community where we truly feel less alone in that process. We have strong online connections through social media, but I believe it is important for us to continue this effort to come together in person and strengthen our sources of support for one another. I will work to continue to organize events like this one and I hope you’ll join me in whatever way you can.
Thanks again to those who joined us for an amazing night–the first of many to come. Thank you for believing in #cpstrong; for recognizing the need to serve others in our community as well as yourself. Because I couldn’t have done this without you.
And thank you to those who couldn’t make it but supported us in whatever way you could. Your patronage means so much to me and gives me a sense that this need for community-building goes way beyond me and #cpstrong.
Look out for info on our CP Social 2020– subscribe to our email list for updates!
A big thanks to the managers and servers at Mama’s on 39 who hosted and catered our CP Social. Thank you for your hospitality and for giving us a space to share in this special evening.