My little drop in the bucket

I must, I must, I REPEAT, I MUST develop a new blog site for the stuff that's going on in my life now. I often don't write in this blog....because the people that read it...aren't the people that I want to reach (provided that I can reach people again...but that's another story).

The timing of my second to last post was fitting, given that it was a few weeks before the Bell #letstalk campaign, which pretty must rocks my world. Howie Mandel is freaking awesome....and he kind of stumbled upon this awesomeness by sheer coincidence (followed by a lot of effort). It's worth reading this article and even more trying to find the hour long series on Youtube or something.

Ok,  but back to me. La, la, la, la, la, la!!!

The last week of January was a busy one.

Monday: Choir Practice
Tuesday: I can't remember
Wednesday: Shrink and Choir Practice
Thursday: Date night
Friday: CONCERT (over 2.5 hours!!!)
Saturday: 2nd CONCERT.

Side note: have you ever tried to stand still for over two hours? It is by far the most uncomfortable thing to do that I can imagine....except for making being locked in handcuffs. That might even be more comfortable because at least you can walk around.

If you haven't been following, in September, I joined a choir.

How did I find said choir? I googled "Montreal Choir" sent out a few emails and they were the first to respond. I showed up, did an impromptu audition (I had no idea I had to audition) and then, voila!

I hadn't sang in TWENTY years (I'm old enough to say that now) and I had no idea that I could still sing....so I thought it was a good sign that they let me in.

I joined the choir to increase my confidence, to start to meet people...and just to be around music. I decided that I liked it.

On the first day of choir, I had to audition, which I didn't know...and I "passed". I was also told that twice a year our choir puts on a series of concerts and that we donate the proceeds to a charity. The charity was The Gaulin Foundation, that I wrote about in this post.

It still amazed me that I had sort of formed a bit of a relationship with the parents of Sarah Gaulin, through my little tiny bit of volunteer work for the choir, as "charity liaison person".

The concert was spectacular. To be honest, until the last week, I didn't think that our choir was that great...or that we sounded very well. But something happened in the last week and we all came together.

The first night of the concert I was a ball of nerves....



 But...I was having a pretty good hair day....

I arrived at the concert, dressed and ready to go....but still a ball of nerves.

For some reason I chose to introduce a piece that we were singing called "Te Quiero", written by a famous Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti. Holy Mother, I was shaking like a leaf. And...I didn't sing very well either...but, we received a standing ovation and even performed an encore!

The next day, pretty much the same thing. 

Except different hair...

The second night I was slightly less nervous...meaning I could eat (the night before I did a little puke in my mouth, you're welcome for that little tidbit of information) and enjoy some of the treats that were part of the bake sale that the Gaulin folks were putting on during intermission. (And I say "bake sale" but it WAS NOT your average bake sale. Montrealers take their baking seriously.....and everything I ate was incredible and the sugar high I got was so well worth it...).

The bake sale raised just under $800 each night!!! That isn't including ticket sales!!

So my little drop in the bucket....joining a choir....practicing my songs....singing at a concert....will have helped contribute to at least three scholarships (with the ticket sales) to those dealing with a mental illness. If you haven't looked at the links I've included, the Gaulin Foundation grants scholarships for those dealing with a mental illness. Often these individuals do not qualify for any other scholarships, as their mental illness has caused lapses in their education or they may not have the best marks. 

We were told, by Mr and Mrs Gaulin, that quite often, the scholarship recipients say that this is the first time that anyone has ever pat them on the back for just keeping going. 

For an "average" person....getting up and going to work might be generally easy. Ok, so you're tired, you were up too late with the kids, or doing laundry, or watching a stupid reality tv show....but for some people with some mental illnesses....getting up and going to work might be an almost impossible task...and no one ever says, Hey! Good Job!! You made it to work today!!!

So the scholarship recipients are thrilled, grateful, and go on to finish their post-secondary education, with a little bit of help. 

Both nights I spoke with some of the Board of Directors on the Gaulin Foundation, and it was clear, that they REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted to be there. 

Before I left the last night, I went up to Mr and Mrs Gaulin, and they thanked me (I felt like it was them I needed to thank) and gave me a genuine hug. I walked away, exhausted, elated, and feeling like....I made a difference. A very little difference. A drop in the bucket. But a drop none the less.

I hope to volunteer in any capacity for the Gaulin Foundation in the future and it has solidified my belief that I need to give back to those going through a mental illness in SOME way. Keeping to add a little drop. 

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