Are you looking for a speaker for your next event? Are you interested in reaching out to the disadvantaged or hurting in your community? Do you have members who need encouragement to seek help?
As a former special-ed teacher and school chaplain, and through experiencing and witnessing abuse, I have much knowledge to share.
For a more informal meeting, I can speak about lighter topics, and combine them with singing. I have recorded two cds of original gospel-folk music.
I can combine any of the following topics, according to your requirements:
Bullying and Abuse
There has been a lot of attention given by the media to the topic of abuse in recent times. With my experience in schools first as a special ed teacher, then as a school chaplain, I have seen the negative impacts of many forms of abuse upon my students. I have personally experienced abuse in many spheres. As a child, I was afraid of my father. I was bullied at school and later saw my own children and my students being bullied. I also experienced a subtle form of verbal and text bullying in the workplace, which gradually pulled me down until I took stress leave. I have observed over-control of partners in others' marriages and seen the long-term effect on the spouses and children. I explain how to recognise symptoms of abuse, even in it's more subtle forms, as well as its long-term impact on people's lives.
As a result of workplace bullying, I experienced depression. Counselling led to many areas of my past being uncovered and dealt with, so that I was able to step out into the public sphere and overcome many of my fears. I speak about how dealing with depression has set me free. Depression is still an area many people feel uncomfortable to talk about or admit to having. I aim to remove these fears, encourage others to seek help, so they are able to move on in life.
Working with the Disadvantaged
I have taught literacy and numeracy to TAFE students who were homeless, abused, ex- prisoners, on drugs, and self-harming. From there I moved to a secondary college where students had severe learning difficulties, in many cases a result of their home-life.This was followed by working as a chaplain at a primary school, where I assisted a large number of broken families, very young parents, third generation unemployed, and refugees. I have great compassion for the neediest people in our society. I share some of these experiences (respecting privacy, of course), encouraging audience members to see the disadvantaged in a new light and to reach out to people in need.
Parenting School Children
It is natural for parents to want the best for their children but how do they know whether their expectations are realistic? My daughter was happy at school but it all came tumbling down in year 11 as the pressures of VCE set in. My second daughter left school with little idea what she wanted to do next. I talk about how we can support our children throughout their school life, providing the right amount of help, whilst reducing the risk of overwhelming them with pressure to succeed.
As a young adult, I never would have dreamt I'd be a public speaker. In 2008 I had to overcome my fear as I began to speak out. Over time it became easier. I inspire others to face up to their fears, step out of their comfort zone and follow life's paths bravely.
I suffered from epilepsy for many years and, while parenting three children under the age of 10, had brain surgery. This led to six months of being incapacitated. I speak about living with epilepsy, the fears of surgery, the wonderful help I received, and how this decision changed my life.
Getting out of Bolivia in a Hurry
Countries began closing their borders due to Covid just before our daughter was married in Bolivia in March 2020. What had been a relaxing few weeks leading up to the wedding, turned into a stressful time of moving the wedding forward and getting home before borders closed. I speak about the amazing way everything worked out for my family to get home before it was too late.