This morning I was honoured to be invited to the Reach Foundations Annual breakfast and I was completely unprepared for the overwhelming experience ahead of me.
I’m sitting in the lobby at Crown, overcome with emotions and feeling compelled to share them with you.
Quite honestly, I think that’s what Reach is all about.
It creates the space for youth to feel comfortable enough to completely be themselves, to open up, to share, to be honest and feel supported in the experience.
And that’s how they made a room of 400 feel before 9am this morning.
This morning’s breakfast began with a group of about 20 youth placed inside a locked cage in the beautifully decked out Crown Palladium. I arrived a touch late, so I had no idea what was going on, why they were there and when they would get out. I was just asked, along with everyone else in the room, to asses how the site before me made me feel. Horrified was my answer. These kids were trapped, with no escape, no chance for freedom and being stared at. I felt hopeless and overwhelmed with sadness for them. Of course I knew they were in no real danger but the metaphor was real and strong and confronting. Again, the point of the message.
The breakfast was hosted by Reach Crew Rosie and Tom, two of the most natural, comfortable and engaging MCs I’ve seen in a long time, and it was their first hosting duties. What a pair of legends! They took us through every range of emotions throughout the morning with ease and generosity.
I have had the privilege of meeting the incredible Trisha who is at the helm of the company now after many many years working her way up there and there is no one better equipped to support, guide and encourage the youth that come through the program. I wish her so much luck in this role and have no doubt she will make a significant difference in the lives of so many.
One of my biggest idols, Jules Lund told me today he was one of the very first kids through the program 21 years ago. He is one of the most driven, hard working, successful, smart, charismatic and fun people I know. And if someone like him is the product of this program, they must be doing something very right.
We heard from a few of the youths in the program whose stories capture your heart and slap you in the face with the realities of life.
I’m so blessed that Dani and the team at AMPR, who are the PR Partners for Reach, invited me this morning, it has been an honour and a timely reminder in my life.
They finished the morning with a little gift. A small plastic key on the table that metaphorically they want us to ‘give’ to a young person who might need an opportunity unlocked for them. I hope this isn’t too selfish but I have decided to keep my key, I’ve already popped it on my keyring as a reminder that opportunities are there all the time for me and for gorgeous people around me in life and we are all invited to use the key anytime we choose to unlock a moment, an experience or a feeling.
I truly encourage you to take some time to see how you can be a part of the difference being made by REACH every day!