What I Would Have Said

What I would have said if I had been prepared Wednesday night, March 21, 2012, at the eWomenNetwork Women’s Success Summit ….

I was surprised with a beautiful, heartfelt recognition of my success by my dear friend Kymberlee Simantel. Hearing the last 5 years of my life retold by my amazing friend was extremely moving. I am hugely blessed with the friends I have made since moving to Reno in 2006, all who are eWomenNetwork Reno/Carson/Tahoe/Vegas/Sierra Nevadas Chapter members. My message to anyone who needs it – surround yourself with those who see your light, those who support you, those who will tell you things you need to hear at times and trust yourself, trust yourself, trust yourself. Never doubt your inner voice.

I hope with all my heart that I enrich my eWomenNetwork friends lives as much as they enrich mine.

Choosing to attend an eWomenNetwork Dinner Event in July 2007 was one of the most life improving, life inspiring choices I had made up to that point in my life. When it’s time for us to grow within our own unique box, sometimes we must face fears … fears of going into a room alone, not knowing anyone and creating a new life … Thank you Kymberlee Simantel for being managing director for the Reno/Tahoe chapter and thank you Sandra Yancey for your light tonight and for founding this amazing organization!!

With my eWomenNetwork friends’ help I have gifted to twelve recipients through Turning Views Foundation’s Gift a Voice Project. Our latest recipient is a Grandma, Karen, in Michigan whose vocal cords were removed in December due to cancer. We were able to give her a “voice” so she can “speak” to her grandkids. Karen is guardian to these two young children and has been struggling to communicate with them.

I have created friendships with women and men who have helped me to discover my unique gift and who have furthered my acceptance of myself. Friends who are always there when I need them, who say things I need to hear but may not want to hear … friends who support and encourage me, friends who know when to say “It’s time to put your big girl panties on” and friends who know just the right time to remind you of all that you have accomplished and all whose lives you inspire and enrich.

eWomenNetwork and Kymberlee Simantel provided me the opportunity to create these kinds of friendships:

A friend’s husband is there to pick up my son, Thomas, from kindergarten when I’m at a speaking engagement, a friend’s son is “Big Brother” to my son Thomas, friends who are on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit I founded, friends who have slipped me money just because, friends who came out in full force to support my Gift a Voice fundraiser in March 2011, a friend who has picked the kids and I up from the airport more than once, friends who are listed as local contacts on my kids’ emergency contact paperwork at school, a friend who brings me goody bags of homemade food, friends who donate their last generation iPhone to the Gift a Voice project, friends who care about my kids as much as they care about me, friends who look me in the eye and say, “Stop. Look what you have created. Look what you have done. Take that in.”, friends who have always seen me for the amazing person I am AND friends who let me do all of this for them too.

By choosing to be an eWomenNetwork member and SHOWING UP I’ve made friends who encourage me to let my light shine by shining their light on me. I’ve made friends who GET the value of encouraging others. Some people may go their entire lives without being encouraged by another soul.

Smile at others, encourage others … you just NEVER know the ripple effect that this will create and it will absolutely come back to you. It WILL ….


Here’s the beautiful mosaic candle holder Kymberlee made for me:

It’s Beautiful … It’s Different … It’s full of LOVE!! Message on bottom: “Camilla, because Different is good, I made this different candle holder for you!” It’s just magical with the candle lit with all the glass pieces lit from the flame!! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ you so much Kymberlee – Thank you for sharing your light with me!!

The Evolution of Communication

Have you noticed it?  Have you noticed the way in which we communicate and conduct business has fundamentally shifted?  We are no longer solely communicating with our mouths and voices as a society.  A GREAT majority of us are using technology and social networking sites to communicate, work, conduct business and stay connected.  We, as a society, have shifted our communication style.  It is my belief that this shift has occurred in such a way to literally wrap it’s arms around the segment of our population who communicate with sign language or who cannot articulate in such a way to be understood.  Our communication methods are literally evolving to include more of our society than EVER before.  There are 8 of every 1,000 people in the United States who have some sort of communication disorder.

To fully grasp this just notice throughout your day how often you are communicating using technology via email, texting or social networking sites.  If you still conduct many of your conversations over the phone or face to face, stop and think, “How would I be having this conversation if I did not have the use of my voice or if I could not articulate what I’m trying to say?”  There are options now that weren’t available years ago! I, for one, believe there’s more to what is occurring in our communciation style than meets the eye.  I can’t begin to imagine where this is headed.  What I do know is that this is a GOOD thing for my daughter, Lillian, and those like her.

This is the VERY reason I was driven to create the Turning Views Foundation, the Different iz Good movement and the Gift a Voice Project.  We began a recycling program through which we collect last generation iPhones, iPod Touches and (soon) iPads to be donated to those who communicate with sign language or who cannot articulate.  **Update** We now take ANY used/inactive cell/mobile/smart phones. We also have it set up so that schools, companies, churches, etc can hold a Gift a Voice cell phone recycling drive and pay NO shipping for mailing the phones!

We also just got our first media coverage about the iPhone, iPod and iPad recycling program.  You can read the article at Reno News & Review’s website and The Gift of a Voice in Sparks News Tribune.  Please visit the Different iz Good website if you would like to learn more, see how you can Get Involved, take a look at our Wish List or even browse our Different iz Good store!

Would love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section! Thanks y’all!

Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word

It’s time to begin unveiling The Turning Views Foundation and the Different iz Good™ movement.  Those of you who know me know that I’m Mom to Lillian Darnell, 9 yrs old, and Thomas Darnell, 4 yrs old.  Lillian has a Chromosome 18 abnormality called 18p-.  The  main way in which this manifests is that Lillian is speech impaired (she’s about 90% unintelligible). Lillian uses an iPhone with an AAC Application called Proloquo2Go to speak.

Turning Views Mission is To Empower Those With Genetic Differences by giving them a voice, helping them to be a part of the conversation like NEVER before! Turning Views Slogan is Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word!

Our main goal is to provide nonverbal or speech impaired children with an iPod Touch or iPad with the Proloquo2Go AAC Application (or similar) installed and all needed accessories.  In addition, to train caregiver and/or the child how to use the device.  Another goal is to hold workshops in conjunction with schools and speech therapist to educate regarding this technology.

This device and application are life changing in an unbelievably good way for the nonverbal and speech impaired.  Insurance companies and Medicaid do not cover these.  The alternative up to this point have been heavy, bulky devices that cost anywhere from $7,000 – $10,000.  One can have an iPhone or iPod Touch with the Proloquo2Go application installed and all needed accessories for around $600 – $1,000.

One additional major aspect of the Turning Views Foundation is to educate how technology combined with Social Networking sites improves quality of life for special needs children ~ especially nonverbal and speech impaired children. The way in which we communicate and conduct business has fundamentally shifted and changed forever.  It is my opinion that the World has shifted in such a way to include the speech impaired like they have NEVER been included before.  We are no longer solely communicating with our mouths and voices.  A large portion of the population is communicating using technology and social networking sites.  The speech impaired are now able to be a part of the conversation like NEVER before.  Their community and those they can engage with, socialize with and conduct business with has grown exponentially.  A second phase to our mission is to facilitate the making of entrepreneurs of those special needs children, teens and young adults who choose to pursue this exciting venture.

Different iz Good . . .  Spread the Word ~ we will be rolling out tons of DIFFERENT and fun ways for y’all to help spread the word.  I invite anyone who knows a special needs child, teenager or young adult (and even they themselves) to post a video reply on the Different iz Good YouTube channel telling us why Different iz Good, Different is Beautiful and Different is OKAY or what it means to you.

I believe Lillian is different for many reasons.  She is a special young lady who shines like no other and has a beautiful inspiring energy about her.  She is here to teach me and the rest of us some lessons.  One of which is to embrace technology and the shift in the way we communicate or at least approach with an open mind to how life changing this is for some of those amongst us.

Spread the Word Y’all ~ Different iz Good!

I want to steal a  bit of space here and thank a ton of special wonderful motivating and inspiring people for encouraging me and being a part of the creation and birthing of the Turning Views Foundation and the Different iz Good movement.  First, and foremost, Susan, a fellow 18p- Mom.  When I came across the phrase “different is good” in something she had written about a year and half ago, I asked her at the time if I could use that phrase on t shirts.  {Thanks Susan ~ you are a beautiful, smart and amazing Mom to IM.} It has since grown into the slogan for this 501(c)3, Turning Views Foundation.  My wonderful and supportive family who at times, I’m sure, wonder if I’ve lost my mind!! My Chromosome 18 Family ~ having y’all there means more than could ever be expressed in writing.  My eWomenNetwork Family ~ Love y’all to pieces – many times y’all are my glue and facilitate my Glow!  My friends from Oaklawn Junior High (Houma, LA – way down in da bayou) ~ I’m blessed to have y’all in my life!  Friends from my past and my newest friends and supporters.  Thanks a million to all of you!