Following on from the huge success of The SM Space Cafe, our online support group for selective mutism, we have now set up a facebook group exclusively for teenagers with sm to connect with each other. The group is called Space Cafe 2. It is early days but already we have quite a number of members who are actively using the group, and we hope to grow our membership over the course of this year to support as many teenagers as we can.
On January 10th we held another online party on the space cafe group to celebrate being a year old! It was a brilliant night with plenty of music and interactive games everyone could join in, aswell as a competition, of which the prize was a lovely rose quartz necklace.
The cafe continues to go from strength to strength. There are always lots of engaging posts and discussions every day plus a great deal of community spirit and support amongst our members. Many of our members have said it is actually the only group they belong to where there is never any trouble, and people are always kind to each other! A fantastic endorsement :)
October is selective mutism awareness month in America, but that didn't stop us on the cafe from getting stuck in! Lizzie designed an awareness banner with the help of her friend, and we were all free to share it to our personal pages. I gathered quotes from our members on how life with sm feels...some of the quotes involved what other people say or they they react to a child with sm, and they are very powerful. We are sharing one a day to the cafe page and reposting on our own personal pages. I am also sharing them on the American pages run by Riki Jones, Selective Mutism awareness and Raise awareness for selective mutism.
It has been said that raising awareness is a 365 day a year job and whilst I totally agree, the spirit of having an awareness month is also fun and brings people together. We have had fun organising these special 'extras' this month, but will also continue to spread awareness throughout the year!
We have lots of plans in the pipeline and the cafe is growing in strength and membership :)
Please see the SM Space Cafe if you would like to share in raising awareness this month.
I have been working really hard on the online page, writing and doing some research into genetic links to anxiety!
But on 22nd August it was all worthwhile when I had a very unexpected email, via the website contact form, from Maggie Johnson ( slt). I was over the moon to receive her message which said:
'Love your website Claire, let me know if I can help at your London 2015 event.
(SLT and SMIRA Supporter)
So excited to get this message endorsing all the hard work and dreams!
We had our first online party last night till 2am!!! I was beginning to think it was a bit ambitious but due to the different time zones around the world we wanted to be able to include everyone that we could.
What an amazing night!! Fantastic songs all night, games and a competition! Lots of lovely people turned up and joined in too. Finally got to bed at 3:30 am!! A very long night but so so enjoyed it!!
In order to celebrate having reached 100 members on the facebook page ( we have now surpassed that) we are having a party tonight! Perhaps we are being a bit ambitious in thinking the party will last from 9pm till 2am!! For some of us, like me!, who don't get out much this will be the first party I have been to in the evening for years!! We spent hours last night till 3:30 am finding pictures of yummy food for the party! I know..crazy! We all ended up starving in the middle of the night! And we have plans for various games etc. Having only had 4 hours slepp and my children still in bed, I am quickly going to try and catch another hours sleep! Have never been part of an online party before..very exciting..so will let you know how it goes xx
Here I am sitting in my kitchen, typing away! Trying to get my dd up aswell as get breakfast, sort out the animals and the house, check the website..make adjustments and additions..as it is far from finished...pop in and out of the space cafe and prepare for a day of home education and work! I hope we have some fun today! I am thinking fun science and art. My dd is home educated, but that is another story! She is also sm.
Should I start at the beginning or should I just carry on from here? I have always been a dreamer and I have always wanted to try and help people.My own dd has sm and this led me first as a user to the Smira facebook page, then as an admin..then onto the sm space cafe page and now to the creation of this website where I hope I can gather all my ideas together!
Last night I spent many hours researching funding and funding organisations. I am still confused with the legal structure that I need the organisation to be, so I have decided to make an appointment to see the CVS and hopefully they will advise. I was very heartened to see lots of funding opportunities for core running costs and events though. xx
KINDNESS AND EMPATHY.
Although by no means perfect myself and often making glaring mistakes at home, I do always try myself to be caring and empathetic towards everyone. Sometimes I have wondered whether this is a strength or a weakness as it does often come with its own heartache. The cornerstone of my ideas is really based on kindness. I wonder if at some point I will be criticised for this, but I can only try my best.
I often notice in my day to day dealings that people are not always naturally kind and empathetic towards others. People are often intolerant, impatient. Even in jobs dealing with others and professing knowledge, often just genuine human kindness is lacking..for example when my dd went to school briefly and I was not allowed to walk her back to the class room..why?
I have noticed that this is an age we are living in that wants a diagnosis for everything in order that a 'professional' can treat it..without 'professional' input people often shy away from even the simplest form of kindness or understanding. What happened to just treating people as individuals and interacting with them as the unique person that they are..with or without lables?