What Have #GNO Gals Done Lately to Mom It Forward?
This past weekend Carissa and I headed out to Nashville for our first blog conference—Blissdom, hosted by the sweet and funny Alli Worthington from Mrs. Fussypants and the hip and abundant Barbara Jones from One2OneNetwork.
You can see our summary posts here and here where we recap the valuable information we gained, the tremendous contacts we made, and the fabulous friendships we built and/or strengthened.
The most amazing part of the Blissdom experience for me was seeing the old addage "all's well that ends well" taken to new heights with "all's extraordinary that ends extraordinarily." I am referring to the Mom It Forward service project at the Nashville Rescue Mission sponsored by Scanpan (who donated 5 sets of high-end cookware to the Mission, nearly making me wish that was my kitchen—the pots and pans were AMAZING).
Five Fabulous Things About Momming It Forward Nashville Style
What was so extraordinary about this experience you may be asking yourself? Let me touch on five highlights:
- Influence and reach is more important than numbers! We learned at the conference that blogging traffic is not as important as reach and influence. We experienced the same concept in a different way at the Nashville Rescue Mission. Our team was small in numbers—7 to be exact (Carissa, Kim, Josh and Rebecca, Ghennipher, Marie, and moi). But we helped prepare lunch for upwards of 1500 people.
(Photo courtesy of Ghennipher Weeks, featuring Josh and Rebecca Unfried of MomFaves.)
Now that is reach! Here is a quick note we just received from the volunteer director at the Nashville Rescue Mission:Dear Carissa and Jyl,
My name is Billy Eldridge and I am the Director of Operations at The Nashville Rescue Mission. I want to thank you and your group, Mom It Forward, for Scanpan's donation and the time you spent volunteering here this past Sunday. Clay (the Kitchen Manager) said you were a big help. Several of the men were in awe of the fact that members of your group were in town for only a few days and you decided to spend your Sunday with us. The pot and pans that you donated are great. One of our recent graduates of the recovery program is getting married later this month and she received a set and is very grateful. We appreciate all that you have done and would enjoy having you back any time. Thank you again for your giving spirit.
Billy Eldridge, Nashville Rescue Mission
- Shared meaninful experiences builds community. As we Mommed It Forward, our team experienced one of the most vital parts of building community: shared meaningful experiences. We may have been chopping vegetables or mixing in dressing on salads—ordinary tasks done daily for a mommy. But these ordinary tasks became extraordinary when we performed them while working together for a common goal and great cause—to help those who truly were not able to help themselves. It was an amazingly humble experience!
- Stepping forward and out of your comfort zone is key to Momming It Forward. We got out of our comfort zones. Not only did we Mom It Forward in terms of serving, but we took a step forward from an area in which we may not have been entirely comfortable—from our comfort zones, helping us all to embrace a very important step to Mom It Forward—taking action!
- Partnering makes Mom It Forward possible. This entire experience would not have been possible without a lot of creative connections. Specifically... the wonderful people behind the Blissdom Conference, who brought all of us together; the amazing Nashville Rescue Mission organization; our small, but influential team of Mom It Forward moms and dad who sacrificed sleep or fought headaches/sickness to participate; Nancy Martira, the lovely and brilliant PR professional and now friend, who introduced us to Scanpan; Scanpan for their generous donation and sponsorship (you've got to check out their cookware... as Alli says, "It's Lickable!"; Jessica Smith for introducing us to Nancy Martira; Abdul (I wish he had a blog I could link you to) for being our amazing taxi cab driver (no! he's no relation to Paula. I asked! LOL!); and most importantly, the people at the Nashville Rescue Mission—for their strength and goodness, however limited or ill understood.
- The Mom It Forward mission is alive and kickin'. We have heard a few times that the Mom It Forward mission to "change the world one mom at a time" is lofty. What the Nashville Rescue Mission experience taught me is that it is possible. Mom It Forward can accomplish this mission one day at a time, one person at a time, one location at a time. We already are, including the partner that sponsored the opportunity, the organization that made it possible, the team members that provided the service, and the amazing people who received it.
(Photo of Ghennipher and Marie of Make and Takes.)If you'd like to learn more about Mom It Forward, please visit our Mom It Forward blog. If you have questions or partnering ideas, please e-mail us at momitforward [at] gmail [dot] com.