I have asked Brie Beaupre, who is currently our guest rider to write the St. Louis blog. Our guest riders bring their own fresh perspective and add a different light to this daily recap. Not to preempt Brie’s blog, but…I am compelled to offer my impressions because it was such a remarkable day.
The numbers tell part of the story: 247 seat theater, 247 seats sold…all but a few were in those seats by the time I walked in to give my introduction.
The volunteer team in St. Louis is committed…committed to changing the lives of children STUCK in orphanages. As I got to know them over the course of the day I realized much these kids’ lives mean them. I also came to learn that in St. Louis, family matters, and that is what is at the core of the connection to our movement.
The team went out of their way, brought us gifts, organized a lunch, drove me to my media appearances, and organized a fabulous meet and greet at an art gallery before the screening. The point is this team in St. Louis was committed to producing a very successful event for the tour, and they clearly succeeded. But more importantly, they are really committed to growing the UN-STUCK movement and their commitment to do so is real and will make a significant impact for a long time.
The movement took a huge step forward tonight. Growing the movement will not be easy and the key variables will be commitment and follow through. St. Louis showed up today and put on a clinic on commitment and follow through.
The Passion of St. Louis
By Brie Beaupre
Usually you can find me in the Both Ends Burning home office working (along with our wonderful home base team!) to try to make sure things run smoothly for the tour team. I had the privilege of being a “guest rider” and was able to join the tour for a few days. I was honored to be a part of the St. Louis premiere as it was a night filled with energy, enthusiasm, passion and new friendships.
We started of the day running from some bad weather. There was a terrible storm in the middle of us and St. Louis and even some tornado warnings (this Arizona girl had no idea was she was getting herself into!). Because of the weather we arrived into town much later than anticipated. We quickly freshened up and Craig was off to his TV appearance where we met up with some of our amazing volunteers. Get this: they even brought us gift baskets with lots of delicious treats! We were honored that we got to spend the day with people with such generous hearts. We knew St. Louis was going to produce something special!
After we wrapped up with the media we grabbed a bite to eat with the volunteers where we were able to truly hear the hearts of these people. We heard their stories, their moments of joy and their pits of tears. We heard about the moment when they finally got to bring their precious child home and we heard about those who are still waiting to have a story like that to tell. This is where it hit me. These volunteers are not just invested in St. Louis and making it a hit for their city, they aren’t just invested in the cause because they have a tie in international adoption. They are invested in STUCK because they truly believe in it. They believe in the power of family; they believe that every child has a right to a family. They are not fighting this fight for their own child who was once an orphan, but for every single orphaned child around the world. This is so much bigger than what I see in the main office through e-mails and phone calls. This is something that in a way has taken on a life of its own. Last night I got to see the volunteers’ passion, their dedication, their hearts as they join us in this cause and fight for those who the world have turned their backs on.
The passion the volunteers expressed reflected on the St. Louis premiere. We had a sold-out crowd and the energy was off the charts. We started the night off at a local art gallery where we held a pre-film reception. It was a special time for the communities of St. Louis to gather, share stories, talk to Craig and grab some delicious cookies! The group mingled for an hour before heading upstairs to the theater. Throughout the film you could feel the audience connecting with the stories that were being told from the big screen. That connection carried over to the very insightful Q&A session and people were eager to learn even more about this issue. They want to make a difference. They see the injustice and want to, no…are determined to change the way things are and get these children into the loving arms of a family that they so desperately deserve.
As we wrapped up the night and drove out of town to head to the next city the entire bus agreed that the work in St. Louis did not end when we left. Because of the wonderful volunteers and all those who have attended we know they will continue to work and promote the cause. Their passion and determination produced BIG things last night and they will continue to produce awareness and change. It doesn’t stop here. We still have a long way to go to truly cut through the red tape of international adoption but there is no doubt in my mind that the people of St. Louis are in it for the long haul. They will not stop until every child has the right to a family and they certainly have the passion and the determination to take them all the way to the end.
This truly is more than a movie; it’s a movement. And a big one at that!