Friday, November 4, 2016

Eliza speaks at the Choice Humanitarian Gala

This past summer, Bishnu fulfilled his promise to send Eliza photos of the children who received her scholarship money last year. I am going to copy and paste the e-mail we received from Bishnu:

Namaste Eliza and Nancy,

The hard earned Scholarship provided by Eliza Fregal has been distributed amidst a mass gathering during the inauguration ceremony of the New School Building built by Choice Nepal with the support of Doterra Healing Hands. There were top local government officials, local leaders, school staff, NGO representatives, school children and the people of the village along with the scholarship recipients and their parents. They all thanked and praised Eliza for her help and encouraged everyone to follow her example of service, hardwork and care for the poor and needy. 

When Eliza first saw these photos, she was at a loss for words. She was a mix of tears and smiles. We both were.
I think Eliza would agree, that we are both thankful that Bishnu took the time to share these images with us. It was a humbling and rewarding experience for us and, it is my hope, that it was likewise touching for those who supported Eliza's project last year.

Having heard her story, the CEO of Choice asked Eliza if she would share her story at this year's Choice Humanitarian Gala. It's an annual event to help raise money for Choice. They, in turn, use these funds to bless these impoverished countries in a variety of ways. Eliza quickly accepted. However, as we more fully realized the nature of the event, her nerves (and mine) grew.

The first thing we did was have her write her experience down. I acted as her scribe as she told me her story. We then sent her speech onto Leah for approval. She loved it. It was their hope that Eliza would memorize her speech; so I had her make a recording of it. As I would do her hair, drive her places in my car (you get the idea), we would play the recording over and over. Sure enough, she soon had it memorized.

The night before the event, Andrew drove Eliza to a dress rehearsal. Eliza's nerves went through the roof when she saw the beautiful ambiance and the number of tables and chairs that had already been set up. She later told me that her knees were shaking so bad as she delivered her speech. Andrew said that she nailed it and that everyone was so proud of her. This only increased my excitement and anticipation.

Friday night finally arrived. We fancied ourselves up as best we could, arranged a babysitter for the other children and made our way downtown to the Rail Events Center.

We enjoyed ourselves as we took in the different exhibits that displayed different items that were made from each country Choice serves. Most of said items were up for sale. Captivating as some of the pieces were, it wasn't long until we were involved with the silent auction.

Prior to her speech, the sweetest moment came when we discovered Eliza's photo on display along side other wonderful humanitarians. What these great people share in common, is the desire to end extreme poverty.

Eliza's Quote read:

"Please think about your talents and 
find a way to share them so
we can help those less fortunate than we are"

It was neat sharing this experience with my parents. 
They were proud Grandparents, that's for sure. 
It was fun, but not surprising, 
to watch my Dad to bump into former students and other old acquaintances. 

Finally, it was time to be seated for dinner. 

As you can see, Eliza was the last speaker of the night. 
It was kept very quiet that a child would be the concluding speaker.
Most of the night, and this did surprise me, people chatted through the presentations.
But when Eliza took the stage, the room suddenly went still and quiet.
She had everyone's attention.
It was a thrilling moment!

I led her to the restroom where we met up with a helper who took Eliza up toward the stage.
Together, they waited behind a black curtain.
She remained hidden from the crowd until her introduction was over. 
I didn't know what to think!
I was so excited and nervous; which is silly. 
I shouldn't have been nervous because I had great confidence that she would deliver a great speech.

Eliza spoke for four minutes to a crowd of 800 people.
The screen behind her showed various images of her throughout her project.
It was incredible. 
These two photos were taken minutes before she went up on stage.

I am really proud of this girl and the effort she made to help send these children to school. She has a big heart and I am very much looking forward to seeing where it leads her. I have two videos to share. The first video is of her actual speech. The second video is a "behind the scenes" look of us prior to the gala and a few minutes of us there.

1 comment:

Lara said...

Holy moly! That Eliza is one special kid!! I barely know her and I am so proud! Such a cool experience!