Monday, 7 January 2013

Overcoming Adversity blogfest

Welcome to my very first blogfest! I do hope you'll join me, because I think it's going to be a lot of fun. The idea is to create a very special anthology to put on sale via Amazon, that will go towards the college fund for my amazing stepson, Andrew.

If you don't know, Andrew has cerebral palsy and is coming to the end of his time at Stanmore House School in Lanark, a fantastic place that he has attended since joining the nursery class about fifteen years ago. I believe that the input from his teachers, and the technology available at the school, have helped shape him into the talented individual he is today. Unfortunately post-18 things don't look quite so good in Scotland. Andrew was basically told he would be attending Motherwell College (no element of choice), where he would be doing the "Access-8" course which more or less amounts to daycare (fingerpainting and the like), nothing that was going to push him to develop, or end up with a career.

I won't get into the ins and outs of the politics but basically the Scottish Government believes in mainstreaming and "inclusion". Unfortunately this seems to result in further education not being needs-led, but those with complex needs being fitted in around the margins and not given the resources that would really help them. We were not willing to blithely send Andrew off to Motherwell College, so we investigated alternative options to find the places that would really meet Andrew's needs were south of the border. We have now settled on Beaumont College in Lancaster, which Andrew has visited and offers amazing facilities like Eye Gaze technology, which would enable Andrew to use his eyes to select from different phrases and communicate much more effectively. He is interested in following a film editing course.

All of this has caused a certain amount of heartache, partly from having Andrew attend college in a different country when we are used to being very close to what's going on at school; but we know it will be really good for him. The main issue is the huge amount of fundraising required, which we feel is discrimination as further education is free in Scotland but there is nothing up here appropriate for Andrew. However we are meeting this challenge head-on with various events, and this brings me to the point of this blogfest. (Finally!)

It feels like we are doing this in the face of adversity from the authorities, but we have an iron conviction that we are doing the right thing. So I would like you to write something in that vein: overcoming adversity for something you believe in. It can either be a flash fiction piece, or an episode from your real life. Poetry is fine too.

The Rules:

* Sign up on the linky list below

* Please keep your entry to 500 words

* Please post on either Monday 4th or Tuesday 5th February

* I'd better say, keep it family-friendly! I'm sure it will be anyway.

Err... that's it! Once it's all over, I'll compile all the entries into the anthology which will be released as soon as possible, with all proceeds going towards Andrew's fund. I really hope you'll be able to join me, and please spread the word by whatever means you choose. The more the merrier! I'd also really appreciate it if you could display the blogfest button somewhere on your page. The ant is Andrew's mascot and will also feature on the book's cover.

As always for constant updates on Andrew please check out his Facebook page. Thanks!





83 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Very creative idea, Nick! No idea what I will create or post, but I'll sign up and hope inspiration hits.

Kyra Lennon said...

I can't promise I'll have time to do this, but if I can, I will sign up!

Louise Bates said...

Nick, I think this is a great idea, and what an inspiration you and your family are, to look at something like this as a challenge to be met instead of an insurmountable obstacle. Like Alex, right now I've no idea what to write, but I'll keep mulling it over until inspiration strikes.

Elise Fallson said...

This is a really great idea...let me rack my little brain and get back to ya! (:

David P. King said...

Count me in! :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wish it wasn't at the beginning of my blog tour. I might be able to do both though. Can I draw from something I've written in the past?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - signed up .. and I'm sure I'll manage an appropriate storyline ..

I do admire you - just sorry that Andrew has to come south ... at least it's not the south of England ...

Definitely count me .. cheers Hilary

Suzanne Furness said...

This sounds like a wonderful idea. I will give it some thought and hopefully pop back to sign up when inspiration bites!

Luanne Smith said...

Great idea. I'll get the badge on my site today. :)

Denise Covey said...

What a great idea Nick. I've posted the badge/link in my sidebar and will pass the word on in a blog entry later.

Leigh Covington said...

OOH! What a great idea! I would love to be a part of this! I'm going to have to buckle down, but I definitely want in! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wonderful idea Nick!!! I'm in!
I love the way that you support and encourage your nephew!

Livia Peterson said...

I love this idea, Nick! Awesome job! Now the hard part is going to be thinking up something for this blogfest! The easy part is writing it! :)

I'm in! Can't wait!

Denise Covey said...

What a great idea Nick. I've just posted the badge/link in my sidebar and will post my entry for this 'fest.

Christine Rains said...

A fantastic idea! I'm happy to participate and help promote. :)

meradeth said...

Love this idea! I need to make a giant note to myself so I don't do something dumb like forget to post :)

Lisa Regan said...

What a fabulous idea!

Donna Hole said...

And I'm lucky number 13 :) Can't pass that up.

......dhole

Michael Pierce said...

Very creative, Nick. Looking at who's already signed up, there are going to be amazing entries!

tfwalsh said...

Very cool blogfest... great idea.

Nicole said...

This is SUCH an awesome idea. I'm in! Kudos to you and Andrew for taking this chance.

Carrie Butler said...

This is a wonderful idea, Nick! :) Count me in!

Nick Wilford said...

Alex - Thanks for signing up! No worries - I don't know what I'm writing yet either. Lol.

Kyra - I understand if you can't manage, however, I'd love to have you on board!

Louise - Thanks for signing up. We're not going to give up because we want what is best for Andrew, just wish it was simpler!

Elise - Thanks! I see you signed up now, hopefully you came up with something. :)

David - Thanks!

L Diane - No worries if it's too much. As long as it makes a complete story (not excerpt), that's fine!

Hilary - Thanks! I look forward to your contribution.

Suzanne - Thanks, I hope you come up with something. :) I'm in the same boat!

Luanne - Thanks, that's much appreciated!

Denise - Thanks very much for your generous help!

Leigh - Thank you!

Nick Wilford said...

Tyrean - Thanks for signing up!

Livia - Thanks. Yes, ideas tend to be the hardest part!

Denise - Thanks again!

Christine - Cheers, I appreciate it!

Meradeth - Thanks! Yeah, that's always my nightmare with blogfests. :)

Lisa - Thanks for saying so!

Donna - Ha, this must be your year then. :)

Michael - Thanks! I definitely agree!

TF - Thanks. :)

Nicole - Thanks for joining!

Carrie - Thanks, great to have you on board. :)

Romance Book Paradise said...

This is a fantastic idea. Wishing you all the best with this.

cbwentworth said...

What a wonderful idea! It is so inspiring to see a parent fight for his child's talent. The education system is so intent on pigeonholing people, it fails to see the potential we all have.

Tobi Summers said...

This is such a great idea. Hopefully you'll be able to raise a ton of money with it!

DL Hammons said...

I'm positive I can come up with something! :)

Tara Tyler said...

i am so on board!

Empty Nest Insider said...

This is such a wonderful idea. I look forward to participating.
Julie

Pk Hrezo said...

Sounds great! I'm in!

C.M.Brown said...

Great idea, I hope inspiration hits! Even though it is a busy time for me I will certainly help.

Tonja said...

That is a great idea. I'll sign up once I think of something to write. Will buy a copy either way. New follower.

Clare said...

Excellent idea, Nick. I'm sorry you face such hardships trying to find the right college for your step-son, but it sounds like you and your wife are doing the right thing.
I'll happily help any way I can, including signing up for the blog fest, and promoting it on my own Twitter, Facebook and Blog.

kmckendry said...

I'm in! I wish you guys the best of luck with this difficult situation!

Shell Flower said...

This is such a great idea and I love that you guys are doing what it takes to give Andrew the life he deserves. My son is the same age, and I can't imagine how hard it must be for you to deal with this--choosing a college is hard enough!

E.J. Wesley said...

Such a tremendous opportunity and cause, Nick. I'm in for sure and will gladly spread the word.

Mina Burrows said...

Count me in! Go Andrew!

ilima said...

I am so in. I'm excited to help out Andrew any way I can. What a great idea!

Timothy Brannan said...

This is really cool and I WANT to participate. I just have to figure out how the adversity I have overcome in the past works with my blogs...

Thank you! You have given me something to think about.

--
Tim Brannan
The Other Side
The Freedom of Nonbelief

Cherie Reich said...

Such an awesome idea for a blogfest! I'll think about it and see if I have something I can write up for it. :)

J. A. Bennett said...

What an awesome idea! I think I might post something in a couple of weeks, it's for a great cause, so why would I say no? Good for you Nick!

Melissa said...

For this worthy cause, I'll come up with something. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

This sounds like a great blogfest! :) I'll have to see if I can think of something . . .

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'll pass this along on my Wednesday post next week (missed it for this week's, sorry!). Hopefully I can participate, too!

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Trisha said...

This is such a great idea for a blogfest, and as others have said a very worthy cause!

A bit jealous of Scotland's free higher education though, I have to say. ;) That used to be the case here too, but way before my time.

Damyanti said...

I'm signing up, tho I've got no clue what to write, cos it's an awesome cause.

Will help spread the word.

michelle said...

This is a great idea and for a worthy cause too!
I'm in! ( even though I haven't a clue what I'm going to write about... oh well, when the time comes, I'll think of something)

Nick Wilford said...

Romance Book Paradise - Thanks!

CB - Thanks. Well said.

Tobi - Thanks! And thanks for posting about it. :)

DL - Lol, me too!

Tara, Julie, Pk - Thank you!

Carolyn - I'm also waiting for that inspiration. I think I have an inkling of something.

Tonja - Thanks! Nice to meet you.

Clare - Thanks so much for the support. It's hugely appreciated!

Kathy - Thanks! Don't know where we'd be without the support of people like you!

Shell - I agree, it's hard for any parent. Andrew has such potential and we want the best for him!

Nick Wilford said...

EJ - Thanks, your help is amazing!

Mina, Ilima - Thanks!

Timothy - You're welcome, lol! I have a feeling some great stories will come from this.

Cherie - Thanks! Hope you come up with something.

J.A. - Thanks! Look forward to your entry.

Melissa, Golden - Thank you!

Shannon - That's very kind! Hope you can take part.

Trisha - Thanks! Unfortunately it isn't any education suitable for Andrew - but we are hoping to change that in the future.

Damyanti - Thanks for the support!

Michelle - Thanks. I'm sure everyone will come up with awesome stories! I never know what I'm doing when I sign up for these things, either. :)

Kittie Howard said...

I dropped by from Alex's blog. Good luck to you and your son. I'm in. I'll contribute one of my South Louisiana stories.

Romance Reader - Nas said...

A fantastic and creative idea for a blogfest!

Jo Schaffer said...

My youngest son is special needs! I totally get this. It can be so hard to get them the care they require.
I am posting this on Facebook.

M Pax said...

I have no idea what I'll write either, but I have a lull end of the month to come up with something.

Candyland said...

Oh my...
Well, I've signed up, checked out (and cried) the Facebook page and other blog, am following both of those now as well as this one! What a sweet boy. I've done a few fundraisers in the last couple of years so I know how stressful it can be to come up with money. I will spread the word the best I can.

Lynda R Young said...

This is such a great idea. I hope it's a huge success for you. I'm super busy at the moment, but I'll have a think about what I can do.

Krista McLaughlin said...

I love this idea! I hope it works out well! I'll do my best to think of something clever to add. :)

L.G. Keltner said...

This is a great idea! I'm in!

Cynthia said...

This is such a thoughtful thing you are doing, and I really hope that you get the results you want. I just added my name to your blogfest.

Elsie The Writer said...

You've inspired me. Count me in, Nick.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm not sure what I'll write about, but I'll sign up and worry about that later.

Stephen Tremp said...

Another Blogfest. cool! I just signed up.

Lara Schiffbauer said...

All signed up! I don't know how I missed this on Monday, but I'm glad L.G. posted about it!

Misha Gericke said...

I'm in a bit of a creative drought, but will spread the word. And will enter if something to write occurs to me. Good luck!

Dani said...

What a wonderful idea. Chills ran its course when reading this. I have no idea what I would right. Maybe something about my own son. When something hits me that's when I'll sign up. (I wouldn't want to take a spot if nothing comes to mind).

Nick Wilford said...

Kittie - Thanks for joining, I look forward to your story!

Nas - Thanks!

Jo - Thanks, that's greatly appreciated. :)

Mary - Thanks for signing up! I'm sure you'll come up with something.

Candace - Thanks very much for the kind support. I look forward to your entry, too!

Lynda - We're bowled over by the support, and appreciate every bit of support. Thanks!

Krista - Thanks! I'm sure it'll be awesome. :)

L.G. - Thanks for joining!

Cynthia - Thanks, I hope so too. :)

Elsie - Glad to inspire you. Thanks!

Stina - Thanks. That's usually my approach with blogfests. ;)

Stephen - Thanks!

Lara - Thanks! I've been amazed by the support it's had, re others blogging and tweeting.

Misha - Thanks. Hope you come up with something - I'm a bit droughty myself, hopefully that'll get better!

Dani - Thanks. I look forward to your entry if inspiration hits.

Nancy Thompson said...

What a worthy cause! I hope it all goes well and you achieve your goal. My blog is booked for guest posts, but I'll try to put a word in anyway. Good luck, Nick!!

Kittie Howard said...

You're most welcome, Nick. I think your fest is going to be a rousing success! Yep, English can be hard to translate, LOL!

J.L. Campbell said...

Thinking. Thinking. Need to come up with a suitable story.

Samantha May said...

What a wonderful idea. I'm in!

I'll make sure to spread the word tomorrow :)

Nick Wilford said...

Nancy - Thanks! I appreciate any help.

Kittie - Thanks again!

Joy - Thanks for joining. I'm sure your entry will be awesome!

Samantha - Great! Thanks for spreading the word.

Tamara said...

this is an amazing idea!! I really hope it raises a lot of money for your son. I think its great that you are so determined to do this. Good for you!! I'm happy to sign up. :)

Nick Wilford said...

Tamara - Thanks very much! Much appreciated!

Kimberly Gabriel said...

What a beautiful tribute and very cool way to raise money. I'll include this in my Contest Circuit post this Monday.

Justine Dell said...

Very, very cool idea!

~JD

Elliot Grace said...

...great idea ;)

El

Trisha F said...

What's with all these linky lists expiring way ahead of time?!?!?! How are we gonna find the other contestants? :P

I am just about to post up my entry! once I've written it anyway...

J.L. Murphey said...

I've just posted another mailbox question on my blog jomurphey.blogspot.com that will fit the bill of overcoming adversity.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

My brother-in-law has cerebral palsy. Unfortunately he is also profoundly mentally retarded too. When he was first born specialists told my husband's family he wouldn't live or ever have any level of functioning. My mother-in-law wouldn't listen. She taught him at home. He communicates with signs and is all personality (and orneriness!)
My point is: people with handicaps are often capable of much more than anyone gives them credit for. I hope your stepson gets the education he needs.

Cortney Pearson said...

I missed the list! But I wish you the best, what a tough situation. Hopefully things will work out for you all!! I really hope this will help raise the money!

Friko said...

Hello Nick,

I saw your call for contributions on Hilary Melton-Butcher’s blog and decided very late this afternoon to add my offering. However, I neglected to visit your blog to find out exactly what you had asked for and ended up with an article of more than 1300 words.

I realise that I cannot take part in your fund-raising effort but I have mentioned it on my blog anyway.

I wish you and your family every success and will do better next time.

P V Ariel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P V Ariel said...

Hi Nick
I am a bit late here,
Hope things are working out well for Andrew,
We Wish him all good
I am here via Trisha's page
Keep going
Good Wishes
Phil @ Philipscom
An ambassador to A to Z Challenge @ Tina's Life is Good
And My Bio-blog