The end of this month I am planning to be in Chicago for the Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA) conference. I have wanted to check out ALDA for over a year now and had a rare opportunity given to me this year...I obtained a scholarship and my expenses are all paid. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't be able to go. I am so grateful for the opportunity...these conferences are a gold mine of information and support. The workshops are SO educational and informative and the support and encouragement of being around people who have stood in our shoes and understand where we're coming from is just out of this world. I love these conventions, but they're pricey. I actually went to work at Wal-Mart last fall to fund this summer's HLAA convention without taking any money from my family's pockets. Nobody ever complained about the money I spent on it...but I just didn't want to take my family's vacation money or the like just for ME...I would have felt too selfish. I felt that every hour I spent at Wal-Mart was worth it because I knew that the convention would be such a huge payoff for me...the boost I get from being with people that "get it" is just unreal. When I found out that I had been chosen for one of ALDA's all-expenses-paid newcomer scholarships, I was ecstatic...what a great gift!!! Abbie over at Chronicles of a Bionic Woman is trying to raise funds to go to this same conference. Abbie wants to go for many of the same reasons I do...to be encouraged and to encourage...but Abbie goes a step farther...she shares what she learns with us back at home. I've said before that of the Jen/Abbie duo, Abbie is the brains of the operation...she is able to break down some of the complicated information presented at conventions and bring it home and share it with the rest of us. She has posted on various topics on her blog such as Bluetooth technology, phone compatibility ratings, Web CapTel, and various bits of ADA information that I just can't wrap my brain around. She doesn't just take in this information for herself...she is out to share what she knows and help make the world a little easier for the deaf/hard of hearing people around her. Her blog is not only a fun read, but a wealth of information. She contributes so much to the deaf/hard of hearing world around her...and now we have a chance to give back! She is trying to raise 1,000.00 to cover her expenses to the ALDA convention...so far she is over halfway there. Her goal is to have it all by October 13th...we have a few more days...we can do it!!