New York Times best-selling author Jeannette Walls brought a message of resilience and hope to Grand Cayman during Friday’s third annual “Power of the Purse” fundraiser.
Ms. Walls, best known for her memoir “The Glass Castle,” appealed to the common humanity of the audience, encouraging women to embrace their stories.
The book, translated into 22 languages and currently being adapted for film, tells the story of Ms. Walls’s unconventional childhood in the American Southwest and in West Virginia.
“I’m just a woman with a past, a woman with a story. The telling of that story has hugely changed my life,” Ms. Walls told a full ballroom at the Scotiabank-sponsored event, held at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
Ms. Walls talked about the pride that can often prevent those in need from accepting help. She encouraged the audience to support other women in a way that reaffirms their dignity.
“Let people keep their sense of self and then offer a way out,” she said.
She pushed women to accept their stories as a source of triumph rather than shame.
“So many of us have stories and so many of us hide our stories, thinking nobody will understand,” she said.
“Sometimes we are our own toughest critics. We think nobody will understand. But we’re all weird, we’re all different. You try to pretend you’re not and you’re just going to be a pale impersonation of somebody else. Embrace those differences and celebrate.”
She described the “glass castle” as a metaphor for hope of better times ahead. In the face of hardship, Ms. Walls said this hope is what often keeps people pushing ahead.
Representing sponsor Ernst & Young, Lauren Nelson spoke about addressing the gender parity gap and encouraged businesses to invest in sponsoring and mentoring women.
The fundraiser auctioned designer purses and handbags to benefit the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.
Denise Gower of the Crisis Centre’s board of directors highlighted the humanity, honesty and bravery of Ms. Walls’s writing.
She encouraged the community to continue supporting the Crisis Centre shelter, which is raising money to build another safe house.
The facility recently opened a public office, Estella’s Place, on Eastern Avenue. Ms. Gower said the facility’s teen and youth lounge hopes to support young people ending cycles of violence.
Minister Osbourne Bodden reflected on the much-needed work of the Crisis Centre.
“More women than ever know they can now turn to the Crisis Centre while they rebuild their lives,” he said.