Speaking to a captivated crowd of more than 1,100 guests, keynote speaker Kennedy Reilly left a lasting impression at the 2023 Samantha Mason Foundation Butterfly Ball when she shared a difficult story of her own personal abuse.
Her words served as a poignant and powerful reminder of the important work being done by the Toba Centre for Children & Youth alongside the support of the Samantha Mason Foundation. The courage to share her story not only left a lasting impression by those in attendance, but also provided important closure for Reilly.
“I did it,” she said afterward. “I got my story out and finally put a face to my story.”
While her story brought many in the audience to tears, many also took the time to speak with Reilly following her speech. It was not lost on Reilly just how special those words of encouragement were, especially considering no apology was ever received for the injustices she endured during her abuse.
“So many people came up and wanted to talk to me; I felt so cared about,” she said. “It gave me what I needed when I didn’t get it when I needed it the most.”
Through the partnership between the Toba Centre for Children & Youth and the Samantha Mason Foundation, young people affected by abuse are able to access a community of support and compassion. The courage of survivors such as Reilly is a testament to this significant and important work, and she offered words of encouragement to others who may be dealing with their own abuse.
“Speak your truth,” she said. “There are more people who will believe you than you could ever expect. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong – your truth can’t be wrong. There will be people who doubt you, but if you have a solid group to confide in your truth will never be wrong.”
With the support of the Samantha Mason Foundation, the Toba Centre for Children & Youth is providing just that; a group that can uplift survivors, amplify their voices, and create a world where everyone is heard, believed, and supported.