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Double Duty

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I was a member of Central Florida Intergroup, serving on CFI’s Public Information/Professional Outreach Committee. I’d noticed on our area’s convention center website that a national teachers’ union would be hosting its annual convention in July. About 14,000 teachers would be in attendance from around the country

I inquired about what it would take to establish a presence for Overeaters Anonymous at this convention. My intention was to provide a resource to teachers, just as OA reaches out to health care professionals.

CFI was already working with the World Service Office to arrange for a booth at a physical therapists’ convention, which would take place one week before the teachers’ convention. After I inquired and applied, the WSO helped CFI receive US$1,000 from OA’s Professional Exhibit Fund to exhibit at the teachers’ convention as well.

CFI arranged for a professional looking backdrop to set up at the physical therapists’ convention, and I kept it an extra week to put up at the teachers’ convention. The WSO sent literature directed toward medical professionals for the physical therapists’ convention. For the teachers’ convention, I ordered additional literature directed toward young persons and concerned adults.

The effort to recruit volunteers was rewarding. I was between jobs, but instead of stressing and compulsively overeating over my lack of employment, I hired temp agencies to help me with my job search, then used my free time to attend extra OA meetings and make a pitch for volunteers.

The enthusiastic response I received was a pleasant surprise. People eager to do service found convenient times at one convention or both to carry the message. Just like my sponsor had encouraged me to do service by volunteering, I was encouraging others, and both booths were always staffed by one or more volunteers.

Some teachers left our booth with OA literature saying “This is definitely for me!” Within two weeks of that teachers’ convention, a local teacher requested a speaker to present at her psychology classes during a segment on addiction. The presentations pleased the teacher, and she wanted OA members to speak again the following year.

— Barbara J.

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