I am a presenter, and I speak to large groups of people in my community – from neighbors and law enforcement officers to nurses and state representatives. I have also been interviewed on the news and I am in a couple of documentaries for the work that I do in my hometown with NAMI-SA and the San Antonio Police Department.

I wasn’t always comfortable speaking on camera. Actually, I didn’t agree to be video-taped until after I attended one of the Obesity Action Coalition’s Your Weight Matters National Conventions. I had bariatric surgery, and after a couple of years, I began to have difficulties with losing the rest of the weight I was told I needed to lose to be healthy. I wasn’t receiving the support I needed and I was trying to find someone who knew what I was going through. I was exercising, eating healthy and staying active, but I declined on some projects I was invited to participate on. I was not comfortable with the way I looked and had a lot of negative thoughts about what people thought of me and my weight.

When I heard about the OAC’s Your Weight Matters National Convention, I wanted to go – but the cost of Registration, hotel and travel expenses were too much for me to afford. One day I received word about scholarship opportunities to attend, and I quickly submitted the application. Weeks later, I got an email congratulating me on being awarded a Scholarship.

At the Your Weight Matters National Convention, I was able to get the support I was looking for. I met people in different stages of their journey with weight. I attended workshops about meal preparation, exercise and changing my way of thinking. I was also able to talk to surgeons, nutritionists and counselors about issues I had been having. I felt so comfortable in this space! For once, I didn’t worry about my weight and how I looked in my workout clothes. I wasn’t judged or shamed for being overweight. I was accepted, treated with dignity and I felt like a human being. I found my confidence, my voice and myself while attending this amazing Convention.

When I returned home, I was re-energized. I felt awesome, and this feeling made me feel like I could do anything! When asked again if I would agree to an on-camera interview for a documentary, I accepted. Today, I have been video-taped several times on camera and have done more public presentations with large groups of about 100 people. Sometimes, when I am out in my community, I get recognized from the documentaries and the presentations I do! Not a single person mentions my weight. They want to thank me for the work I am doing. That is an amazing feeling, and it’s all because of the scholarship I received to the OAC’s Your Weight Matters National Convention.

The donors to the Obesity Action Coalition’s Your Weight Matters Convention Scholarship Fund made it possible for me to attend. Donors don’t always know how their contributions make a difference in the lives of those who are awarded a scholarship. I want to let people know that when you donate, that donation can make such a huge and positive impact in the lives of people who may not have the means to attend. When I was awarded a scholarship, I never knew that it would make a difference. It did. Now, because of it, I am making a difference in my community.

Michelle Mata,
Past YWM National Convention Scholarship recipient

To learn more about the Your Weight Matters National Convention Scholarship Program and the opportunities it provides, please CLICK HERE.

If you would like to help someone Take their Health to New Heights and make a donation to the OAC’s Convention Scholarship Fund, please CLICK HERE!

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *