Daryl Files, is the Volunteer and Donor Coordinator for InterFaith Works CNY and a Warrior for Change. Abby Case sat down with her recently for BLOOM: A Community Collective but there was so much to talk about, we couldn't fit it all in the issue. Here is the full interview. 

I think it so very important that we encourage women and girls to speak up and be heard, to move beyond the fear. So how did you move beyond it?

My past is history, my future is a mystery, and my present is a GIFT.   I was raised in fear of being less than, and as a Baby Boomer adult; I refuse to spend my time in fear, although guilt does get in the way at times.  I talk to myself and also answer myself to get through these moments of feeling defeated and helpless.  

I learned to surround myself with POSITIVE, smart, role models.  I learned that I am kind and can be a role model with others.  I learned words of positivity, such as always finding the good in others, always having a glass half FULL, always being a good listener, always living by the Golden Rule.  

My Dad was an amazing human being.  He didn’t care if you wanted to be a ditch digger, as long as you were happy.  My Mom was another story.  That would take a book to explain.  I have a favorite cousin who I always looked up to and wanted to be just like her, and I’m still working on that at the young age of 70.  Always remember we are each on a journey and each and every one of us is going on their each individual journey.  This is a fabulous way to live.  We are never clones of others, we are each a wonderful precious gift.  Together we can and will make a difference.

What advice do you have for women in situations of isolation due to their fear?

Join something.  I remember seeing Glee on TV and thinking there was nothing like that when I was growing up.  We did not have girls clubs (other than Girl Scouts). Ask yourself: what do I love to do.  Get off of social media and meet others, face to face, building relationships and friendships.  Look around your neighborhood, maybe the library has a book club, a youth reading group, maybe the grocery store has a bulletin board and you may see a flyer with an idea.  Ask your faith communities, schools, neighbors, what they have coming up.  Put your small toes in it at first.  You may find you like it or you may find that you need to look a little more.  

I always considered myself shy.  Very insecure and afraid of my own shadow.  One day I went to the Plowshares Crafts fair and Peace Festival, just walking around and saw a booth with women who had a display.  It was Women Transcending Boundaries.  They invited me to a dinner and I said thank you and walked away. The day before the dinner I called and asked if I may still attend. That one call had been a life changing experience.  I made all new friends. They invited me to be on a committee. WOW. What if I made a mistake, they might not like me, there was that inner voice talking to me.  I went to the meeting and one of the ladies said, I will do this WITH YOU. 

Read personal development books.  Always be a student of something.

As women we also must be intuitive to see the pain and fear in other women.  Reach out to someone you may not know and share a few positive words. I love the color of your outfit.  Your hair is so lovely. Each of us just wants to be noticed, I remember being in the elevator in the building where we live and someone said, am I invisible. I wanted to just hug her.

When and where are you most inspired?

Now I get inspired by being around others who want to make a difference.  Every time I hear an idea, I want to figure out a way to invite others to somehow collaborate.  I love being in a group, and remember a group starts with just 2 and then keep adding on. Start with an idea and then listen and see where others will take it. It is not about me, it is about WE.  

I love being with our 4 daughters and just listening to them have fun and interacting with each other. I love going to our grandsons and great-grandson sporting events. I love romance and Hallmark movies and reading books that are fluffy and feel good. I love friendships and girl time.  There is a group of women who meet once a month on a Friday that inspire me because of their generosity. I love being a mentor to each of our interns at InterFaith Works. Just this morning I had a private conversation with a young woman who is struggling with fitting in. Just now I received a thumbs up from my coworker who she is working with.

What are you most inspired by at the moment?

I work with refugees from many countries Dem. Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Bhutan, Burma and others. These brave new friends inspire me. Can you imagine not having running water, a toilet or toilet paper, a bed to sleep in with a blanket to keep you warm. Volunteers inspire me.  I have the privilege and honor to work with the most amazing kind people. Our daughters inspire me. This week I had the joy to see Embrace the documentary. What a love story to women of all ages, and diversity. The Northside inspires me where I live. Our CNY community inspires me because we have thousands who care so deeply to make a difference.  

If you had the world stage for one moment, what would your message be?

Cut the crap and act like human being instead of spoiled brats. Remember where you came from. Only Native Americans started in the USA. We all have parents and grandparents and great grandparents who lived in other global places. Mine came from Eastern Europe with nothing, to make a better life for their children and grandchildren. Be humble and kind, I know this is a Tim McGraw song, but it’s true. We are all equal. I learned many years ago that you never know who you will meet going up or down the ladder. To be valued, respected. Grown men die for this and women cry for it. Ask yourself this question: How do I want to be remembered?


What do you embrace most about yourself?

My heart, my tears, my making a difference one human being at a time. We all want to leave our world a better place for the next generation. We all must pass the baton and Pay it Forward. I am Woman hear ME ROAR