In the Miss America Organization, the crown each girl receives is not only eye-catching, sparkly and (a pain in the booty to pin on our head), but it stands for four very important things; Style, Success, Scholarship, and my personal favorite, Service.
Giving back is something I’ve been taught since I was a young girl. My parents always strive to show me that helping others and making them happy is not only our duty on this earth but a way to help ourselves in the process.
For as long as I can remember, service, volunteering, and giving back is the one thing I have always enjoyed the most. Junior high was a tough time for me, I had just moved to a new town and had to start a new school, I was in a full back brace, and let’s be honest….I was just a little bit on the dorky side. Because of my back brace, I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence and only stuck to my small group of friends. I remember feeling like everyone was making fun of me because I had to wear something that made me walk funny, my clothes fit weird, and had to take breaks throughout the day to readjust this plastic thing that was attached to my body 22 hours a day. Now talking to boys was completely out of the question for me, especially to the cutest body in junior high, Cody, who just happened to have a locker RIGHT next to mine. I remember dreading going to school because I would have to try and open my locker which had a turn dial combination that I could never get open, and project my dorkiness on him, and that was just down right the most embarrassing thing I could ever think of. The day my whole perspective changed also happened to be one of the worst day. I can’t exactly remember what was happening that was so terribly awful but apparently it was a big deal. I passed Cody Green, the cutest boy ever, that I mention earlier, in the hallway and I was MORTIFIED to say the least. I had been crying, my brace wasn’t fitting correctly, I was sweaty from walking up like 8 stairs (some things never change), and the last person on earth that I wanted to see was him. We exchanged smiles and went to our lockers, he looked at me and said “Kim, you have a great smile!.” . WHAT?! The cutest boy in junior high thinks little ‘ol ME has a great smile?! I was ecstatic to say the least, and that encounter sparked a friendship that is to this day, one I wouldn’t trade for the world and he will forever be my family.
Moral of the story is NEVER underestimate the power of your words and your actions. After that moment, the rest of my crummy day didn’t even matter. From then on I was determined to make others feel how Cody made me feel that day. Community service to me is not only about doing something hands on, but it’s a feeling you give people when you interact with them. In high school, I started a Pay it Forward Friday where every Friday I would do something selfless, something that benefited someone else. It was anything from buying someone’s coffee to helping at my local library.
After a while, I started to notice myself changing. I was excited to wake up every day and see who I would come in contact with, I started to see the bright side of life and everything in my world was just happy. I PROMISE you, if you can dedicate even a little bit of your time and energy to serving others, you’ll see such a huge change in your quality of life. The experiences you are able to be a part of and the people that you come in contact with are so rewarding. You are where you are in this life today, either directly or indirectly, because of the help of someone else, the acts of another person. In my opinion, there is no better way to show your gratitude for life, than giving back to other people. This world has enough negative mixed in, why not be the light that someone else could use.
I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes of all time and I challenge each and every one of you taking the time to read this, to go out there and do one random act of kindness/service today. Take note how it makes you feel, how it makes the recipient feel, and look at the ripple effect that can form from simply telling someone you like their smile.
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” James Keller
- Miss Tri Counties - Kimerly Ford