Last week someone asked me why I chose my specific platform for Mrs. South Carolina America. They were curious about the reasoning. Fair enough. Community Involvement. Giving Back to those around you. Making a difference. Why wouldn’t anyone want to pour love into their community?
We’ve all faced traumatic things within our life. My background is no sadder or harder than yours really. The situations are just different. Let me shine a little light into a few things I battled in my 31 years……I developed an eating disorder at the age of 12 which would not leave me until the age of 30. When I was in high school a child hood friend was murdered. This was my first experience of a peer losing their life. During my senior year of highschool, I was date raped by a boyfriend. This was my first experience with sex. Up until this point, I had been saving myself for marriage. When I was 19, I had a puppy love fling that back then I thought would be forever. I gave up an opportunity to model in Spain and we conceived a child which I in turn lost. His heart stopped beating and I had to carry him for five days knowing he wasn’t alive. While I was only about 3 months along, this was absolutely devastating to me and would end up affecting me for many years to come. When I was 20, the heart problems I battled since my ED started began to get worse. This led to a suspected mini stroke. When I was 23, my brother passed away in a car accident. It was a week away from his 19th birthday. Last year, my bonus daddy passed away from pancreatic cancer. From diagnosis to death was only 4 months.
Sometimes in tragedy we find our life’s purpose-the eye sheds a tear to find it’s focus
~ Robert Brault
It’s been a long few years. Years full of lessons. Years full of demons. Years full of trials. I by no means included absolutely every single thing I faced during those years. I only highlighted.
Not long after my brother passed away, Hurricane Katrina hit. Watching the devastation on the news, I knew there was something that I had to do. I contacted my local Red Cross which at the time was in Georgia. I became a trained caseworker with them in just a matter of a couple of hours. Then on to my assignment. My job was to interview victims so that we could determine how much we could distribute to them on a Red Cross Debit Card. I had to ask them questions such as “how many lives were lost in your home?” and “do you have any family members missing?” . At the age of 23, this was a bit overwhelming. These were only days after the storm hit. No one had showered, there were lots of tears, confusion and a lot of questions. I think this was one of the moments where I really knew I wanted to do something within the nonprofit sector. I wasn’t sure how but I knew in my heart that is what I wanted.
After my daughter was born in 2009, I really started to realize that enough was enough. The feeling sorry for myself had to stop. She was my Angel from God. She needed me at 110%. She deserved it. And I wanted to be the best mother I could be. I wanted her to look up to me. I realized it was much more beneficial to myself and to those around me if I took my heartache and my pain and used it for good. As I said before, we all go thru major events. But we may not all be willing to share those things. We may not all have the courage to stand in front of a room and share our story. My recovery, my strength, my courage and my love for community only come from the actions of involvement.
This isn’t to toot my own horn at all. This is meant to show you that you can overcome what you may feel is the end of the world, what may very well be rock bottom and you can use those experiences to change another person’s life. Not only that, but you can learn from other’s experiences as well. If I can do it, anyone can.
I want my children to see that no matter what they go thru-someone else’s heart may be hurting just a little bit more. And if they reach out, they may end up healing themselves in the process. I want them to know that a person’s story goes further than what you see on the outside. Sometimes you just need to give someone the gift of time to find out what their chapters may reveal.
The great thing about community involvement is ANYONE can be involved. Employers with their Employees, families, spouses, schools, kids and individuals. It’s about finding which cause you can relate the most to. Which cause you feel the most connected. You can’t go wrong with a strong community full of support and love.
So, that’s why I chose this platform. It’s because I live it daily. My children live it. My husband lives it. We love our community….so why not give back to those around us in the ways we can.
To find out more about the causes I currently work with, check their sites out