On Wednesday, October 17th, I had the honor of speaking at Northgate Middle School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as part of their Kindness Program Kickoff. The faculty and staff were amazing and welcoming from the second I walked into the main office and the students were engaged and attentive – the poster children of what it means to be a kind kid during an assembly.
A few days later, when I was finally settled back into my New York City apartment, I realized how lucky I am to be able to do things like that. First, it was a personal connection – my friendship with the guidance counselor who helped me set up this speaking event. Were it not for people like her, who have believed in me since I was 17, I would not have the confidence to take on new challenges every day.
Moreover, I thought about my parents. Fortunately, speaking in the Pittsburgh region will always be easy since my parents live in western Pennsylvania. They pick me up from the bus stop, help me prepare for presentations, and do so much more behind the scenes stuff that makes my life and this nonprofit run smoothly. I don’t know what I would do without support like that.
It may not seem like much. It may feel obvious. But in moments like this week, I am so appreciative of the people who stand behind me and make everything The Smile Project does possible.