Updated: Apr 30, 2018
Growing up in a small town and being raised by a nurse and a police officer, I quickly learned the importance of serving others. My favorite thing about being a professional dancer is seeing the smile on the audience's faces and knowing that I impacted them through my art. My favorite thing about being a volunteer is just that. When I see someone light up and smile back at me, my heart feels full; filled with all of the wonderful memories I have made volunteering.
Some of my favorite memories are of the mission trip I took with my church to help the victims of hurricane Katrina, teaching Sunday school for six years, receiving the president's gold volunteer service award, and helping the victims of hurricane Sandy through my university to name a few.
As Miss South Central, I now volunteer a lot of my time for my platform and program which I founded, Raise The Barre. It is as equally important to me that I continue to serve others and volunteer for the many organizations I care about. The first thing I did as Miss South Central was collect food for my local food shelf at the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. So many people in the community came out to support SEMCAC and enjoy the music in below zero weather!
I loved helping my father's sheriff office and GySgt Vince Reynolds at Southeast Minnesota Toys for Tots. We collected and sorted toys every Thursday leading up to Christmas. We delivered over 400 toys to the Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital and collected enough toys for over 6,000 children! How wonderful it was to make the holidays merry and bright for so many children and their families. I also enjoyed volunteering for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle, greeting people and spreading holiday cheer as Miss South Central.
A very special service opportunity is Miss Minnesota's Attitude of Gratitude day each month. In December, I visited the Veterans Home in Minneapolis with Miss Minnesota and other local titleholders. I had such a wonderful time singing Christmas carols, listening to the veteran's stories, and visiting with them. In January, we read to our princess's classroom and visited with the students. I had the pleasure of returning to the elementary school I went to as a young student to read to my 4th grade teacher's class. Mrs. Johnson loved having me, and I loved reading to her students. It was so nostalgic to be back in that school! I will also be visiting my princess, Ellie's, classroom at the end of this month and teaching my Raise The Barre workshop to her class and other grades at her school.
I volunteered at the Eagles Cancer Telethon in January and had the honor of presenting many donations and holding hands with cancer survivors during the Survivors Moment
onstage. So many volunteers and people from the community came together to make the telethon a success. Over $957,000 was raised to fund cancer research at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota! I had the best day listening to all of the inspiring stories from so many survivors of cancer. It was so special for me to be able to hold memories of my grandpa, who was taken by lung cancer, in my heart that day.
I look forward to the upcoming months of volunteerism and all of the new people I will meet along my journey!