August 22, 2012

Emily's Smile Boxes Community Involvement!!!

Name of Organization or Cause *
Emily's Smile Boxes for Children's Medical Center

MaeganTodd* - National American Miss Texas Teen

Total Time Served* - 6 hours

Teaming up with my sister queens at Children's Medical Center to deliver 150 hand-decorated "Emily's Smile Boxes", full of crayons, coloring books, card games, and note pads was heartwarming. The Smile Boxes provide patients and their siblings hours of fun while they are in the hospital. Allowing myself to take it one step further, by actually playing in the play room, was not only courageous, it was inspirational and responsive.

As young adults, we often get lost in the vision of our future and fail to remember the memories of our past. The memories of being a child; full of wonder, and having an overwhelming amount of energy centered around play. Embracing play and being able to understand what it feels like to spend numerous hours in a hospital were not within my grasp. After visiting, it became clear this is a normal, every day life and feeling for many children and their families.

I met a 6-year old who instantly captured my attention. She is diagnosed with terminal cancer and spends weeks at a time in the hospital having radiation treatment. While language was a barrier, there was no denying our enjoyment of playing "princess" was rewarding for both of us. After our one-on-one princess dress up fun was over we created picture frames with all of the children in the play room. As I looked around the room, I saw constant smiles that reminded me how very fortunate I am. Their laughter continues to encourage me to be the light in a child's eyes. I left that day knowing I had made a difference. And, little did they know, they left a mark on my heart that I will cherish forever.

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