Hindsight is twenty-twenty. If someone had shown me a picture of my life now to me in 2008 I would have called them a liar. In 2008 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After two surgeries I was healed and lonely. I had trouble relating to those around me. Then I came to my first Smile-A-Mile program, a teen summer camp session one year later. The environment that Smile-A-Mile created allowed me to, for the first time, not feel quite so lonely. It is not an exaggeration when I say that Smile-A-Mile changed the direction that my life was headed. That was a gift from Smile-A-Mile volunteers and staff that has no measurable worth and is something that I can never repay. As such, when I was old enough to volunteer and serve Smile-A-Mile, I jumped at the opportunity. I had a yearning to create that same environment for children that have had their childhood stolen from them and walk a similar path of loneliness.
Now I have been involved with Smile-A-Mile for a little over a decade. I have watched children walk through great pain and loss. I have also watched those same children face their future with hope and determination. Some of my greatest examples in life have been the campers that I have been assigned to as a counselor. Smile-A-Mile has been a force of good in my life and now I have the great joy of being able to volunteer and serve Smile-A-Mile in any way that is needed. That is what Smile-A-Mile has meant in my life and will continue to mean in countless other people’s lives.