In Jillian's Words.....
Throughout my life I have had the constant example of reaching out to others through several nonprofit organizations and community service activities. When I was four years old my mom owned her own nonprofit called Clothesminded, which dressed 3300 men and women who were looking for employment and job placement. It provided these individuals with business attire that they would otherwise not be able to afford for job interviews. With this kind of example set for me, I have always been shown what it means to make a difference in other peoples' lives.
Over three years ago on my way to cheer practice, my mom and I were stopped at a red light with a homeless man on the corner of the street selling roses. A couple of days later we drove past the same area only to see him selling his roses just as before. When practices became a weekly routine for me and I began seeing the man at the corner more often, I decided I would be the change. One week I had bought roses from him, the next week I had packed an entire lunch for him. Just by sitting at the long red lights we were able to talk to him a little bit. It wasn't long before my mom and I got out of the car to ask him about his story. We found out that his name is Randy and that he is homeless because somebody stole his wallet with his i.d. while he was riding the bus. I asked him to make a list of the things he needed, and I did my best to provide him with those items. Although I could only do this for a short time, Randy was the final spark that I needed to begin making a larger difference in peoples' lives.
This is when I began Spark Your Heart. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to creating and inspiring random acts of kindness. The nonprofit inspires others by participating in multiple events; Race for the Cure, Hats Off For Cancer, writing letters to servicemen and women, collecting donations from the community to send to military, creating a Teddy Bear drive, and feeding the homeless. I have included Spark Your Heart's mission to the girls I mentored within my Girl Talk Chapter so they learned the importance of making a difference, and incorporated the organization with my Spark Your Little Heart Guild with the Seattle Children's Hospital, raising funds for uncompensated care.
Every day provides an opportunity to make a difference and even a little bit goes a long way. Gandhi said it best when he said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world". I believe we were blessed to be on this earth to be a blessing to others, and I plan to continue to achieve my goals in making a difference and leaving a positive legacy as an example to others.