Growing up, I dreamt of a career working with children and making a real impact on their lives. My recent experience volunteering as a leader in the AboutFace Trailblazers program has solidified that ambition.
I was born with a hemangioma on my chin and underwent surgery as a small child. At school, I was painfully shy, and when kids would ask “what’s that on your chin?” I found it difficult to answer or speak up for myself.
My parents thought attending Trailblazers camp would help to bring me out of my shell. I remember being so nervous on my first day of camp.
It’s no exaggeration to say that AboutFace camp was life-changing for me. Being with other kids and camp leaders who truly “got” the experience of having a facial difference was critical to developing my confidence and self-esteem.
Today, when leading the Trailblazers sessions, I love the challenge of recognizing the different personalities and life experiences of each group, and ensuring each youth feels heard and respected. I often tell people that for me, volunteering is a selfish act because I receive so much more than I give.
I will soon be attending medical school and am excited to use these skills when working with young patients.
My camp leaders helped to shape me as a person. I want to be part of doing the same for others.