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My love for volunteering and participating in community service
activities first surfaced when I traveled to Poza Rica, Mexico to work
in an orphanage. Many of these children had lost their parents
at a very early age, or they had been taken from abusive homes.
Regardless of their unfortunate circumstances, these children
continued to give back to others with what little they had. The
more I learned about these orphans, the more I began to realize
how selfish I had been with my time. A vast majority of my average
day had been spent doing things for myself. Realizing that my life
is enriched because others have given and seeing that I can give
back and make a difference has provided a strong foundation for my
purpose to encourage volunteerism.
While volunteerism is not a new platform, I feel it is at the heart of
the Miss America Organization. This generation is plagued with
individuals who care very little about using their talents and abilities
to serve others. However, I have also come to realize that their
inability to participate stems from not knowing where to start. When
I speak about T-Roy Lends a Hand, my children’s book, I show by
example other ways to encourage actions of others. I realize that
my life has been enhanced and changed because of my involvement
in my school, church, and community. I know that through the
commitment of others to volunteer their time in these areas, my
life has been bettered. The object of volunteering is to help others,
when, in fact, the person who performs the service is the one who
receives the blessing.
The objective of my platform, “Volunteerism - Giving the Gift of
Time” is to encourage others to reflect on their own lives and see
how they can become a volunteer. I encourage people to take only a
few minutes to stop and think about how much of their average day
is actually spent doing things for others, rather than for themselves.
In essence, the key to volunteering is for all people, regardless of
their age, to find some way in which they can help. I encourage
others to find their passion and give back in that particular area.
There are many opportunities to volunteer, and I hope to inspire
others to recognize the needs and address them.
God Bless,
KeLeigh Edwards