"My involvement with AboutFace and SickKids Hospital have both played a huge part in the development of my character and my future career ambitions. I became a patient at SickKids Hospital soon after birth, as I was born with Bilateral Microtia and slight Goldenhar Syndrome. I've had multiple surgeries for my hearing aid (bone anchored hearing aid) and to have my jaw reconstructed (at SickKids Hospital). As I have spent so much time as this hospital, as well as so many of my close friends and family members, I have been inspired to devote as much of myself as I can to give back. I have just completed my first year on the SickKids Council, and got a volunteer position at the hospital for the full month of July. I am incredibly excited about volunteering at the hospital every morning in July as this will be my first experience in the career I hope to have when I am older. I hope that with my past experiences, I am able to find the right ways to help the children at the hospital and inspire them to push on and stay strong. Along with this, I will be working towards my goal career of being a child life specialist (dream job at SickKids Hospital), where I can hopefully inspire and help patients, as well as hopefully provide the same comfort, friendship and trust I received from my child life specialist.
While SickKids Hospital has helped me through my medical struggles, it has also helped me find others like myself, struggling with similar challenges, which has made my journey a lot easier. Along with SickKids introducing me to all these new friends, AboutFace has done this for me as well. I started attending AboutFace events a few years ago, and it has introduced me to so many beautiful friends whom I can related to and share common experiences with. AboutFace has taught me that it’s okay to be different, and that I no longer had to be ashamed because I have my AboutFace family with me. Seeing that there are so many people like myself (as well as those with other differences) has opened my eyes to the fact that not only am I not alone, but through my experiences, I can help others and impact their lives as much as they have for me. Through AboutFace, I have met such incredibly strong people who have inspired me to be strong and share my story with others which has also inspired me to further help others in the future going through struggles similar to my own."
I first heard about "AboutFace" and attended Camp Trailblazers in September 2009. I was already one of the older campers; however, I used the opportunity to assist others. I was born with a Hemangioma and experienced a few surgeries throughout my life. When I first arrived at camp, I heard so many other stories of individuals going throu huge journeys. Since I was nearing the end of my hospital visits, I was able to help out campers so that they could see and understand that there is an amazing future ahead of them and to always keep their head up. I was bullied for having a facial difference as a child and i found it hard to fight through. Once I got to AboutFace and realized I was not the only oine going through this; my confidence and understnanding frew stronger. I was able to share my stories with younder childeren so that they could also gain confidence and courage to stand up for themselves in similar situations.
I continued on working with children through a program called 'Big Brothers Big Sister of Toronto' where I was a mentor to a younger 'sister' to help build her confidence and trust towards others as well as herself. I have also been involved in Me to We for zix years where I have raised awareness and funds for children in need both globally and locally. I have been the chair for this committee and have raised money through events and fundraisers in addition to taking part and running local food drives.
I realized through my work with children and AboutFace that my passion is helping children. At school, I enjoy studying science and math and I hope to be able to use my science education to become a doctor. My hospital visits while I was younger opened my eyes to the many different careers that are focused on helping children. These visits and my later involvement in AboutFace helped me realize that I wanted to be either a family practitioner or pediatric craniofacial surgeon. I want to be able to give back to children who are going through situations similar to those I experienced.
Essay: How My Involvement with AboutFace and My Community has Changed My Life Forever
There are so many different ways someone’s life can change and so many ways people can be influenced by these changes. Two things that have changed my life forever are my involvement within my community and with AboutFace. Specific areas that have been influenced by these contributions involve my self-esteem, work ethic and sense of purpose.
There are so many different ways my self-esteem has changed. First off, when I attended Camp Trailblazers through AboutFace, it was almost like I was in a totally different world. A world where there are no pressures, no commitments, no negativity. Only a world where everyone is supportive, caring, positive and willing to help with any problems I may have. With this feeling of positivity, I was able to open up and talk about my past problems with my self-esteem. While attending Trailblazers I was assured that nothing is wrong with whom I am, and that no matter what I am beautiful. Not only did the leaders reassure me of this, but my fellow campers did as well. These experiences have really made me have a better outlook on life and my self-esteem has grown immensely all thanks to AboutFace.
Another way my involvement with AboutFace and the community has changed my life is relates to my work ethic. Thanks to several different volunteer experiences, I have become a much more responsible, organized, committed student who puts everything into her schoolwork. All of my volunteering experiences involved me working with children and people who require care and compassion as well as responsibility and commitment. If I had not been involved with these volunteering opportunities, I probably would not be the same person I am today.
My involvement with AboutFace and the community has changed my life by improving my sense of purpose. With AboutFace, the one big way my sense of purpose has improved is thanks to many of the kids of camp. Being an older camper, many of the younger campers look up to me, asking questions and wanting to be more like me. This has really assisted in improving my inner self by making me feel needed, cared about, and significant in each and every one of their lives. These kids look up to me, making me feel this sense of purpose as I am helping improve not only my life but their lives as well.
Thanks to AboutFace, I have been able to form many new friendships and I’m sure more are yet to come.
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