When I was 12, 13, 14 and up, I participated in the Preteen, Teen and Miss America pageant organization. Back then, my parents could not afford the cost of this “sport”. There were entry fees, professional photos, gowns, talent lessons and costumes, travel expenses. But, my Dad said that he’d take me around to local business owners, so I could ask for sponsors. I remember hating this at first, but year after year, I did it, and my parents never paid for anything in my 10+ years of competing and winning.
Today, I was making conversation with my son’s orthodontist and talking about an upcoming school auction that is the school’s biggest fundraiser, and before I knew it, he was handing me a $1000 gift certificate as a donation to the auction. I laughed out loud and said, “If I keep talking, what else can I get?”
As I left the office, I was reminded of how it felt to get community support for my pageant endeavors, and how people really do want to help others succeed. I also thanked my parents, once again, for making me figure out how to fund my dreams from an early age.