There are so many ways we can make our own personal contribution to the world. We can all find out niche and with a little grain of love and help we invest in orders we can, in fact, change the world. All it takes is some effort and a little self sacrifice.
Apart from our grades, our social life and other school related activities one can participate in college, I think it is important to emphasize how much at our own young age we have the capacity to help others in need.
I had the privilege to interview a young college student who used her own personal difficulty to create such a beautiful and moving non-profit organization called Operation: BeYoutiful. Lauren Palmar is the founder and president of the organization along with four others: Ashley Riegert, Laura Shal, Erin Schwoegl, and Alex Abel. All five of them are college students attending Ohio State University and are proud members of Kappa Delta sorority. I thought it was important to highlight their work and encourage others to start at such a young age to think of how their actions can impact others in a positive aspect.
How did you come up with the idea of your organization?
"In October of 2013 a close family friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. In order to raise money to buy her a wig, some friends got together and held a celebrity bartending event. We nearly tripled the amount of money we needed to raise and we wanted to help other people in similar situations. I had always worked with children (Big Brothers Big Sisters) so we geared our project toward children 0-18 and ran with the idea"
What does your organization do for others?
"We work to fund cranium prosthetics, or wigs, for girls 0-18 who are currently battling any and all types of cancer or hair-loss related medical illnesses. We also give them a “wig reveal” which includes a photo shoot for the child. At the reveal we also “crown” our “flower child” with a floral crown."
How long have you been involved in the organization?
The organization has been established at Ohio State for about a year but Operation:BeYoutiful originally began in 2013.
The focus or message of BeYoutiful?
"Operation: BeYoutiful’s Mission Statement: 'To instill hope, inspiration and build confidence in young girls battling hair-loss related medical illnesses.'"
Why is it such an important movement for you personally?
"We all have a personal tie to cancer, but also we all know what it is like to struggle with your self-esteem as a young girl, especially when going through a life changing event. We want to establish a sense of normality for these girls. We want to remind them that they have a disease, they are not their disease; sometimes something that seems as miniscule as hair can do that for a young girl."
What do you hope for people to get out of your message?
"Not only do we want to help the girls that have the need for our services, but we also want to inspire others to do something they are passionate about and to change the world one person at a time. Operation: BeYoutiful is more than an organization for us. It is our way of changing the world around us. If we can do it, anyone can."
What are some ways people can contribute to this organization?
"You can donate toward a wig for a young girl on our website’s donation page. You can also email us with any girls that are in need of a wig. We have been struggling to find wig recipients because our organization is so small."
In your personal opinion, should young students find more time to help in acts such as this organization? How can they be doing more to help others?
"Being so involved with non-profits and now having our own, we always get asked how others’ can get involved. My best advice, find a cause you love, and work until the illness, huger, power/gender/equality issue is eradicated. I always joke that hopefully one day I’ll have to close down the organization because there will be no more cancer patients to help. That’s the goal."
Her story has truly stopped me dead in my tracks and has made me reevaluate my entire perspective as college student and reflect on my life in general. How much have I truly done to make a change and have I reached my full potential in that aspect? I can tell you now that I have not.
This piece is not meant to guilt trip anyone into doing anything that they do not wish to do on their own incentive but rather to showcase someone who has inspired me to do better. How one person's drive to make the world a better place is effective enough to spread good will.
Who knows, maybe on day her organization will in fact close down because there will be no more cancer paints to help. If you wish to help this wonderful cause please check out their Facebook page tittle the same as the organization or on their website http://operationbeyoutiful.org. Every little bit helps.