Name: Mary H. from Madison, AL
Title: Front Porch Swing
Entry: One of my fondest memories of growing up on a farm were when we would gather on the porch in the evenings. With the sun setting in the sky, we would talk and laugh about all that the day had brought. My mother was always there, ready to swing and listen. I can remember the sweet smell of freshly cut hay as we would all swing or rock and enjoy the crickets in the air. I laughed, cried, and figured out life on that porch swing with my mother at my side. It was moments like this that has taught me to be a good mother. To stop and listen to my daughter. To slow down and to enjoy the simple things. My mother is an amazing woman. She taught me the importance of family and time spent with each other. Still, even though they no longer live on that farm, when we gather as a family, it is often on my parents' front porch. We slow down and enjoy each other. It may not be the same porch swing and rockers, but the feelings are the same. Feelings of complete love and appreciation.
Name: Tish N. from TN
Title: More than a teacher
Entry: Since the time I was 2 my mom was a single mom with 3 kids and frequent health issues and she struggled to make ends meet. She did an amazing job but by the time I was in high school my mom, older brother and I lived in a small one bedroom apartment with no car. I frequently had trouble finding a way to school since I was out of zone and not on the bus route. I played volleyball and basketball and had to call my teacher/coach one morning to tell him that I would miss the game that afternoon because I didn't have a way to get to school and would have to miss that day. I will never forget that phone call. I was embarrassed and felt so helpless but from that day on Mr. Bise drove out of his way EVERYDAY to give me a ride to and from school. He and his wife hired me as a babysitter for their daughter so I would have a way of earning money. He encouraged me as a coach and as a teacher to never give up on myself and he was always there for me. I was able to finish high school and earn a full scholarship to play volleyball in college. I know that I would never had been able to accomplish that without his support and encouragement. He and his family did more for me than I could ever explain in only 500 words. They changed my life. That was over 20 years ago but I can still count on him to be there when I need him. Recently a 10 year old student at my son's school was diagnosed with leukemia and I needed help spreading the word about finding a bone marrow donor for her and it only took one phone call for him to go above and beyond what even I expected. Mr. Bise is a special person that created many special memories for me that I will always cherish and be thankful for.
Name: Carol C. from Bedford, NS
Title: Inspiring Student
Entry: I first met Gillian when she was transferred to my school; I am an elementary school music teacher. The day she arrived, she was wearing a Disney memories T-shirt. As a Disney fan myself I was interested. She told me she had just recently had a one day trip to Disney as a part of a special program for wishes for underprivileged children. We were instant friends. Her one day trip, however fleeting, awoke a Disney passion that she has a hard time not sharing! Gillian inspired me to explore the use of Disney music as a part of the music program at the school, and together we created a special choir that sings once or twice a week together at the school. Gillian continues to share her enthusiasm for music with me, as her teacher, as well as her classmates. Although Gillian has not formal music training, she is an incredible singer, and can harmonize very well. Her financial situation does not permit her to further her music studies, however she continues to be both positive and encouraging to others. Every day at school I am excited to work with Gillian and my Disney choir. I would like nothing better than to see Gillian be able to spend more time at the most magical place on earth! She truly is an inspiration who makes me excited to be at work each day.
Name: Steve S. from Cleveland, OK
Title: NO LIMITS
Entry: Brik was one of my boy Scouts who taught me a lesson I would never forget. Brik has some disabilities caused from radiation as a child. As his Scoutmaster I involved Brik in our weekly activities but anything physical or things that involved coordination I had him simply just watch. One evening our troop was working on a merit badge that involved throwing knives at a target. After the boys each had a chance to throw I asked if everyone had participated that wanted to. Without saying a word Brik grabbed a knife and threw the knife right in the middle of the target. All the scouts were amazed and did not know what to say. One of the boys challenged, I bet you cannot do it again. He did it again! All the scouts gave Brik high fives and congratulated him. After that all I remember is how Brik's lip quivered and how he continued to look at me with tear filled eyes. Without saying anything Brik’s eyes shouted so loudly to me HOW DARE YOU LIMIT ME ON WHAT I CAN DO!!! After that night I watched Brik time and time again surprise and inspire anyone who was around him. Brik was afraid of pools and he got swim certified. For his Public Speaking merit badge Brik didn’t like being in front of groups and now he does it every week. Because of Brik I have accomplished more in my life and my families life by not putting predetermined limits on what we can do. In life we wait for those big life changing moments and if we look around there are many people who come in all shapes and sizes who can bring that inspiration into our lives. When I became scoutmaster I was asked to changed boys lives, but my life is the one that was changed forever.
Name: Lisa U. from Ventura, CA
Title: Forever a Girl Scout
Entry: I had been a Girl Scout since I was 6 years old. I was ready to quit the organization when I entered high school because I was just too old for something as silly as Girl Scouts. That's when troop leader Dottie Huff entered my life. She taught me how to be a leader, how to be confident, and that I could achieve so much more than I had ever dreamed of. Because of her, I can speak in front of a large audience with no fear. Because of her, I learned skills such as canoeing and CPR. Because of her, I am now able to be a troop leader for my own daughter. Mrs. Huff continues to be an inspiration, a mentor, and now as an adult, a friend. I am forever grateful that she is in my life!
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