Katie Sturmer, Ardsley High School
GlamourGals continues to spotlight our amazing Glammy Scholarship Award finalists! Today, we hear from Katie, chapter president of Ardsley High School, on the lasting impact of small acts of kindness.
I went on my first visit to a nursing home as a part of GlamourGals Freshman year, and fell in love with what the club offered the residents. Men would come to just listen to our stories about our lives, and women would come to have their nails done and offer us advice. These small moments meant so much to both the residents and us. The image of the smiles that spread across the wrinkled faces of these men and women as they watched us enter the room is one that I will never forget. Overall, these visits took an hour out of my day, which seemed so small to me, but to these men and women it meant so much more. The club has brought students together in my school that probably would have never interacted with each other otherwise. The nursing homes in my community had never been involved with a program like this. Being involved with GlamourGals has taught me the power of giving back, and I have been able to see the positive impact it has had on my school and the nursing homes in my community.
GlamourGals has not only taught me about my community, but also about myself. Many residents in nursing homes do not have visitors. Because of this, when we came to paint their nails and talk with them, they were always very welcoming and excited to see us. For many of these residents, they were taken from their home and put into a nursing home where they did not want to be, and then rarely visited by their loved ones. These encounters showed me the power that a familiar face and regular visit can have on these men and women. I got to know amazing people who had lived amazing lives, which ranged from modeling across the world, to living in the same town their entire life and loving every second of it. By being a part of GlamourGals, I learned the importance of companionship and the power of a smile. I learned that no matter how busy a person may be, there is always a spare second to do something nice for someone else. I learned to live every day to the fullest and spread love wherever I go.
For the past two years, GlamourGals in Ardsley has hosted an event to raise money for various Alzheimer’s associations. The event was open to anyone in the community, but especially to young children looking to get their nails done. We welcomed anyone, and painted their nails for a very low cost. The event attracted many kids, and was a lot of fun for everyone. The event was very successful, and we were able to donate the money to an extremely worthy organization. When planning our visits to a nursing home, I always keep in close contact with the Community Events Coordinator at the nursing home. I bring all the supplies needed, and all the nursing home has to do is provide a time when they are free for us to come. After each visit, I create a write-up of who attended the visit, what we did, how long we were there, and if there were any things that we can improve on. This helps me to plan the next visit, remember details to fill out the service report, and allows me to share my ideas with my co-leaders. Our chapter of GlamourGals has never had as many members as a lot of other schools do, but our club is full of devoted girls who love to give back to the community.
After I was elected president, I decided that I was going to do something that would have a lasting impact on the club. Prior to this year, Ardsley’s chapter of Glamour Gals had only been visiting one nursing home, Andrus on Hudson. This year I reached out to an assisted living facility in Ardsley to see if they would be interested in having us do manicures for their residents. Their Community Events Coordinator was very excited to hear about our club and was eager for us to start visiting. Because the assisted living facility, Atria Woodlands, is in Ardsley I hoped that it would make it easier for more students to attend the visits. My efforts were proven successful when more students attended the visit to Atria than had been attending the nursing home that was farther away. Many women have told me that they are happy that we expanded and started coming to Atria. I am glad that when I leave my chapter of Glamour Gals, I will be leaving it in good hands and with more connections than ever before.
GlamourGals has taught me the importance of giving. Aside from volunteering as part of GlamourGals, I love performing random acts of kindness. As part of a psychology project during my junior year of high school, I was instructed to break a social norm. I decided to approach total strangers and offer them gifts of flowers and candles. The faces of the recipients of my gifts lit up with smiles when they realized this really was just a stranger giving them a gift. This power to make someone smile inspired me. This year on Valentine’s Day my Italian class took a trip into New York City. The week of Valentine’s Day was also National Random Acts of Kindness week. I made about 40 cards with varying positive phrases on them. Some said “I hope you have a wonderful day!”, or “you are appreciated!” Some cards that I made which were given to police officers said, “Thank you for what you do”. On the inside of the cards I wrote, “This week is National Random Acts of Kindness week. Pass this along to make someone else smile!” I knew that some people would throw the cards away, but the possibility of even one person passing it along made the risk worth it. These experiences of volunteering at nursing homes and performing random acts of kindness have showed me the power of giving. They also taught me that every day is a new chance to make someone’s day better. I plan to continue giving back to the community and performing random acts of kindness no matter the career path I choose. For all the giving back that I have done and will do, I have GlamourGals to thank for inspiring me.