How often are we truly thankful? Not just a smile or a nicety, but really, honestly, desperately thankful for everything we have? Not enough. Even when there are countless others who are less fortunate, we tend to focus on the small and trivial. On the me, and not the we.
At the age of 16, Brooke Shears found herself struggling to keep her head above the thrashing current. Her home life had never been particularly easy, but at 16, her world fell apart. Brooke’s father had a devastating drug addiction. Her parents separated. Money was so tight it was hardly enough to cover the bills.
Still in high school, Brooke was working as much as possible to help support her family. Driven by a sense of duty and hope, she pushed forward. But day after day, there seemed to be no eye in this storm. Not only was her family crumbling, and the vice grip of poverty crushing, but Brooke was also being tormented by others at school.
No one really knew what she was going through, or the incredible strength she possessed. On the surface Brooke tied herself together with a smile. Underneath the contented masquerade, Brooke was coming undone under the pressure of depression and anxiety.
“Girl Scouts helped so much with my anxiety and depression. Even though I didn’t join until the 8th grade, the girls of my troop came around me and embraced me. Girl Scouts gave me something to look forward to.” -Brooke Shears, Greenville
The girls of the Troop didn’t know all the details of what Brooke was going through. They didn’t need to. All they knew was that Brooke was their sister, not bound by blood, but by an unbreakable connection built on love, respect, and a common purpose. This tightly knit Troop gave Brooke their support, encouragement, and love.
After high school, Brooke pushed herself even harder as she worked her way through college. Even though Brooke was incredibly busy, she still made time to volunteer with Girl Scouts. She wanted to give her time and heart to other girls in need of inspiration. Now a college graduate, Brooke hopes her story will give others the encouragement they need to keep going.
“I would like to tell a girl who is having a hard time, or being bullied that it’s okay to be yourself. Never think you aren’t enough, because you always are.” -Brooke Shears, Greenville
Perhaps in reading Brooke’s story you have become inspired to keep going. Maybe you have gained a little perspective on what is really important. But the real question is- what will you do with this inspiration and perspective? This is our challenge for you: be the change you want to see, and make the world a better place.
One way you can do this is to volunteer with Girl Scouts. You can be that support that a girl so desperately needs. Be her hero. We are so thankful for all of our world changing volunteers this holiday season.