Most of us are excited when there is a birthday to celebrate. Even more so when it's a milestone birthday. This year, my dear friend Maisie Dunbar turned 50. To celebrate, she set out to have 50 new experiences. But, more than that, she wanted to give back. Maisie shared the idea with me, and I thought it was a perfect way to celebrate. I told her I would join her when she came to Chicago. We continued to discuss the importance of giving back. After all, we are very blessed and grateful for our lives -- challenges and all.
Maisie reached out to Melanie Foote-Davis here in Chicago to get the ball rolling. We were confirmed to pamper the seniors at the Margaret Ford Center on the South Side in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. We would be pampering those who had a birthday during the first quarter of the year.
Once the pampering was underway, the room quickly filled with laughter, old music, and stories. It felt like Maisie and I laughed more in that three hours than we did all weekend. To see the smiles on their faces and feel the genuine joy in their hearts was fantastic. It was a simple thing to us, but it was huge for the recipients. One lady got her first manicure ever with us. She even suggested that I come back and do it again since I lived in Chicago. My time with these ladies made me look forward to my future and the life experiences and wisdom that I will impart on a younger generation. Unfortunately, we learned that since our visit, one of the seniors had made her transition. She was still wearing the nails I had done for her when she passed. This serves as a reminder to live each day to its fullest.
I'm continuing the journey by giving back throughout the summer in some way. I challenge you to pamper someone who's never experienced it; visit someone who never receives visits at a nursing home; make a food basket and give it to someone less fortunate; or just volunteer where needed. You'll do it for them, but the joy you feel for making a difference in someone else's life will be more rewarding than you ever imagined.