There’s this quote I once heard that has stuck with me that states, “Being kind to others is a way of being good to yourself.” I’ve hung this quote on my walls, written it in paintings, even had it as my home screen to my phone, yet I have never understood it so thoroughly as I do now, and as you may have guessed, The Cheetos Club has allowed me that understanding. I’ve always been an introverted person, terrified of public speaking, but I’ve overcome that. Terrified of making new friends and speaking to people I don’t know, I’ve also overcome that. Terrified of trying new things, that was also overcome. It seems far too coincidental that I’ve overcome all of these things within the same school year of getting involved with a club about giving to others. What seems to be forgotten, is that the act of kindness gives just as much back as you put into it.

When getting an invitation to The Cheetos Club that was sealed with a little smiley face sticker, I remember that butterfly feeling I got while opening the letter and seeing the contents inside. I was excited that someone noticed me being kind, but I was also incredibly nervous, as I had never been involved with an extracurricular before in high school, due to my shyness and also being far too entranced in academics, and I knew that none of my friends were involved with the club either. Despite my nervous feelings, I showed up to the meeting, and I have never been more thankful for a decision before. This club has given me confidence to do things that me a year ago would never even think about doing. It has given me the opportunity to see a situation in which I want to help, and having the resources and confidence to make those things happen.

For example, one day at lunch a few months ago, I came to my table to see one of my friends looking quite upset, so of course I asked what was wrong and she pointed to a freshman boy sitting at a lunch table with one other person, and he was crying. A year ago, I probably would have just looked at him, felt incredibly bad for him, but I can be honest in saying that I wouldn’t have acted upon it. But, without thinking I immediately went over, asked him what was wrong, and offered him an ice cream cone out of a package that Mr. Bailey (one of our advisors for The Cheetos Club) had given me to pass out at lunch that day. He was stressed about not getting his homework finished, which he hadn’t finished due to some complications at home and having his teacher yell at him, so, I went back to my lunch table, got a pencil and my calculator, and went back to him trying to remember Algebra I basics. I took one problem, and he took the other, and we were able to get through everything he needed to get done. We gave a fierceful high five after that, and he walked out of a room with a smile, that he walked into crying.

The whole point of this story is that being part of this group has given me the confidence to confront situations when I see them. It has given me the knowledge to see those who are struggling, how to help them, and to treat everyone with kindness, because people are always fighting something that they don’t always let show. I’ve always been the type of person to help others, it’s quite frankly what drives me to get up in the morning, but this club has offered me so many opportunities to go above and beyond in doing things for people. Every act of kindness is another week of happiness for me. The people involved in this club, the people we have given to, the people who have given us donations to make our events happen, every single person involved in The Cheetos Club has reminded me of a lesson that I will never forget, the importance of being kind.