When Cheetos Club began, I was on the outside. All through the beginning of my junior year, I watched the impact unfold. I saw positive signs on peoples’ lockers and received a birthday bag on my birthday, but I only realized I wanted to join when a girl in one of my classes was given a special gift and couldn’t believe someone cared that much about her. A friend invited me to one of the meetings, and I didn’t hesitate to show up. I was not an outgoing person in the least. I was afraid to give out birthday bags, so I stuck to decorating. I was scared to give new students tours so I didn’t volunteer. I had heard Spencer’s story a million times, and his kindness inspired me, but to me he was like the faces of Cheetos Club: friendly, outgoing, even popular. As if there was a “type” you had to be to be kind. By the end of the year, I had decorated a lot of birthday bags, even delivered a few, and I had a whole club of people who I cared about and I knew cared about me. Despite all this, I still wished I could do more.
This year, my wish came true. I started my senior year with a newfound confidence. We kicked it off with a trip to Camp Daggett, and after a day of teambuilding, volunteering, and working on Cheetos Club business, Mr. Tibbetts told all of us more about Spencer. This wasn’t the “Spencer Story” I’d heard so many times before. We heard about how he was not the popular person I thought he was, he just wanted to help people and make friends. I realized I could relate to him more than I thought. The next few weeks I did what I could to be more involved: I handed out birthday bags, volunteered to give a new student a tour, and tried to step up whenever I could. I eventually ended up using the hours freed up by my college classes to work on Cheetos Club business. I am the “kindness intern” for the club now.
Some of the things I do take me out of my comfort zone, and I have filled roles I have no previous experience in. I helped with setting up the TV in the entryway and updating daily PowerPoint announcements. Now I am working with the Club’s website. I am not a techy person, so it’s all new to me. I am writing letters and emails, making phone calls to ask for resources for various kindness endeavors. While these skills are important and I’m happy to be getting the chance to develop them, I think the most valuable skills this club and this internship have given me are the abilities to step out of my comfort zone to take on challenges and adapt to change.