This weekend, I’m getting a pretty big honor. I am going to be named one of the Illinois Junior Chamber’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons in the state of Illinois.
Yep. Me. The same person who forces her husband to take self-portraits of pretend excited cheering at sporting events and dances like a crazy person during endurance events.
Pretty outstanding, huh?
I am so completely honored to have been chosen, and I’m excited to attend the award ceremony with my family. But I’ve also been feeling a little overwhelmed by it.
I am in amazing company. Also receiving the TOYP award in Illinois this year are Israel Idonije of the Chicago Bears and Evan Lysacek, Olympic Gold Medalist. Did I mention we have to give a short speech after we receive the award… and they are in alphabetical order? Yep. I’m in between the NFL defensive end and the Olympic gold medalist. Um. Wow.
I’m aware that I do a lot of little things to help out in my community. I coach for Girls on the Run – Chicago, and volunteer regularly with them. In fact, the job I hold on staff now is one I did as a volunteer for six months! As a member of the Crystal Lake Jaycees, I co-chaired the annual Share a Christmas project with my best friend. I write Outside the Girl Box, a blog for pre-teen girls that encourages them to stay true to themselves and not confine themselves to society’s expectations. I have former students who still e-mail me to ask for advice. I know that I help out and that I have strenghts.
But everybody does, right?
I am surrounded by friends and family who do the same things I do. They give back in their communities, lend a hand when needed, and go above and beyond for other people.
So, sometimes, I feel a little (okay, sometimes a lot) undeserving of this honor.
My goal this week is to change that to just plain excitement and gratitude. I get to speak to a whole bunch of people and remind them why Girls on the Run is so awesome! I get to wear a fancy dress (more on that dress shopping experience to come) and have a nice dinner with people I love.
And, well, being called outstanding does feel kind of nice.