I was 11 years old when my father was deployed to Afghanistan. It there are none Words to really explain seeing the sight of my father leaving us to go to war; just remember that it sends chills down my back. I go to bed and thoughts would sneak into my head at night that he wouldn’t come home. It’s hard to remember the look on my 5 year old sister’s face and the sound of her crying when it hit her that our father was really leaving. My parents realized how much emphasize this deployment put on both of us. So they decided we should take a situation full of such fear, stress and sadness and make it as positive as possible. We weren’t able to change our circumstances, but we did were able to change our views. For this year my parents let my little sister and I live a dream.
Since I was five years old, all I wanted to do was become an actress. I was sure I wanted to be the next Disney Channel star. But I would never imagine that just six years later, my mother, both me and my sister would enroll in drama classes, even fly us from Texas to Los Angeles to meet with managers, agents, and go on auditions. Trading has escaped from the best since day one. My little sister and I grew out of our shells, pushed out of our comfort zone and loved every second of it.
But despite the distractions, there was constant memory of war. I remember one day with my mother and heard her talking on the phone about someone injured by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). It was scary and confusing, but I remember telling her that I believe that any military child, something like that is a dream of yours. She deserves a distraction and escape like my sister and I have. Whether it’s a career, meeting a celebrity, being trained by an NFL player or even just going to one vacation persecuted with her family. No dream is too big or too small.
From there, Brat Pack 11 was formed. In its simplest form, BP11 grants wishes to military children of the fallen and wounded soldiers.
I have been working on BP11 for almost six years and it became a project very close to my heart. From the beginning it was a struggle to hear my voice and to realize it for my vision. Having adults who are serious enough to support me and buy in my vision has been the biggest challenge. I remember making calls and always laughing or firing as if I was too young to realize that I was biting off more than I could chew. This has always been shocking to me because adults complain that teenagers are lazy. Meanwhile, I tried to do something for the children of America’s heroes and I didn’t get anywhere quickly.
I think these adults thought I was too small to make a difference in the world. I am happy to prove otherwise. My favorite quote is from Anita Roddick: "If you think you are too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room." There is never a perfect age or time for you to live out your dreams. You just have to see and do it. No matter how old you are, you will achieve everything you have stamina and passion that you drive. You should never doubt yourself – or others. We are all able to change this world for the better.
A few years ago, I put together a national nonprofit called The Boot campaign, took myself under her roof, and made my love a program among them. They loved my passion for helping other military kids and wanted to help Brat Pack 11 grow. Military children are the only group that did not choose military life; You were just born into it. However, they are often forgotten when we talk about the victims of the soldiers. The boot campaign saw that this was a group that I wanted to bring a voice to, and they supported my vision without hesitation.
There are a lot of struggles and casualties facing all military children and their families that others do not see or recognize. For example, constantly moving and becoming the new child in school. I have visited twelve schools so far and I tell you it will never be easier. The worry of being provided a parent and not knowing when they come home is a daily stress. And unfortunately some soldiers (and their families) pay the highest price for our freedom. I wanted to show these military children and families there was a community that looked after them so that we could not forget their victim, not for a moment.
The Boot campaign and I formed a BP11 task force. She helped me raise money to fulfill wishes and included me on her website to share the stories of some amazing military children. We would have 07:00 telephone conferences in front of the school, go over all applications and discuss the planning and details of the requests we were granting. It’s been an amazing experience dealing with everyone there, but I finally knew that I would grow BP11 big enough to be my own national nonprofit. To get there we would have to grow our own wings.
I am currently working to get a 501 c 3 Brat Pack 11 to make my own national nonprofit. We are looking for web designers to help us create our own website. (Make sure you meet the team at the end of the slideshow below!) Unfortunately, this means that the applications that a guardian, family member, or family friend would send would be temporarily closed for a wish granted to their military roast, until we can get back to our website. But as soon as we start applying again, we start unpacking 1 million opportunities and making dreams come true for deserving military brats all over the country! Be careful for some exciting announcements, we will be posting on our Twitter very soon, and if you would like to donate the cause please contact here.
Click through highlights to see wishes, we have and learn more about Brat Pack 11:
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