Hello, my name is Jourden, also known as “Smiley”. I am currently a part of the marketing team. I am currently in grad school pursuing my PhD and my major is Criminal Justice.
My favorite quote is “your faith must be greater than your fear”.
I decided to continue volunteering and contributing to MAKM because I love helping out the community, being a part of a positive change, and bringing a joyful spirit to those around me.
My name is Alexis Dicks but most people call me Sunny. I am a Junior at Bowling Green State University studying Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Forensic Investigation and minoring in Sociology. I love to journal, paint, and go on walks in my free time. I love feeling connected to myself and the earth and these activities ground me when all else seems to fail.
"When you are acting out of kindness, compassion, and love, you are then aligning to your true purpose." -Karen Stevens
I believe that society today has conditioned us to measure our worth by materialistic items and achievements by a certain age. In this process, we tend to lose ourselves. Giving back to others helped me get back to what's truly important. You never know how much you affect someone's life with a small gesture, and I believe that's our true purpose: to be in unity with everyone.
Greetings and Salutations— My name is Kolby Toney and I currently work in retail sales (more specifically electronics at this current juncture). In my spare time I love to workout, play basketball, enjoy a good movie, cheer on the New England Patriots and be a resource to others just to name a few. I was born and raised in the West End of downtown Cincinnati by the most magnificent mother, Adrienne. I started Pre-K at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy where I was ingratiate in service. I learned a lot not only about the exterior benefits of service but the interior calling that I felt was placed upon me. I was offered an amazing experience with S.O.S (student organized service) and ultimately was able to lead my very on mission trip to Coalmont, Tennessee my junior year and became an alumni of CHCA as a class of 2019 graduate. Some of my current aspirations include going back to school to further my education and pursue a MBA degree. This is a glimpse about my upbringing and background to me as a person.
*** May contain 1 curse word***
I first came across this poem in November of 2017 a few months after losing my mom’s brother Deshawn (who actually share a birthday 9 years apart). He was my hero! We loved walking to the old Kroger on Vine St. and getting ice cream because that was not only my favorite but my uncle’s too. I was struggling with not only the loss of my uncle but prior to that; whilst on the trip back from Coalmont and me leading my very first S.O.S. mission trip I received a call from my mom telling me my grand ”pops" had passed away. I was angry, complacent, and bitter at life and the world, when I encountered this poem/ spoken word on YouTube titled “Cuz He’s Black” by Javon Johnson. During the duration and even after watching the video, I was met with this overwhelming sense of peace and comfort. I felt as if I could not only relate to the nephew but as he concluded his oration of the story I realized that I am no longer the nephew but the Uncle.
Hello! My name is Kendal Cooke. I am a Senior at the illustrious Tennessee State University where I major in Health Sciences with a concentration in Public Health. After undergraduate school I plan on becoming a Dermatologist and being the CEO of my own skincare company. Alongside medicine, I currently operate my own fashion consulting and styling business. Some of my other hobbies include doing facials, singing, music , dance, watching Disney movies, spending time with my friends, astrology, and trying new foods.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~ Winston Churchill
This is my favorite community service quote because it reminds you of the importance of outer life, meaning everyone exists and we all share this space together but what you do while you exist determines how you LIVE. You get what you give into the world and those around you. Be someone who gives a smile, who gives love, who shares opportunities, and perspectives. Someone who makes life worth living for both yourself and those around you.
My name is Maddie Polen and I am a senior, class of ’24, at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. I am involved in many service groups, student government, and being an ambassador for my school - which is all where I spend most of my time. After high school, I plan to attend college for Social Work with a minor in psychology and Spanish.
My favorite quote is a Bible verse, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” - Philippians 4:6.
I love this verse because it is a simple reminder that I have nothing to worry about because I have God. Prayer is the solution for any doubts, worries, or anxieties and praying is definitely something I am doing constantly.
Hello—my name is Kiylah Smoot! I’m a first year undergraduate student studying Public Policy Analysis and Journalism with a concentration in Environmental Studies. I’ve always been very passionate about people! I love to garden and work on different creative projects!
Fun Fact: I was in a movie!
“The time is right to always do what is right.” - Dr. Martin Luther King
This is a call to always prioritize doing good; to make deliberate effort to serve those around us. In a world dimmed by hate, it’s our job to love.
Hi! My name is Emma Langhammer, and I’m an aspiring designer. I’m in my last year of school at the University of Cincinnati, in the School of Design in DAAP. I was born and raised in the Cincinnati area but love to travel and explore new places. I love trying new foods and restaurants! I also love all things health and wellness, from strength training to yoga.
“Recognize that every interaction you have is an opportunity to make a positive impact on others.” – Shep Hyken.
I enjoy that quote specifically because I think it hits very close to home for me. Trying to influence people in a positive way is something extremely important, especially when you make connections with the people you’re influencing. I believe that a big reason we are on this Earth is to help and support others. Making a difference, big or small, has very much been core to my value system, so I am more than excited to be apart of the Make a Kid Merry team. I can’t wait to see all that we will accomplish!
My name is Rylan Saunders, and I am a Senior at Kent State University majoring in Fashion merchandising with a minor in Spanish. I’m very close with my family and friends, and I also love to create things. I began my journey with service at a young age and through the years I’ve found my path serving with kids and I’ve fallen in love with it.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
Edward Everett Hale
I identify so much with this quote in the way I serve because I think a common feeling many people have when they serve is that they aren’t doing enough, which can certainly be discouraging. I think it is of the utmost importance for us to recognize that everything we do to serve others will have different effects and mean different things to every individual. So, the most important thing is for us to be as selfless as we can, not letting what we worry is “too little” to hinder us from helping those that we can. The seemingly “smallest” thing we can do in our eyes, can have the greatest effect on someone whose life could benefit greatly from it.