Sunday, July 1, 2012

Color Me A Smile - Olivia

     Most people would be a little self conscious about grabbing a guitar and singing on the main street of their hometown, but Olivia Winn throws caution to the wind to make things happen in her life. On June 16th, she happily sang songs to passing cars in hopes that they would stop by to support her non-profit organization, Color Me A Smile.
      Color Me A Smile began when Olivia was going through Chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas. She met other children, much younger than she, who were having to battle extremely harmful diseases such as Leukemia and cancer.  One day while visiting with a 3 year old girl diagnosed with Leukemia Olivia "...couldn't help but think that all of this girl's childhood memories would be of a hospital. I wanted to make her smile so I drew her a picture to color, and the idea just evolved from there!".
     Olivia is always putting others first. When asked what her motivation was for Color Me A Smile she said, "I don't think about why I am doing this. I just know God gave me a job and I have to do it." Her selfless mindset along with her generosity and kindness puts a smile on the face of anyone she meets. Now she will be making even more people smile through the coloring books she will be providing through Color Me A Smile.
      The goal of Color Me A Smile is simplistic in its design - make children smile while they are going through a hard time. These locally made coloring books will be filled with original drawings created  by people in the community, giving the coloring books a more personal touch. By people in the community contributing their artwork to the coloring books it not only gets people more involved, but it shows the children receiving the coloring books that they have a multitude of people thinking about them and supporting them every step of the way.
     The community has been such a huge support to the organization from the beginning. Olivia has had encouragement from her friends and family while she was battling cancer and they are still showing support by donating their time, money and creative skills to Color Me A Smile. "I was blown away by all of the support everyone gave at the fundraiser today." Olivia said after a hugely successful end to Color Me A Smile's first fundraiser. By the end of the day, Color Me A Smile earned enough money to make over 300 coloring books!
   Color Me A Smile seems to grow more and more successful everyday but every success story has it's obstacles, and Olivia said that one of the greatest obstacles in her way was life in general. "I just got lazy and busy, so everything got pushed to the side. Another obstacle was not really knowing what to do or how to start." Obstacles make a journey seem next to near impossible at times but sometimes waiting a little while and getting past the obstacles makes the outcome even more sweeter, and that is definitely the case for Color Me A Smile. "Someone asked me why I waited so long to start all this up. I realize now that if I had tried what I am doing now back in 2010, it wouldn't have happened this way and I wouldn't have known all the people I know now that have helped make this happen! Then I think, this is when it was supposed to happen. A day is a thousand years to God and a thousand years is a day."
     I love the idea of Color Me A Smile, it is a different way for kids to take their minds off of what treatment they have to go to next. I have always loved to color, and I still color on occasion. It is the perfect way to take my mind off of a crazy schedule - the smell of a new box of crayons, the bright colors, fun coloring pages and infinite ways to color them, what's not to smile about?

To learn more information about Color Me A Smile, check out their Facebook page :

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