There aren't many role models out there for young women. I fear that my daughters are going to grow up aspiring to be like...Ke$ha? Suri Cruise will be all grown up by then, maybe she will be a strong role model, you know, except for that whole Scientology thing. Luckily Twilight will have blown over by then so I won't have to worry about them acting as vapid as Bella Swan. The Jane Eyre's and Elizabeth Bennett's of the world have long since been replaced by Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. Teenage girls don't seem inclined toward self sacrifice and good deeds anymore do they?
Enter Jolene Hayter.
I have had the privilege of knowing Jolene for a long time. I have been doing her hair for at least four years and in that time I have seen her grow from a sweet young girl into an articulate, well mannered young woman. She has been involved in many projects over the years, from weaving sleeping mats out of recycled grocery bags and distributing them to the homeless on East Hastings in Vancouver to performing as Cindy Lou Who in a high school production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This year I had the honor of seeing her crowned Queen Valvedette the 64th, the highest honor that can be conveyed to a teenage girl in our fair city. Though it all she has remained humble and gracious, never allowing he successes to go to her head.
|Queen Valvedette the 64th, Jolene Hayter|
|Jolene's Family. Her mom Ilona, brother Brandon, and father Don|
The goal of Hero Day was to show that being truly beautiful has nothing to do with the texture of your skin or how pretty your hair is...true beauty comes from within and the courage and spirit that these burn survivors show is a shining example of that beauty. There is a lesson for all of us in there. It is so easy to judge someone based on their appearance but if we take a second to listen to their story we may find ourselves looking at them in a whole new light. Jolene pledged to cut her hair off to a mere inch in order to raise funds and awareness. She thought that maybe by sacrificing her gorgeous hair and taking away some of her external beauty she could inspire others to look past the physical and appreciate the beauty within but her plan may have backfired. She looks even more beautiful now than she did before. I am so glad that there are still girls like her in this world for my daughters to look up to and I am proud to call her my hero.