Miss Illinois, Abby Foster, and Miss Wisconsin, McKenna Collins, recently toured the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus, where they answered questions from adolescent clients.
Though neither pageant star has had direct personal experience with addiction, both women answered client questions with heart and honesty.
“Our biggest problem is lack of empathy,” explained McKenna. “People are too quick to rush to judgement. People experience life in different ways and we need to realize that.”
Both McKenna and Abby illuminated to clients the importance of learning along the way, giving back and leading more selfless lives.
One client asked, “What is your best advice for adolescents?”
Abby answered with her favorite saying: “If someone offers you a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You get on and enjoy the ride.”
She clarified that, of course, this statement only holds true for positive, healthy opportunities such as the opportunity for clients to partake in treatment.
In response to this, another client asked, “What was your first rocket ship?”
A knowing look spread across Abby’s face before she replied:
“At nine years old I was affected with a serious nerve condition. I woke up one morning and couldn’t feel my arms or legs.”
After a year and a half of rehab and re-learning how to walk, Abby was unsure what would happen to her true passion— dance. Coming back to dance after that much time off was hard, she explained. But, shortly after, she was given the chance to go perform with a famous Disney star.
“That opportunity was my rocket ship,” said Abby, “so I took a leap of faith.”
She added, “When you are presented with opportunity, don’t question it. Go after it with everything you have.”
Abby and McKenna gave clients encouragement and advice, but they both seemed impacted by the experience too.
“Every appearance and event we go to, we always want to make an impact, said McKenna, “but sometimes we find we’re the ones who leave more inspired.”
“It’s an honor for me to be here and I admire all your dedication,” she added.