McKenzie Steward has a lot to offer the world; sadly, her bullies may never understand or recognize that fact.
McKenzie lives in a large apartment complex in the Dallas, Texas area, and she dreams of someday becoming a model or a veterinarian. The young woman lives with a single mom of three who balances her time between work, parenting, and volunteering as a basketball coach at the community center.
Each day McKenzie does her best to spread love and laughter in her little corner of the world, but that doesn’t stop other kids from picking on her for the color of her skin. McKenzie is African American and also albino, giving her a unique appearance that lots of other kids simply don’t understand.
Will Dowell works for a charitable organization called Behind Every Door, a long-term resource for kids and adults within under-resourced apartment communities. Will works closely with McKenzie’s mom, and when they heard about the bullying the young woman was enduring they knew they had to do something to help her see how beautiful she really is — both inside and out.
“If I went into the details of what people say to her, you would be horrified,” Will wrote. “The darkness of the human heart is capable of awful things, and she has received the weight of that. We have cried with her, laughed with her, and simply been a friend to her. That’s what being present in every moment allows for, and also why we believe it is an essential part of what we do.”
One day McKenzie came home in tears after another rash of insults hurled from mean-spirited peers. In spite of the love she felt at home and among her friends in the community, it was impossible to hear negative and insulting remarks every day without taking it to heart.
This time, the insults had cut too deeply to be easily soothed with words, so Will and his team decided to take definitive action to show their young friend her true value.
Will described the action the team at Behind Every Door took:
“They set up a modeling photo shoot for McKenzie, where she was able to get in front of a camera and realize her dream. And, guess what? She was a natural! Since then, other individuals have noticed the gift and beauty of McKenzie and given her opportunities to be photographed as well.”
As McKenzie stood in front of the camera, her inner essence began to glow from within her heart. One look at the professional pictures will show you how lovely she is; the joy and sweetness of her spirit was on display front and center that day!
We’re glad that McKenzie has an organization like Behind Every Door to help her realize her worth and value to the world around her. Not every child is so fortunate, so remember to offer words of encouragement and compassion to everyone you meet. If you see someone has been bullied, never hesitate to reach out and let that person know how cherished and important they truly are.
Just look at the impact that small act of kindness had on McKenzie! Please share this story to spread this message love and acceptance even more.
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