A heartfelt glimpse at ways to give back!

by: Rachel McCord.

I have to admit, while I do love the glitz and glam of Hollywood, my heart is much more fulfilled by opportunities to help young ladies who suffer from depression, insecurity or low self-esteem. At the end of the day, helping ladies live their DreamLife should not just begin and end in Hollywood.

And, let’s be honest, living in Los Angeles, how many of us would admit that we feel we are just getting by? Sure, we have passion and dreams, but we also have that incredibly important thing called a heart. Our hearts call out for something more. More than just our own desires. We need a deeper connection with those around us. To truly live our DreamLife, we have to give.

I want to share an experience that just happened yesterday. I hope it encourages you the way it did me. I hope it serves as a reminder to get the best out of this precious life and to cherish every moment. No matter how busy you become, you can use your moments to inspire those around you to live their DreamLife as well!

When asked by The Ridge Project to attend and speak at their annual Film Camp in Ohio, I immediately jumped up and down to say yes. Although I had never been asked to speak somewhere like this before, I felt incredibly moved that they would consider me.

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When I landed on Wednesday night, I was incredibly nervous. Having been homeschooled my entire life, I didn’t know what to expect. Would they like me? Would I fit in? I was so nervous when I made it to the camp, that I started joking about hiding tomatoes from the ladies before I went up to talk (in case it got cra cra).

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However, what happened next took me by complete surprise. When I opened up my heart and diary to them, tears began to come. Tears from me and also from the sweet young ladies sitting around listening. For the third time in my life, I felt like I was in a dream. A beautiful dream where my entire body was present. I felt truly alive.

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Here I was, this girl who had once felt so damaged and unworthy of the opportunities that came to me, now speaking to a group of beautiful ladies about how to change their stars and live their DreamLife. I was a part of something bigger than me. Something much bigger. I was a part of a community of beautiful young ladies who were going through some of the most difficult seasons in life. I still can’t believe that I was given the opportunity to share with them.

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When I asked the group of seventy plus ladies how many felt like they were beautiful, wonderful beings, four of them raised their hand. Four. Now, I am not the best at math, but I imagine these statistics are seriously off from the ones I have studied, regarding the self esteem in middle and high school female students.

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The hour and a half I had with them flew by. They shared so much and even opened up to ask questions like, “how do I end depression?” and “how do I let go of these deep insecurities?“. I shared the steps I had taken from the darkest moments of my life, and prayed that it was enough to satisfy the need I could feel from the group.

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When it came to a close, they came up in a line, one by one, asking if they could hug me, take a picture with me and if I would sign their t-shirts. They hung on me and hung out with me the rest of my visit at the camp. It was the best time I’ve ever had!

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I couldn’t have imagined what this experience would do for my heart. I cannot even find the words to express it to you now…

All I can say is that you have no idea how the things you do today, supporting and encouraging those around you, can save the hearts and lives of the brokenhearted.

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I thought my story was helping them. I imagined that the love I would share would change their day, maybe their week and hopefully, somehow, their life. What happened was they loved on ME. They change my night, my week, my life. It was as if we poured water over a desert ground, which resulted in their love sprouting up from the earth and covering me with compassion and acceptance. I was the one who walked away speechless. I am the one who doesn’t know what other experience my future could possibly bring that could follow this one.

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Before leaving, the sweetest, most beautiful girl shared a story so much like my own. She, just like every one of those beautiful young ladies, will be on my mind and in my prayers everyday for the rest of my life.

You cannot save them all, but you can save one. You cannot heal them all, but you can improve their moment… and that moment could change them for the rest of their life.

Please take the time to search your heart and find your passion to give back. Love and support those who need what you can naturally give. You never know what they are going through or how close they are to giving up.

It could be insecurity, poverty, abuse, pain, sadness, loneliness, or loss. Whatever it is, commit to show up, lean in and support. However that looks for you.

Whatever pain you have been through has great purpose. Believe in your purpose and use that to help someone else on the road toward their DreamLife (in Hollywood and beyond)…

I dedicate this post to Cathy, Ron, the incredible people at The Ridge and the girls who shared their time and hearts with me, all of whom I adore. Also, to my husband and incredible parents who have taught me how to love the world and get back up when I fall down… I love you!

Are you now in the know? Tell us in your comments below!

Comments 70
    • Samantha
    • 3 years

    Rachel- I only talked to you briefly at camp. (I had the son in the talent show who sang the awesome song and my team won the PSA that will be on tv:-) I just wanted to say thank you for such a beautiful write up on your experience at Film Camp. I have been working with youth for over 10 years and out of all the presenters I have heard speak with the girls, I most appreciated yours. I say that, in part, because when I talk to girls I try to tell them how powerful our minds are and the the saying “mind over matter” isn’t just a saying. I believe it goes back to the verse “as a man thinketh, so is he.” I know they find it a difficult concept when all they ever here is the negative things from their peers, friends, and family. But I was encouraged hearing you speak so confidently and genuinely about positive thinking. I was in my early 30’s before I finally believed myself beautiful. I think I just got tired of being sick and tired, ya know? And choosing to believe the truth of God’s word over the lies of the world. I keep a Grateful Journal, where I write only good things in it and if I find myself in a place where I feel down I can go back an reread things I’ve written. And it helps. I like making journals for my students and putting positive words of encouragement or verses, song lyrics, poems. Kind of like starting the journal for them. They love it. Lastly, I wanted to say many girls shared with me that they liked speakers who talked TO them not at them or down at them. Someone who was real. And even with you being “Hollywood” and us being “Corn Fields of Ohio” the girls I talked to and myself felt like you are the real deal. So thanks for talking TO all of us. Thank you for being transparent and making yourself vulnerable with all of us. Thank you for sharing the tough stuff. Thank you for encouraging and empowering us to dream life. Thank you for investing in the lives of these girls. Most of all, thanks for being you.

    • Jody Buehrer
    • 3 years

    Rachel, I was at the camp and I really took every single word that you said seriously. The first thing I told my little sister about when I got home was about meeting you, thank you for everything. I really think meeting you helped me with picking up more and more ambition to pursue my dreams of being an actress. I am really starting to believe that I am a beautiful, wonderful, amazing human being, thanks to you 🙂

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