My mom, Brenda Clark

Mother's Day Contest--A Giving Heart

As the baby of 11 children, my mother, Brenda Clark, grew up knowing the true meaning of sharing. What's remarkable, however, is how she has carried that giving spirit with her throughout her life. My mom knew what it was like to have "hand-me-downs" and what it was like to feel the desire of wanting a new sweater or pair of shoes like her classmates, yet knowing that money was better spent to feed her siblings or help pay the family bills. She also knew, however, unconditional love from both her mother and father (my grandmother and grandfather). They taught her that the greatest things in life cannot be bought and that acts of kindness, graciously given, do not go unforgotten. When I entered 2nd grade, my mom began working at Crittenden County Elementary School in the cafeteria. Since that time, she has helped countless children there, buying them extra food, taking clothes and toys to those who have little and providing a much-needed hug or smile to a child whose greatest need is for someone to care. While I have always been proud of her, that pride took on new meaning when I entered the teaching profession two years ago. During a writing assignment on the positive impact of role models, I shared some of the specific examples of my mother's selfless acts of kindness to children at Crittenden County Elementary School. A hush fell over the room and almost in unison they replied, "Your mom is Mrs. Brenda?" With a proud smile, I happily answered "yes." Several of them made comments about "the time Mrs. Brenda gave me money for Santa's workshop" or how "Mrs. Brenda bought me extras at lunch when I was hungry." Some even hugged me and re-paid me with one of the greatest compliments I've ever received: "No wonder you're such a great teacher, Mrs. Blazina, you're Mrs. Brenda's daughter!" "Mrs. Brenda's daughter." I cannot express how proud I am to hold that title. My mom always told me that if you're good to children, they will never forget it. It's my hope that my school children--and my own two daughters--see that same giving spirit in me that is in my mother. She is the most selfless, caring, and good-hearted person I know. I hope you consider her for the Mother's Day Contest.

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