Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Where it all began....

Hi! I’m Kelsey! I have a huge inspiration for helping people, especially children. For a while now, I have wanted to start a charity called “Shine Dream Believe”, which happens to be part of my own personal motto. “Keep Shining, Keep Dreaming, Keep Believing, Don’t Give Up”. I came up with this motto, when I accomplished my first dream, which was to meet 1996 Olympic Gymnast, Dominique Moceanu. I never stopped believing in my dreams, and did whatever it took to get there. 9 years later, my dream came true.

This whole idea officially came about when I recently read an article online written about Taylor Swift (who in a HUGE inspiration to me) visiting St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The article talked about her meeting a beautiful little girl, Heaven, who is suffering from a rare form of cancer.. Heaven got quality time with Taylor, and had her own dream come true that day. All she wanted was to sing Happy Birthday to Taylor, alone. Sure enough, it happened. When I read that article, my next dream was official made: Do something that involves the two things I am passionate about: Music and Children. I want to go to children’s hospitals, playing my guitar, and see the children smile. I want to be like Taylor for two different reasons: The biggest one is not only people knowing her, but the little things she does that make people smile. (People text or call me when they hear Taylor on the radio, which brightens my day ☺ ). The other reason is to be on stage, in front of thousands of people, playing my guitar, and people singing along. Also, screaming my name before I go on stage, knowing that I have changed people’s lives through music. (Article posted at the end)

Where did it all start?

Let’s talk about the music side first.

Growing up, I was always doing something music related, whether it be listening to music, or singing something at the top of my lungs. (and my family telling me to stop singing, which I never did stop) I think my music career started when I was in Florida, about 5 years old, I went up to a man that was singing and playing his guitar, if I could sing “American Pie” with him. In elementary school, I always wanted to sing in the talent show (which I never ended up doing.) Around middle school is when I was pretty active in singing. At our school mixers, I remember that I would hang around the karaoke lady instead of dancing. My favorite part was doing duets with the police officer. (haha!) I would always try out for solos for choir concerts. On a family vacation, I rewrote the lyrics to popular songs, talking about the vacation. One particular song I rewrote was called “Elizabeth” by Billy Gilman. My mother passed away about a year prior to this song, and her name was Mary Elizabeth, so I rewrote the lyrics to describe her. In case you were wondering, I still have both of those songs.

My mom started me off playing piano in kindergarten. I hated it. I never wanted to practice, unless it was songs that I liked. I stopped playing in the beginning of 5th grade. The last song I played for my mom was “My heart will go on” (From Titanic) in the Muppet’s Miss Piggy’s voice. In middle school, I was in the musical “Annie” (I tried out for Molly, and didn’t make it.) We got copies of the music, and I would come home and attempt to play the songs. I don’t think the piano has hardly been touched until recently. A few months ago, a little girl that I babysit, had to practice piano for her recital, which happened to be a Christmas recital. After she played, I was helping her out with beats, because she was rushing through it, and she asked me to show her. Apparently, piano comes back easier than you think. I ended up playing her whole songbook of Christmas songs, as she sang along. That night I went home, and got out all my old books, and played for a couple hours straight. Now, I’m playing basic versions of songs that I enjoy, by ear. (Thanks to my mom for her gifted talent, which was playing piano by ear.)

I think deep down, I wanted to play guitar since I started playing piano. I remember when my sister was at her lesson, I would watch the kids learning guitar. My uncle is a phenomenal guitar player, and every time I went to his house, he would be playing in his music room. He had a guitar that was just my size too, and I’d “play” it! A few years ago, I taught myself to play guitar, and I realized that music is my therapy. (I started playing guitar because of Taylor Swift…) I would be having a rough day, and I’d pick up the guitar, and start playing. When I first started, my goal was to learn a new song every time I played. I would play the guitar until my fingers were covered in blisters and blood. Before I knew it, I had a 2 inch binder filled with songs that I could play. As I progressed, I decided to start writing songs. The first song I ever wrote to guitar is about a friend who is struggling from a severe eating disorder. One day, I surprised her at the hospital, and played the song I wrote for her, in front of the nurses, and all the patients in her unit.

Now for kids…

My passion for kids probably started in elementary school, especially those with disabilities. There was a little boy, Jack, with down syndrome. I think he was a year younger than me, because I remember my 2nd grade teacher having him in class after me. I always loved seeing him in the hallways, because he was always smiling. At church, there was a girl, Kirby, who was in the same children’s classes as me. She was always so fun to talk to! Her sister was in our group, so she always came to ours. When I was in middle school, a little girl named Melissa would always roam the hallways in her wheelchair with a para. She couldn’t speak, but had this computer device for her to push buttons, and it’d talk to you. She would always push the right button to respond to, which was really cool! I was friends with a couple of people who were in wheelchairs. I cannot specifically remember what they have, but we always hung out. (Bringing music back for a second..) Lia and Shane both love music. I would always go to Lia’s, and we would sing on her karaoke machine for hours on end. Her mom probably got tired of us singing, because our favorite artists to sing to were SClub7 and Shania Twain. Shane played guitar, and would always talk about songs he wrote on the guitar. As high school came along, I would help out with the special education classroom. Ironically enough, my senior year, I helped out a boy who was in choir for the hour that I was assigned to him. I was really into cheerleading and gymnastics, and had a goal start a cheerleading squad for kids with disabilities. Unfortunately, that goal never got accomplished. I love surrounding myself with children, because they always put a smile on my face. Most of my jobs have been with children…coaching cheerleading and gymnastics, working at a day care, being a receptionist and a birthday party host at a children’s salon, child care in a gym, nannying, babysitting…

When I first started college, I wanted to do elementary education, and specializing in special education. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow through with it. I took a completely different career path, and went to school for cosmetology. I remember that I always requested to do the little girls birthday parties. I’ve enjoyed doing cosmetology, but I’ve realized that music and children are more of my passion.

I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting me in this, and making this dream come true.

We’re all beautiful, just some are different.

With that in mind, I’m going to end this with my motto.

“Keep Shining, Keep Dreaming, Keep Believing, You’re Worth It”.

I want to personally thank:

Dominique Moceanu ~ With out my first dream coming true, I wouldn’t have lived by my motto. Just like you told me when I first met you, I want to say this back to you: “I inspire you as much as you inspire me” You signed one of my posters of you “Dream Big”… which I do. I am now setting my dreams above and beyond, and I will NOT give up until it happens. Thank you for having me make those promises with you the day of the Dominique Moceanu Invitational. I promise, I have not broken a single one. When people ask me why I don’t do those certain things that I promised you, I don’t hesitate to tell the truth: “I promised my idol, Dominique Moceanu, that I wouldn’t…” I will never forget meeting you…

Taylor Swift ~ Thank you for being you, and not changing. You keep me going every single day. I have the lyrics, “You’re beautiful, every little piece love, don’t you know, you’re really going to be someone…ask anyone” stuck on my wall. It reminds me that one day I am going to be that someone who people admire, and look up to as their role model. You’ve got me to realize that guitar is what gets me through the rough patches. Every time I watch your tour dvd’s, I picture myself on stage in front of thousands of fans, singing along with me. I don’t know where I’d be in life, if I didn’t have my daily “Taylor Time”. You are like my morning cup of coffee. I don’t go a day without listening to your songs. A dream I have with you involved is to 1. Write a song with you 2. Perform on stage with you.

Camp Swift ~ For posting the article about Taylor Swift going to St. Jude. Visit CampSwift’s facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001709111347

Heaven Kelly ~ You are beautiful. Keep fighting that fight. You’re going to make it through this. You’re a strong fighter. Your story is what got me to finally get this charity event started. One day we will meet.. Maybe we can go to a Taylor Swift concert together? ☺ Please support her by visiting her facebook page: and the article on her that was posted:

My family ~ Thanks for putting up with me. Sorry for never wanting to stop singing after you told me to stop… but now I realize why I did it: Therapy. You’ve been by me every step of the way. You’ve seen me at my worst, and at my best. It’s the lifetime experiences that helped me be stronger in the end. Thanks for buying me my first guitar for my 21st birthday, Dad!

Uncle Larry ~ Thanks for giving me one of your guitars to play on until I got my own!

My Mom ~ Thank you for giving me a little bit of your musical talent. I’ll never be as good as you though…. I love you, and can’t wait to sing the song I wrote about you as you greet me in Heaven one day.

Rachel Yeager and Erin Nelson ~ Thanks for being my best friends, and believing in me. You are both there for me, no matter what day it is, and always give me the best advice I could ask for. I hope to one day be there for you, as you are for me! I guess meeting your best friends through myspace is the thing to do, huh? ☺

Taylor Wagner ~ I found your youtube channel by searching “Taylor Swift guitar tutorials”. The first tutorial that actually clicked on was not Taylor Swift, but it was “American Honey”. When I saw you my first thought was, ‘this girl is really good!’. Thanks for posting all the tutorials! Ironically, that next month after finding your youtube, and messaging you through there, I met you. Meeting you was so amazing! I hope one day we can do a show together!

To all the families I have baby sat and kids with disabilities that I know, and cheer/gymnastics coaches and managers ~ Thanks for making me realize my passion.

In case I forgot anyone, I’m sorry!

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