Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. I started skating when I was 2.5 years old. My older brothers were playing hockey, so I wanted to do everything they were doing! For schooling, I went to the University of Minnesota where I graduated with a degree in Sport Management and a Minor in Leadership.
I won two National Titles with Minnesota, and have been fortunate enough to represent the United States at World Championships and The Olympic Games in 2014.
As an influential person and a role model to so many young people in particular, why do you think becoming involved in your community is important?
Becoming involved in your community betters everyone and everything around you. Whether it be small or big, a task or a lending hand, working together and for a cause is what makes the world a better place!
What made you first want to give back to your community in one way or another?
Sharing my passion, my story, or anything else, to help someone, is why I love getting involved. A smile, talk, story, hug, or a shard passion goes A LONG WAY!
How did you/what made you become involved with Smilezone Foundation?
I was invited from another hockey player to attend the golf tournament in the summer. Watching the whole event unfold was magical.
From the youth that we met outside, to the golfers who helped make the day possible, it was so much fun seeing everyone donate to such a great organization. Hearing Scott and Adam speak to what Smilezone represented made me realize I wanted to stay involved with SZ!
You graciously came to our grand opening at Woodview, can you reflect on your experiences?
Woodview was so welcoming to everyone that attended! From the sensory room, to the meeting room and hallways, it was filed with color, light, beautiful murals, and compassion throughout the whole building.
Meeting some of the students that attend Woodview was a treat for me, to put faces to names and to see who is benefiting from the Smile Zones! There were numerous people in attendance, which was great, because it was a community event for everyone to share in!
Are there any special moments you’ve encountered through your involvement with us?
I was able to go back to Woodview to help decorate cookies for World Smile Day and watch a movie. I saw some of the students putting much concentration into the decorating, and others that were excited to sit and watch Inside Out.
Sitting in the back and enjoying the movie, I reflected on how fortunate these children are to have amazing staff at Woodview, additions to the facility, thanks to Smilezone, and the support that everyone has for each other!
Do you have any favourite Smilezone features?
The dogs in the Woodview hallway are incredible!! I am so inspired by how Smilezone enters facilities, hospitals, treatment centers, and anywhere else where anyone can enjoy the space and look for an extra reason to smile!
Do you have any advice for children and families who may be navigating complex healing journeys?
Trust the path and the journey. Smilezone is in your corner, and we are all in this together!