In 2020, Mackenzie Starnes competed at the Miss Boston & Miss Cambridge 2020 scholarship competition for the the opportunity to represent the Miss Boston & Miss Cambridge pageant system at Miss Massachusetts 2021.
Community service is and always has been a huge part of my life. My passion for helping others has been instilled in me by the example of my parents and grandparents. From working in homeless shelters to dedicating their time and energy to lower socioeconomic facets of our community, I have learned from the adults in my life that there is no greater gift than the feeling of giving back.
Being an active member of any community service organization sometimes forces one to leave his or her comfort zone; I can certainly attest to this. Throughout high school, I began to become more independent in my community service actions. I have since been a leader, an organizer, and a supporter of different organizations, and I have learned unique life lessons from each. I became significantly more involved in community service projects upon winning the title of Miss Sacramento County’s Outstanding Teen 2013 in the Miss America program. Public speaking was of foreign nature to me prior to my involvement in this program, but with this leadership title, public speaking is nothing short of the most important part of the role. I was able to speak to groups such as the Girl Scouts of America and local elementary school principals about the importance of several organizations and causes that are very important to me, especially organizations involved in the medical and scientific fields.
Through volunteer work at the UC Davis Medical Center surgical outpatient floor, including extensive hours in the Children’s Hospital, I have developed a greater understanding and passion about the medical field. I have become aware of how much those in the medical field help so many others just by going to work every day, whether that be through reassurance, compassion, or direct medical treatment. Therefore, I began to speak out about the importance of becoming involved in hospital volunteer work, as well as informing young children and adolescents about the limitless benefits of pursuing a career in the STEM fields. I have informed them and adults alike the benediction that arises when dedicating one’s time to sick and dependent people. Sometimes, all someone who is bedridden wants is to have a normal conversation that doesn't involve prognoses or prescriptions.
I have helped raise over $50,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, and more than $20,000 for the American Heart Association, to name a few. The funds that I have raised have been given to hospitals to aid with cancer treatment facilities, traumatic injury care, and have helped provide top of the line equipment essential for modern hospitals.
The quantifiable results of my service are not just the number of hours I have served or the dollars I have raised, but are in fact the number of people’s lives I have impacted and the sense of selflessness, the sense of gratification, the joy, and the enlightenment to new subject areas that has been instilled in me. These abstract concepts are products of the hundreds of hours I have dedicated to service. These hours will continue to influence me as I make adult decisions, regarding my collegiate studies and occupational goals. As a Health Sciences major at Boston University with a focus in pre-medical studies, I hope to one day give back to those in need in the same way I have seen so many doctors and nurses do every day. Their compassion inspires me to continue working hard, in both my studies and community service projects, to fulfill what should be every person’s legacy– to be remembered not for what they had or knew, but to be remembered by what they gave back to their community, and the impact they had on the lives of others.