HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — “I have learned that what you do makes a difference,” said 17-year-old Emerson Forbes, of Hamden.
When COVID-19 first hit, the teen asked herself what she could do to help.
“You have to choose what difference you want to make,” said Emerson, Miss New Haven County’s Outstanding Teen.
Masks were hard to come by, so that’s where she started.
“I wanted to make sure everybody felt safe,” she said.
She delivered them to essential workers, family and friends.
“I wanted to make a difference and help my community.”
But she didn’t stop there and created the Miles for Smiles Initiative.
Our elderly, specifically those in long-term care facilities, have been the most isolated throughout this pandemic. So, Emerson and some friends visited assisted living facilities throughout the state and did socially distant visits with the residents – even through windows.
“We still laughed, we danced, we waived and we kept them company,” she said. “Just to see the smiles on their face was a reward in itself.”
She has labeled all of her efforts as her Pandemic Pivot Initiative.
Most recently, she started Hearts of Hope, where people can gift lawn hearts anonymously to those they care about.
“It’s just to show that you are loved through these hard times.”
She’s a warrior who believes she’s a product of who she surrounds herself with.
“I feel that I am surrounded by warriors each and every day, and they make me the warrior that I am.”
Emerson is on a mission to do good and is encouraging others to join her on her journey.
“You can still make a difference in your community and get out and make a big impact on this big world.”
In April, she will be competing for Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen 2021.