Ashlee Davis recommended Campbell to participate here and described her as a "pure ray of sunshine". That's high praise, but after meeting Campbell, I'd have to say that I wholeheartedly agree. Campbell's desire to make the world better by smiling at others is a gift. Combine that with her efforts in volunteering and she ends up being a powerful force for good. The world needs more Campbells, but I can imagine that she is actually creating more just by her positive example. Some folks act in ways that serve as a contagion. That can be good or bad, but here it's all good.
CD: I'm Campbell and I would describe myself as caring, kind, and fun.
ACT: What concerns you? What makes you sad and affects you personally about life and humanity? And what motivates you to do something about that?
CD: A big thing is people being mean to other people. I'm way more mature for my age than some other kids are in my grade, so I think that's part of it. Seeing other people being mean to each other hurts me because I don't know why. I just don't get why. I would like to fix it, but some things aren't as easy to fix as others. Especially when I'm only 15 and I think I can do a lot more than I can. Because I feel like people don't like to listen to younger kids.
And then another thing that makes me really sad is the climate stuff with climate change and plastic. Plastic is one of the biggest things in my life that I want to change. I'm part of this group that does community service. We meet every Wednesday and we do a bunch of community service projects. And we've done stuff in both of those areas like stop bullying and other stuff like that. So that's how I kind of make me feel like I'm doing something, which is pretty fun. I love to try to make a change. I don't like when people say climate change is a big deal or bullying is a big deal but don't do anything about it. I like to try to find things that I can actually do about it instead of just watching things about it, instead of being sad about it. So, that's really what motivates me is actually trying to find something to do about the problem.
ACT: Have you had your own experiences of being bullied or is the sadness you're experiencing just from seeing it done to other people?
CD: I have experienced it. More when I was littler. I haven't been bullied physically; more just emotionally. And one of the things is because I look different than a lot of people. I kind of stand out because I have a disease called alopecia areata which makes my hair fall out. So, I don't have hair. I'm also brown. And I live in kind of a not diverse place. It's getting more diverse I feel like, but when I went to school there was only a couple other people that had darker skin, which was kind of weird because I would get made fun of when I was littler for looking different.
But when I was really little I just didn't care. I was just a person that wanted to be me. I wanted to play on the playground with my friends and that's all I wanted. I didn't really care if people didn't like me for who I was. I feel like I was really young when I accepted myself, which is a pretty cool thing. When I was seven, I went to one of the alopecia areata conferences and that was the first time that I really realized how accepting I was of myself because so many people there would wear wigs. So many people there would always wear hats. But I have never been really afraid of being me, which I think is pretty cool. Because a lot of people have a really hard time finding that. I think that really helped me. But now it makes me sad when other people get bullied because I know what it feels like. So I just try to help those people that have been bullied.
ACT: There seems to be a lot of people that maybe still haven't come around to accepting themself and are taking it out on other people. What does it mean to you when you have a world full of adults that are still exhibiting this bullying behavior?
CD: It makes me sad. The saying I really love is you can't love anyone else before you love yourself. You have to love yourself before you accept everyone. People need to spend time realizing who they are and what they want to do. People don't really get that time to really accept themself for who they are. We're all different, no matter what. And nothing's gonna change. If you dress a different way, if you do all this stuff to try to fit in, you're still not gonna fit in because everybody's different.
ACT: So, how did you figure it out at such a young age? Do you have a secret?
CD: I don't really know. When I was little I had a lot of challenges with looking different and being adopted, too. And I just realized I wanted to be me. I don't know. I just have a positive attitude, too. I think that helps a lot with everything. I also had troubles in school with reading and speech and all of this other stuff. So, I think having a lot of challenges when I was younger made me overcome them really fast. I lost my hair when I was three. So I've had people staring at me. Little kids ask, why don't you have hair? Since I was at a young age having all these things, I kind of found out that it's easier just to block all the negative out really early.
ACT: As you make your way through your daily routines, what do people mean to you, individual to individual?
CD: My family means a lot to me. On a day-to-day, every day, I make sure to say I love you to my parents and my sister because they're my family and I love them a lot. My biggest thing is when I see strangers I like to smile at them or say hi. Because you never know what their day was like. They could have had a really bad day; they could have had a really great day. You don't know anybody's life if you don't know them. I like to smile at people because I feel like smiling makes someone’s day better. One little thing. That's one thing you can do to help the world is to smile. Because it makes other people smile and it might make people have a really good day.
Or telling people thank you is also one thing I really like to do. I always say thank you to my teachers at the end of class. That's one thing I never forget to do because they have such a hard job. And most kids in high school don't listen... I think being a teacher is a really hard job. I love saying thank you because they took their day and their time to teach us what to do in life and how to learn all these skills. They do other things not just in the curriculum that they're supposed to do. One of my teachers likes to tell us stories every day. And I think that's really cool. I hope that makes an impact on them. To be a positive person, maybe that makes other people positive.
ACT: What does community mean to you? What does it mean to be part of community with all these differences of opinion?
CD: Community to me means that we're all different in all of our ways but we're all still one. We all live in the same place - the world - and there's different communities in that. I think the word community means all of us working together to all live our life. But we're all still human and we're all still there. We're all a community in different ways. Sometimes you might not feel like you have a group or this or that. But if we tell them that they are part of our community, I feel like it would make them realize. It might take a while, but I think they would finally realize, I can do stuff, too, to help our world be better.
ACT: Do you have a sense of purpose or a compulsion to live a certain way or do you feel a responsibility to affect positive change? Do you have some feeling inside you that is guiding you towards the decisions you make?
CD: I do definitely have a sense of purpose. I do kind of have a career path that I would like to do, but I have so many things in that career path that I would like to do. And most of it is to help our community. I want to help change the world to be better. I love to volunteer. I volunteer in lots of different ways. Volunteering sticks with me more. There's either volunteering or getting a job. A job gives you money, but volunteering gives you experience and puts a smile on my face. And it makes me feel like I've done something and I love that feeling. This summer I could get a job - I'm old enough to - but I'm deciding to do more volunteering work. My friends always ask, Why do you do that for free? And I'll be like, Because it's what I love to do. I do have purpose and that's really just to make a change in this world for the better. And even though it's something little, it's changing something.
ACT: What's your favorite way to volunteer?
CD: I am doing this thing called Camp Fire and I've done it since I was in first grade. We teach kids how to live in the wild by themself; we teach them how to build fires; we teach them what to do when they get lost in the woods; we teach them how to use compasses; we play games - we love playing games and getting to know each other and meeting new people; and songs - we sing a lot of songs. It's helping kids find their spark. A spark is something that you love to do or your purpose. That's what we help kids try to find. I love it and it's fun.
In Camp Fire there's this other group that I did all year this year called Teens In Action. There was a group of five to eight of us all year and we would do things like game night at old folks' homes. We worked with the Alzheimers area and they loved it. It was funny to hear their stories about their lives. One of my favorite things is to help with the homeless community; I have a big passion for that. We used to go to this community place for homeless people where we would make food for them. We would cook lunch and dinner and breakfast. We got to talk to them about their life and we got to treat them like normal people. I feel like a lot of them don't get treated like they're normal people. We would just treat them like they're anybody else - like you're just talking to your best friend. One of my biggest passions is to help other people. And seeing other people smile is my favorite thing.
ACT: What's one of your hopes for the future?
CD: My hope is to change as many lives as I can.