On May 21, 2012 McKenzie Betts, a residence of Lincoln, was recognized and awarded the Youth Service Challenge award by the Mayor of Lewes and the Jefferson Awards. Mayor Ford had nominated McKenzie for her efforts to try and help Lilly Barnett with proceeds from the sale of her book, Blue Bear Finds A Rainbow. Bernett was injured in July of 2011 in a serious car accident with her grandmother .
Last year, at age 9, McKenzie Betts published her children’s book Blue Bear Finds A Rainbow. Blue Bear Finds a Rainbow tells the story of a self-conscious bear who develops his self image through what others say about him. The negative remarks from other bears causes him to feel sad and doubt his ability to succeed. After Blue Bear finds an unexpected friend, he begins to develop a positive sense of self-esteem and learns that he is perfect just the way he is.
While bringing to light the serious issue of self esteem, McKenzie was able to donate proceeds from the book to help their family friend Lilly Bernett. Mckenzie and Lilly’s mothers have been friends for years and the two girls had a chance to meet each other in person last month as Mckenzie presented Lilly with a copy of her book. Lilly is on the road to recovery back at home and is currently in school one day a week as she travels back and forth to A.I Dupont Hospital.
“It has been overwhelming for all of us,” commented McKenzie’s mother Dianne Betts. “The award wasn’t something [McKenzie] was striving for and she did this out of the kindness of her own heart. We are proud of her.”
The Youth Service Challenge Award was launched nationally by the Jefferson Awards and Ways to Help in September 2010. The Challenge has two purposes: work with Mayors and youth focused organizations across the country to shine a positive spotlight on student led community service initiatives and engage one million youths in student led service activities over the next five years.
“The award really meant a lot to McKenzie,” commented Dianne. “She did not feel like she had done anything special but when she received her award she was beaming. Now she has realized what she has done.”
Blue Bear Finds a Rainbow is currently being sold online through international book providers including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. To order a copy of the book, individuals can send a check for $22, which includes shipping and handling, to The Betts Family, P.O. Box 110, Lincoln, DE 19960. Orders should include buyer’s name, address, phone number and email address. Ten percent of the proceeds will benefit a family friend, a nine-year-old girl named Lily, who was badly injured in an automobile accident.