Nolan Smith Leads Grand Floral Walk To Support Grieving Families
By sarahhecht Posted in: makeitbetter, NolanSmith
The Portland Rose Festival is one of those traditions that brings out the warm and fuzzy feeling in Portland natives and transplants alike. Representing the Rose City and exacting a feeling of camaraderie, the two-and-half-week celebration is fun for all while delivering the message of bettering our community.
Trail Blazers guard and new part-time Portlander Nolan Smith recognized the immediate impact and importance of the Rose Festival and made a point to participate in his first activity less than a year after relocating to Bridgetown. He and his sister’s foundation, The Sydney & Nolan Smith Foundation, partnered with local organization The Dougy Center to bring awareness to their shared cause of contributing to the healing of children grieving over the loss of a loved one by leading the Regence Grand Floral Walk along the Grand Floral Parade route.
“This morning we’re here with The Dougy Center, who we partner with with our foundation, and it’s going to be a great event. A lot of their families are coming out to the walk today. I have my family out here and we’re going to have a great time,” Smith said on Saturday morning.
“The Dougy Center out here works with kids who have lost their parents. My foundation does the same thing with grieving kids who have lost a loved one,” Smith said. We wanted to be involved with a group like that out here so people can see my face and let them know that I want to be involved with kids like myself and like my sister and to put a smile on their faces. I’ve already had a chance to get a good relationship with a lot of the kids already so hopefully I get to see them today and have some fun with them.”
And fun they had. Nolan and Sydney started the morning by judging a costume contest. Following the contest they headed over to the start of the walk where they were joined by Blaze the Trail Cat, Puddles the Oregon Duck and Benny the Oregon State Beaver. Photo-ops, dance-offs and general shenanigans ensued before the hundreds of walkers even began to move and right in the thick of it were Nolan and the families from The Dougy Center.
As the caravan walked the parade route spectators shouted their support for Smith and his work as he donned the new hat of Rose Festival ambassador, a triple-threat of awareness for community involvement.
“We really want to be like a big brother and big sister to somebody else. Even if they’re not our blood it doesn’t matter to us. We want to make sure they have somebody they can call that’s just like them,” Smith said.
“Relationships like that, when a kid knows that he has somebody that he can talk to and put a smile on his face is what we all need. We just love them.”
Mission accomplished, Nolan. Mission accomplished.
Learn more about The Sydney & Nolan Smith Foundation and The Dougy Center.