DEWITT, Mich. — “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” That's according to the Dalia Lama. But of course, sometimes, happiness is difficult to find and keep.
This week’s Good Neighbor knows all about that. She is learning a lesson on the power of passing kindness forward from her daughter.
Like most moms, Linette Proctor is proud of her daughter Victoria "Toria" Rose. So when she found Toria’s poem on Happiness, she had to share it.
'Happiness Is' by Toria Proctor
“Happiness is waking up with confidence and bright eyes.
Happiness is puppy love forever.
Happiness is never losing your spark and silliness.”
Proctor says Toria’s poem defines a common theme in her daughter’s life; a penchant towards being positive and finding the good in everything and everyone!
“I was going through all her stuff, and we came across this folder that was Toria's happiness folder," said Proctor. "And then I found the poem.”
She found Toria’s 'Happiness Folder' at the perfect time because it was also the lowest point in her own life.
Toria was killed a few days before in an auto accident on May 12, 2019. It also happened to be Toria’s 22nd birthday and Mother’s Day.
“Certain things that I used to do I just can't do anymore. You are not the same person. Any parent that has lost a child knows exactly what I'm talking about.”
Linette says Toria’s 'Happiness Folder' was full of all the things Toria loved, including positive quotes, pictures of her favorite flower – the sunflower. There was also lots of her artwork.
Toria had been drawing since she was a kid, but often didn’t share it with others.
Although Toria usually kept her art to herself, her love for animals and people was always front and center.
So, when a friend suggested she start a scholarship in Toria’s memory that would help honor her and carry on her positive, kind, nature, it put her a mission to make it happen.
Proctor, her family and friends started the Victoria Rose Proctor “Happiness is” Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to a Dewitt High School Senior who aims to study music, art, design anything associated with creativity.
They began raising money to go towards the scholarship by selling baked goods and creating shirts highlighting Toria’s creativity, her art and her happiness poem.
“She would be so proud that we were able to give a $5,000 scholarship because that was one thing in her happiness that she wanted," said Proctor. "She wanted college to be paid for. So, this isn’t going to pay for someone’s college, but it is sure going to help."
She is overwhelmed by the amount of support she has received for the scholarship.
To receive the scholarship, an interested student must write an essay on what happiness is to them.
Toria’s best friend and cousin, Mitzi Nelson, says it’s exactly what Tori would want to have happened. “They can help other kids who were also probably like Tori. She was a super talented girl who had no idea what she wanted to do," added Nelson. "She was great with people of all types, age ranges, but she was also just a closet artist that was like wicked talented.”
Toria’s aunt, Tonya Ballard, agrees.
“It's nice that I can say this is my niece. My niece did this. I bought my boss one of her sweatshirts for Christmas. I'm so proud of it," said Ballard. "And I'm so proud of Toria and the fact that she's leaving us some happiness and we can wear her wherever we go and celebrate her. It's beautiful and she was beautiful."
Linette says they’ve already raised over $15,000 for The Victoria Rose Proctor 'Happiness is' scholarship and are looking forward to giving out the first award this coming spring.
We want to say thank you to Linette Proctor and all of Toria’s friends and family that have helped raise money for the Victoria Rose Proctor “Happiness is” Scholarship.
You are this week’s Good Neighbor.
Want to see more local news? Visit the FOX47News Website.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox.
Select from these options: Neighborhood News, Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines, and Daily Forecasts.