EDUCATION

RJ SMILES

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For any parent, losing a child brings a pain that almost never dulls. Whitney Wild shows us how one Prince George’s County woman is recovering by paying it forward.

Margaret Jackson knows it doesn’t take much to make someone smile. She says it’s the small things that can make a big difference.

“The more you help someone, the more you help yourself,” she says. It’s a notion she’s held on tightly ever since tragedy ripped her family apart.

“Life was good, things were going well, I had this fabulous son,” she says. “And then out of the blue, completely out of the blue, when I got the news that he had been killed in an accident.”

A horrific car accident took her only son Richard, nicknamed RJ. “Clearly I was devastated,” she says. “I kind of lost it for a while.”

She says the hurt was unbearable, but adds that it was the memory of RJ’s sparkling smile that brightened her darkest hour. That grin inspired a new venture in his honor appropriately called RJ Smiles.

In addition to her job as a consultant, every so often Margaret takes a package of goodies to someone in need. We caught up with her as she dropped off more than 20 ‘smile boxes’ to a homeless shelter for women in the District.

“I think the women are going to love these,” she says.

You can’t box happiness and you can’t always erase pain. But, Margaret is making it her mission to do both.

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