Wow! I can honestly say that the last year
was the most amazing year of my life so far – and that’s having had a
knee-to-toe cast on my right foot for four of those months! I had many
amazing experiences and opportunities and met countless wonderful
people! With 2009 being my first venture into pageantry, placing in the
top ten of the Miss Teen International 2009 pageant was a huge
accomplishment for me! However special those accomplishments in
pageantry were, though, it was the experiences I had as a result of the
microphone that the sash and crown act as that were truly fulfilling.
I would like to share some of those wonderful
experiences with you here:
- As a spokesperson for the American Heart
Association and its’ Alliance for a Healthier Generation, I shared
my personal struggle to live a healthy lifestyle throughout high
school as well as battling the “freshman 15”. In addition, I shared
my cousin Erick’s (1996-2008) struggle with congenital heart disease
stressing to children that they have control over keeping their
hearts and bodies healthy- a chance that Erick never had.
- Being a spokesperson for the American Heart
Association’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation gave me the
opportunity to share with those children the importance taking care
of their heart health – now and in the future. Over 2,000 of the
children I worked with signed Alliance for a Healthier Generation
pledge cards. They pledged to make small but important changes –
like choosing apple dippers instead of french fries at fast food
restaurants, as well as choosing exercise like sports over video
games. The children learned they can permanently improve their lives
by taking these baby steps consistently.
- I appeared with and cheered on Dream
Allstars Destiny, a special needs cheerleading squad. Destiny is
looking forward to performing in the first ever cheerleading events
in the Special Olympics this year – and I’ll be there to cheer them
on June 11th!
- I was featured as a “celebrity model” in DC
Fashion Week. Though my broken foot and crutches kept me from
strutting my stuff on the runway, I will always treasure my first
red carpet pictures!
- I collected boxes and boxes of toys which
were donated during the holiday season to Alive! House child
development center and shelter in VA. I will never forget the faces
of those children who didn’t think they were receiving Christmas
presents at all that year, when I gave them a brand new Barbie or a
set of Hot Wheels cars. It brings tears to my eyes just remembering
- I inspired other people to donate over
1,500 children’s books with multiple book drives that I conducted
and raised over $1,000 to purchase specialty (Spanish language)
children’s books … all of which I donated to schools, shelters,
clinics, hospitals, and children all over the DC-Maryland-Virginia
- As the ambassador for Erick’s Hope
Foundation, I conducted multiple food drives and collected over
2,500 pounds (a huge truck full!) of food for underprivileged
children – I also recruited volunteers to pack the food into kits
sent home with the needy children to make sure they had nutritious,
kid-friendly food over the weekends.
I even got to meet some local celebrities!
- I cleaned up the Emery Education Campus in
DC with members of the Washington Capitals Hockey team and their
head coach Bruce Boudreau.
- While volunteering for the American Heart
Association at a Washington Nationals baseball game, I was asked to
throw the first pitch.
- I led activities at the Alliance for a
Healthier Generation’s “Recess by the River” with Antwaan Randle El
and Renaldo Wynn of the Washington Redskins – plus the Redskinette
- I participated in the Martin Luther King Jr
National Day of Service in DC with Katherine Sebelius (President
Obama’s Cabinet Secretary of Health and Human Services), and Adrian
Fenty ( the mayor of DC)!
- I also led the Washington DC 4th of July
parade festivities on the National Mall and was featured in an
- I met many local celebrities when I
volunteered at the silent auction for the Heart Ball, modeling a
“red dress” and was featured in “Capital File” magazine!
Was a VIP visitor at the French Embassy for Bastille Day, where I
met with many of the local Diplomatic community
Though this past year, the 100+ appearances, and
the 250+ hours of service that I performed have been life-altering, my
work is not yet complete! There are still so many people I want to reach
out to, and so much I have left to do. I am currently arranging a
meeting with both Michelle Obama as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger to see
how I can partner with them since my platform is also one of their top
I have also been asked to be a spokesperson for
Ricoh Corporation- a $20 billion dollar company based in Japan that was
awarded the “World Environmental Council’s Gold Medal” as one of the top
100 environmentally sustainable companies in the World!! They own one of
the Times Square Billboards in New York that is solar powered!!! I am
working with Ricoh’s International marketing department on a plan that
will have me traveling the country and potentially internationally to
speak on their pet initiative- the Green Initiative. Although this is
not my platform, this will provide me additional opportunities to
promote my platform in conjunction with their speaking engagements
throughout the country and hopefully in Japan and Canada. Recently I met
with a group of their top executives in Atlanta, Georgia and made a
presentation of “the Green Initiative and the Green Game”. My freshman
year studying Communications and Public Relations at the University of
Maryland helped me prepare for my first boardroom presentation and it
went great! Three days after my presentation, the Vice President of
Ricoh called me to say that they would be an International Sponsor for
me and that they are in talks with their Japan headquarters to explore
ideas of how they can promote me, the International System and their
Green Initiative for the coming year!!!
Although it would be easy to seek a crown in another pageant system to
continue this work, I feel that this past year I have become part of the
International family. I not only love the values that the International
system stands for, but I love the people who are a part of it and find
the platform work truly fulfilling. I have been blessed to be surrounded
by some of the most genuine, loving, and amazing people in the
International family. Because of this, I am embracing this one last
opportunity to compete as a teen in the International system.
With the support of my amazing family, friends, and sponsors, I am
returning as Miss Teen East Coast International 2010 and compete for the
Miss Teen International 2010!
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