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 those sweethearts!
  • 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 area.
  • 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 cheerleaders!
  • 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 International newspaper!
  • 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 initiatives.

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 title of…

Miss Teen International 2010!


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