Platform: American Heart Association's Alliance
Heart disease and the struggle to
achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle has impacted my life in many
different ways. Being a spokesperson for the American Heart
Association’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation has helped me finally
achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle myself after yo-yo dieting and
coping with the dreaded “freshman 15”- which in my case actually ended
up being more like the freshman 20. For me, the platform came before
pageants. After losing my 12 year old cousin, Erick, to congenital heart
disease two summers ago, I realized how lucky I am just to have the
chance to take care of my heart when so many people, like Erick, are
born without a healthy heart. I was empowered by the knowledge that I
had the opportunity, not privilege, to choose to take care of my heart
for the rest of my life by changing my lifestyle now.
Pageantry is my microphone with
which I spread this message. Over the past year, I've used the
International crown and sash to reach out to thousands of children in
schools, day camps, hospitals, clinics, shelters, and recreation centers
in Maryland, Virginia, & DC as a spokesperson for the AHA’s Alliance for
a Healthier Generation. I was awarded the “Presidential Gold Service
Award” from President Obama for having completed over 250 hours of
service this year!
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation and receives support from many influential people including CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who I also hope to partner with this summer to help expand my efforts. The Alliance’s goal is to reduce childhood obesity by 2015 by working to make change in homes, schools, restaurants, doctor's offices and communities and to empower children and teens to make healthy lifestyle choices, so it fits perfectly with my own personal mission! Also, the Alliance will be setting up panels throughout the country on this initiative which hopefully I will be able to help with in some capacity.
As a spokesperson for the Alliance this year, I organized two fundraisers, met and lead events with Washington Redskins football players and cheerleaders and spoke in front of large groups of children multiple times at the famous Lincoln Theatre in DC as well as the Imagine Summer Camp program. I also volunteered at the Annual Heart Ball, lead multiple walks and runs, participated in activities and events that actively taught children how to live healthy, and so much more! I am so excited to see where my platform takes me this year, as it is currently a huge topic nationally. Our first lady, Michelle Obama, has even taken up the issue of childhood obesity and health as her own personal platform and I hope to work with her and the Alliance together to end this epidemic!