Here we are, already halfway through April! My responsibilities are quickly building, but my drive and commitment are as strong as ever. Looking back on these past two weeks, I realize that my appearances had one common theme: they all centered around children. These types of events are always my personal favorite.
Walk For Health Kickoff
Previously known as the Every Woman Matters Walk, the North Shore-LIJ Walk for Health is a walk for women and their families benefitting both The Katz Institute for Women's Health and Cohen Children's Medical Center (CCMC). Since Cohen Children's Medical Center is a CMN Hospital - and the only one in the downstate region - a group of the titleholders were asked to participate in the upcoming walk on May 17th.
Of course, every walk has its "kickoff." That is why, on April 1st, Kristen Stillwell (Miss Manhattan) and I made our way to Long Island to get some more information for our team, "These Crowns Are Made For Walking." We met the CCMC staff, enjoyed a few snacks, and brainstormed ideas for Victoria Mann (Development Assistant) to further promote the walk and our involvement in it. There are 8 local titleholders participating and we want this partnership to be an enormous success. You can help! Please consider making a donation here!
Coney Island: Light Up Blue
The Parachute Jump is a landmark in Coney Island, which is used as a monument to recognize several worthwhile causes, including pediatric cancer in September. April is Autism Awareness Month. On April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, I made my way to Brooklyn to join the "Coney Island Autism Angels" as they lit the Parachute Jump blue.
It was an unusually cold night, but there was still a large crowd gathered as politicians and families spoke. After a few presentations, the structure lit blue and the crowd erupted in cheers.
1 in 68 children born in the U.S. is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. On that night, we stood together to help people understand what autism is all about and to create an understanding, supportive environment for all children.
A Voice For Frankie
I met Gina Billera last year when I was interviewed on the Al Lambert Show. We kept in touch throughout the year and I even made an appearance on her friend's program on CTV, Late Night With Johnny P. When she asked if I would come to her fundraiser "A Voice For Frankie" in honor of her son who is living with autism, I obviously whole-heartedly agreed!
My mom and I had a great time at the event, which included comedians, singers, dinner, and raffle baskets. I even walked away with a prize! It was also wonderful to see some friends that I didn't know where attending: Carla Murino of Carla's Closet, Vinnie Medugno, and former teacher, Ms. Carroll. Proceeds went to benefit PS 37, a school for children with special needs, and I know they must be incredibly grateful for the support.
Young Voice Of NYC
Young Voice Of NYC is a talent competition to benefit St Jude Children's Research Hospital.
This annual showcase fundraiser features a panel of judges who award one contestant the honor of becoming the Youth Ambassador for St Jude. When I found the event online, I knew I had to be a part of it. I immediately contacted the organizers and offered to help in any way.
I arrived at the theater in Queens early to help with setting up and, once the event began, I volunteered to help serve food to the participants and guests. I have to say, it wasn't easy smelling all of the sandwiches and chicken wings without eating them all!
Then, it was time for the show to begin. There were so many talented kids; I couldn't even believe what I was seeing and hearing! I knew the judges were going to have a difficult time making a decision. After each performance, the panel asked the contestant a few questions, which always included, "Why do you want to be the ambassador for St Jude?" I was very impressed with all of the answers.
In the end, it was Sparsh Shah who stole the judges hearts. I have to be quite honest, he had already stolen my heart prior to the show, as well. This 11 year old is wise far beyond his years. Sparsh suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, but he doesn't let that stop him. To describe him in my own words will not do him justice. You need to see and hear him for yourself, so here is a link to his public figure page. Congratulations, Sparsh Shah! I have no doubt that you will do amazing things this year as the 2015 Youth Ambassador for St Jude Children's Research Hospital!
*BONUS* - Workshop Weekend
This past weekend, I traveled to Saratoga Springs to meet the rest of the Class of 2015 for the Miss New York Workshop. We spent the weekend touring the Capitol Building, meeting with sponsors, learning about the requirements for Miss NY, and picking our contestant order. I will be representing the Greater New York area on June 4th, 5th, & 6th as Contestant #5!
All 29 contestants also attended the Miss New York's Outstanding Teen Pageant while we were there. Congratulations to Alisa Vasquez, the former Miss Upstate's Outstanding Teen, who walked away with the crown! A congratulations, as well, to all of the 24 teens who made their supporters and big sisters proud. You were all beautiful!
With only 7 weeks until Miss New York Week begins, it's time to get serious! I'm going to be a busy bee, so make sure to keep up with me on my public figure page or through my blog posts! Thanks for reading!