** If you sang the title of this blog, you're awesome (and are probably a 90s child). If not, see here. **
Now, let's get down to business. Tomorrow is the beginning of May and I cannot believe how quickly April flew by! I guess time flies when you're having fun...and when you have 11 events in 11 days. I've been meaning to calculate my travel miles, so I'll be sure to do that soon, too. I feel like I've been to every part of the state since being crowned in March! In fact, I've done so much that I'm going to have to cut this blog into two separate posts! Here we go...
Ronald McDonald House of Long Island
Each year, on April 15th, the Staten Island Giving Circle sends a small group to cook dinner for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. I was excited to be able to join this group for the second time. The kitchen and playroom had been updated since my last visit and they were beautiful! The entire house truly feels like home. It is welcoming and warm, which I'm sure is much appreciated by the many families who stay there, far away from their own homes.
Mom and I were in charge of the cookies, which was a definite test of my willpower. It only took an hour and a half to complete the entire meal and it looked delicious! I couldn't stay long enough to see the reactions of the guests, as I had an appointment next door for a special tour of Cohen Children's Medical Center, but I have no doubt it was hit!
Cohen Children's Medical Center
After cooking dinner for the RMH, I went right next door to meet Victoria Mann, the Development Assistant at Cohen Children's Medical Center, for a tour of the hospital. I had connected with Victoria previously at the Walk For Health Kickoff. Since Cohen Children's Medical Center is the only Children's Miracle Network Hospital in the Greater New York area, I was excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the workings of the facility.
The tour was led by Victoria Maccone, the Development Manager. She took us floor-by-floor and explained the layouts, artwork, and high-tech equipment used in each section. An incredible amount of thought was put into every detail, making sure the patients and families always feel safe, comforted, and - most importantly - happy. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to see exactly where the over $6,000 I have raised for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has gone. I am raising funds directly for this incredible facility this year, as well, with my team "These Crowns Are Made For Walking." Help us out, if you can. I promise, it will be put to great use! Click here.
Kayla's Life Fund
On April 17th, I met a little fighter named Kayla. She was born with Situs Inversus, a condition in which the visceral organs are reversed. Because of this, she now has Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD). I saw that her family was having a fundraiser to help supplement their medical bills, a decided I had to meet her! After conversing with her mother beforehand, I surprised Kayla with a few gifts at her fundraiser - including her very own crown! She was definitely excited and carried her gift bag around like a purse the entire night. To learn more about Kayla, visit www.KaylaLifeFund.org.
Miss America Day Of Service
This year, for the first time, the entire Miss America Organization came together for a day of service sponsored by the Children's Miracle Network. This event, known as "Miss America Serves," encouraged the states to create team volunteer projects and the Miss New York Organization made one of those opportunities the Silver Lake Specialized Care Center. Joined by fellow "downstate" titleholders, I enjoyed a day of games and conversations with the seniors at the center. I even met a 102-year-old rockstar resident, who just wanted to show all the girls how awesome her pink nails were. I have to admit -- they looked great!
After a day of #MissAmericaServes, a group of the titleholders ventured into Manhattan for another event. Founded in 2012, DragOn is an annual showcase of creative costume and drag talent. The event shines a spotlight on New York City’s LGBT community and allies in support of Gay Men's Health Crisis.
I was excited to attend and see my friend, Justin, as he was planning to compete in the fashion show "walk-off." And, let me tell you, he was fabulous! I wish I was as fierce as some of these men! Seriously - 100% jealous.
A special thank you to Jason Shaw, who invited the Miss New York titleholders as his guests. And a great job to Jillian Tapper, Miss New York 2014, who served as a judge!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this April blog. There's much more to come!