These months are flying by, and with only 2 weeks left until I leave for my last Miss New York Week...ever...things are getting pretty hectic over here! I'm taking every day one step at a time and working to become the best version of myself. From the start of the month, I've had a multitude of appearances, as well. Over the years I've learned that it's all about balance and, while it may not always be easy, I think I'm getting the hang of it!
Children's Miracle Network Radiothon
To kick off the month, I traveled up to Bernard & Millie Duker Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center. This Children's Miracle Network Hospital was hosting its 17th annual "Radiothon" with the help of News Radio 810 & 103-1 WGY and 99.5 The River. Once I arrived, I was given a crash course on how to answer the phones and obtain information from the callers looking to make a donation to the facility. I hopped on the phones right away. From 2:00-6:00, I accepted over-the-phone donations and even convinced a few donors to become recurring "Miracle Makers!" I was also so inspired by a young girl, Bella, who spoke on the radio about how she had benefitted from the treatments at Bernard & Millie Duker Children's Hospital, that I decided to make a donation of my own.
As an added bonus, I was able to spend time with two of my Miss NY sisters! Katelynn Smith (Miss Central New York) & Madison Manuel (Miss Empire Rose), had both joined me once they got out of work. I'm so happy to have been able to make the trip up to Albany to participate in this event. Thank you, Art Hunsinger (the Upstate Liaison for Miss NY), for inviting the titleholders!
Walk Like MADD Kickoff
After the Radiothon in Albany, I spent the night with my Miss NY roommate, Katelynn Smith, and left bright and early the next morning to get back to Staten Island. I dropped some bags off at home and went straight to the Walk Like MADD Kickoff.
Walk Like MADD is the signature fundraising event for Mother's Against Drunk Driving and helps raise both awareness and funds to eliminate drunk driving. Last year, this walk made its first appearance in Staten Island and I am proud to have been a part of that event. That is why, when I heard it was returning for 2015, I absolutely wanted to participate, once again.
I look forward to the walk, which will be held on October 4th. To register, to donate, or to find more information, visit: www.walklikemadd.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=579. Thank you, Tara Spohrer, for inviting me to speak at both the kickoff and Walk Like MADD!
Miracle Makers: PS 74
As Miss Staten Island 2012, I created "Wish For Change." Through this fundraiser, students in local elementary schools filled buckets with spare change and bills that they earned themselves to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Classes competed to see who would collect the most money and the winning class won a special prize. Over the past 3 years, this program has developed and expanded. I have used my buckets in over 10 schools to include causes such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ("Bright Lights") and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals ("Miracle Makers").
On May 6th, I visited Public School 74 to kick off one of these fundraisers. Since "May is for miracles," I chose to benefit CMN with "Miracle Makers." In a brief assembly with the entire school, I spoke about myself, the Miss America Organization, philanthropy, and the Children's Miracle Network. I explained our project and encouraged the students to earn the money themselves, rather than simply asking their parents for a donation. I then answered a few questions before the assembly came to a close. Though the school is quite small with only 15 classes, I knew they were going to do an incredible job. After picking up the buckets this past Friday, I am so pleased to say that PS 74 surpassed their $500 goal and that the winning class, 3-307 (coming in at nearly $180), will be receiving a special visit and prize from me! Congratulations Public School 74, and thank you to Vivian Porcu for organizing my visit!
Night Out For Miracles
Eger Nursing Home
The Eger Harbor House is a senior living center on Staten Island. I had visited previously with both the Miss New York Class of 2013 & 2014 and it was always a great experience. That is why, when I had the opportunity to return this year, I accepted right away. Joined by Cassie Paradise (Miss Southern Tier) and Julia Simoniello (Miss Richmond County), I arrived at Eger ready to mingle with the residents. We began with two performances by Julia, who is an excellent singer and guitarist. The seniors really seemed to enjoy the performance and they could not wait to ask us questions once it was over! "What color is your gown?" "What is your talent?" "Is this your first time in the pageant?" Though we only had a short time to speak with everyone, it was wonderful and I could tell they were so excited to receive a visit. I hope to be back, soon!
Relay For Life
A while back, I was asked by Andrea Dalzell, Ms. Wheelchair New York 2015, to attend the College Of Staten Island's Relay For Life. This event is held at different times all across the country and benefits the America Cancer Society. Relay For Life teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track or path at a local high school, park, or fairground. Since Andrea is a student of the College Of Staten Island, she planned to dedicate one of the laps around the track, calling it a "Princess Lap."
On an extremely windy Friday, I joined Andrea and my friend Amanda at CSI. After the opening ceremonies, the laps began with the first being dedicated to all cancer survivors. Along the track were bags honoring those we have lost and those who are still fighting, which would be lit from the inside later in the evening. Before I knew it, it was our turn to lead the "Princess Lap." To my surprise, Andrea chose to have the lap dedicated to pediatric cancers and the need for increased research in acknowledgement of my platform. I was touched by the amazing gesture! Thank you, Andrea, for asking me to join you! I had a great time!
If you want to see more pictures from my adventures, make sure to visit my Facebook page!