Sunday, March 30, 2014

This Is Why

Yesterday was a a very busy day, with two events to attend: the 100.7 Kids Fair at the Westchester County Center, and the H.O.P.E. Project Benefit, hosted by Miss Staten Island 2014, Jamie Lynn Macchia. Both events were incredibly fun--I got to meet some wonderful people, spend time with my sister titleholders, and watch a show full of exceptional talent. But when I finally got home late last night, I didn't feel as bubbly as I generally do. I felt humbled to have the experience as a titleholder, because I realized the incredible responsibility that I have been given. My job isn't about showing up in a crown and sash, putting on a huge smile, and taking pictures with sweet children (although I do that, and love every minute of it!). It is about truly making a difference, and while I've always known and embraced that, yesterday I felt it profoundly. I fully recognized WHY I am a Miss America local titleholder, and I'd like to share some of those reasons with you.

For girls like Juliette, no older than 3 or 4, who want to try on a crown and see what it feels like to be a princess. Who have dreams they want to fulfill, and a full life ahead of them to do so. To tell them that they can be anything they want to be, yes, even a butterfly. 

Picture from Miss New York 2013, Amanda Mason's Instagram.

For girls like Makalya, almost finished with middle school, committed to making healthy choices so that their high school careers are a success. Who are figuring out who they are, who they want to be, and how to get there. To encourage them to stay strong and to stand apart from the crowd.

Picture from Makayla's Instagram

For girls like Dream, and for the Children's Miracle Network. To support these children through their struggles, and cheer them in their victories.

For my sister titleholders. To make a difference with them. To support their community efforts and advocate alongside them. To be a part of a special sisterhood, surrounded by some of the most inspirational young women I've ever encountered.

Photo from Dawn Rutigliano-Macchia

For the girls like the lovely young woman I met at the H.O.P.E. Benefit, the survivors of horrifying examples of domestic violence. To encourage them through their recovery. To work to ensure that their experience doesn't have to be repeated by anyone else. 

To continue this legacy long after I pass on my title. 

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