Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stand for Humanity Benefit Concert

On Friday, I attended a fabulous event that will go down as one of my favorite experiences as Miss Empire Star 2014!

Taking a moment to explore the lovely Belvedere Estate grounds!

Many of you know that I've been working with My Sisters' Place since 2011. They provide so many services with the goal of supporting survivors and preventing domestic violence in Westchester County: shelters, legal support, education programs, and more. They also provide services for men and women who have been trafficked into the area, be it for sexual or labor purposes. With Westchester being such an affluent community, it's hard for many people who live here to believe that trafficking occurs in their own backyard. It does!

Around the world, there are an estimated 20.9 million slaves today. This is more than at any other time in world history. Modern-day slavery, when it results in people being bought and sold for forced labor or commercial sex, is called human trafficking. The U. S. Department of Justice estimates that anywhere between 100,000-300,000 American kids are at risk of entering the sex trade each year.

Local college student Justin Okamoto decided that he wanted to do something about the growing problem of human trafficking, so he reached out to My Sisters' Place with the idea of planning a benefit to raise funds to support agency efforts. Stand for Humanity was the result of Justin's hard work and enthusiasm for the cause, and it was a smashing success!

With Jen, a fellow Sister-in-Law volunteer at My Sisters' Place

I was so excited to be attending the event and manning a table for My Sisters' Place. Jen, another Sister-in-Law volunteer, and I had information on the warning signs of abuse, human trafficking fact sheets, and how to get involved as a volunteer at My Sisters' Place. It was great to connect with students and neighbors who were interested in the great work at My Sisters' Place is doing. It also allowed benefit attendees the chance to talk about domestic violence and human trafficking: their experiences, stories that they had heard from friends, and ways they planned to make a difference moving forward.

In addition to volunteering, I had the chance to join an incredibly talented group of performers on stage! Let's just say I'm glad I sang first--each act was amazing and would have been hard to follow!

I performed "For Good," my Miss NY talent selection and the perfect song to sing to a group coming together to have a positive impact on the world.

My Sisters' Place had the chance to address the entire crowd!

It really was an incredible evening--from the kindness of the attendees to the outstanding performances to the awareness that was raised surrounding human trafficking. I was so inspired by the passion that these college students had! Their energy was infectious, and I know everyone who attended Stand for Humanity is looking forward to next year's benefit. 

Check out some of the fabulous performers:

Take some time to thank the incredible event sponsors:
Sunshine Bagels

For more pictures, check out my Facebook album!

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