As recently as two years ago, Kiaraliz was told she wouldn’t be able to study-her passion-or even get out of bed due to her chronic condition. The news was staggering to the third-year chemical engineering student and long-time dancer. No medicines she was prescribed could fight her disease or stop her from slipping close to depression. But in the end it was holistic medical treatments she received in California that changed her perspective on healthcare and helped shape her plans for the future.
Kiaraliz is combining her knowledge of chemical engineering and her personal experience with naturopathy to spread her message of hope, a mantra supplemented by lessons she is already learning from the Miss America Organization.
“It’s a great experience and I’m growing as a person. There’s just so much knowledge you can gain from this,” she says.
MAO encourages young women to fight against all odds to achieve their dreams, Kiaraliz says. Her personal platform, The Power Within Us, is built on this concept.
“I haven’t had an easy childhood. Many people told me I couldn’t. But I proved them wrong, I put passion before me. Every human being has power before them and can achieve anything in life,” she says.
MAO’s own platform is particularly meaningful to Kiaraliz because the children’s hospital where she received treatments as a young girl was later adopted by the Children’s Miracle Network. Everything is falling into place for this bilingual Miss, and she says she would love to represent her nation and personal values as the first Puerto Rican Miss America. Above all things, Kiaraliz aims to achieve her goals through perseverance, knowing that she is a fighter and that “there is no greater obstacle in our path than our own limitation.”
Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints staff writer Photo: Miss Puerto Rico Scholarship Organization
The Miss Iowa Scholarship Program is rich in MAO and American history. As the first pageant to crown an African America, Cheryl Brown, in 1970, the program has spent decades building up women with stories as diverse as the number who compete for the title each summer.
The state program unofficially began in 1924 when Miss Sioux City represented the state by competing for the national crown. Officially, the first state pageant was held three years later. Since 1965, Davenport has been the official host city of the state pageant in June.
The program’s board members are few, but their impact is mighty. With two executive directors and six additional board members, decisions are made in quick succession, and everyone has a role of their own. The board uses the input and knowledge of its supporters as well, and compiles everyone’s strengths to make sure each year is better than the last.
“By keeping our board relatively small, we can have more productive discussions and decision making processes. We utilize committee members and volunteers to facilitate many functions. Our Iowa pageant community is a generous one,” says Amy McAreavy and Leslie Moore, co-executive directors. “Having a couple of successful former Miss Iowa’s in the loop doesn’t hurt either!”
Thanks to the “invaluable” aid of Miss Iowa 2008 Olivia Myers Baker and Miss Iowa 1992 Cathy Herd, Iowa contestants get the help and coaching they need, “especially when it comes to interview,” Amy and Leslie say.
Mariah Cary is Miss Iowa 2012, and she’s just months away from the national competition in Las Vegas. As a representative of her state, she is proud to be involved in an organization that brings fresh faces and ideas to the forefront.
“Transition and change is always great and although it may be challenging at times, the Miss Iowa program has always handled every situation with grace and never fails to be the prestigious program that the Miss America Organization has allowed it to be,” Mariah says.
Miss Iowa 2012 is no stranger to standing up to a challenge and facing adversity. Her journey this year serving her state and living with Tourette’s syndrome proves that from determination and with the support of a pageant family, young women can turn difficulties into strengths.
“She’s worked hard to become an incredible speaker so her message really resonates with people,” Amy and Leslie say.Read more on the Miss Iowa Scholarship Program in the October issue of fourpoints!
The Miss America's Outstanding Teen Organization announced a total of $862,500 in cash and in-kind scholarships awarded this year. In-kind scholarships totaling $742,000 were awarded from MAOTeen's individual scholarship donors including Troy University, Auburn University, Nova Southeastern University, and Hollins University. A total of $120,500 in cash scholarships were awarded for this year, and each contestant received a scholarship of varying amounts.
Founded in 2005, Miss America's Outstanding Teen, Inc. has become one of the top scholarship providers for teen girls in the United States. All of the organization's participants, on the local, state, and national levels, have been the recipients of valuable scholarship assistance upon graduation from high school. In just a few short years, MAOTeen has made available almost $4 million in cash and in-kind scholarships.
As of April 2012, MAOTeen wrote scholarship checks for more than $568,000 to more than 115 different colleges and universities across the country. All scholarships are paid directly to the institution attended by MAOTeen participants and the money covers tuition, books, and room and board.
For more information on how you can donate scholarships to the MAOTeen Organization, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: MAOTeen Photo: Allen Dye
The Miss Connecticut Scholarship Corporation goes way beyond beauty and scholarship. When you talk with people associated with the organization, they briefly mention monetary scholarship but then talk about the heart of the organization–service.
“My personal philosophy, which I know is shared with others, about the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Corporation, especially when asked about whether it’s a beauty pageant or a scholarship pageant, is that it is primarily a community service organization,” says Steve Smith, marketing director of the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Corporation.
Contestants are exposed to community service opportunities, such as Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, veterans’ organizations, schools, medical research and awareness organizations, and more. This enhances the service-mindedness of each contestant.
“[Miss Connecticut] has given me a voice and has allowed me to expand my platform to people and organizations that I wouldn’t otherwise have had a chance to interact with,” says Miss Connecticut 2011 Morgan Amarone.
In fact, Miss Connecticut offers many new experiences and chances to build skills. The young women involved have many opportunities to learn things like public speaking, performing in public, networking, working with others in a nonprofit capacity, and more.
“My involvement in the Miss Connecticut and Miss America system has provided me with valuable skills and greater confidence in myself and my abilities to be successful in life–personal, as well as career,” says Loraine Zdanowski, Miss Connecticut 2986. “It has been instrumental in my teaching career, as well as my new career as a professional development consultant with an online curriculum company.”
In spite of scholarships, pageants, and fun, Miss Connecticut always comes back around to service–at all levels. The volunteers are a group of diverse individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds and ways of doing things, but they all come together and make things work–with the mission of raising up young women in the state.
“Our goal is to continue to expand via our locals to make a program more visible and available to more young women across our state,” says Smith.
Read more about the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Corporation by subscribing to fourpoints!
Photo: Miss Connecticut Scholarship Corporation
The Miss Beloit Princess Program is held in conjunction with the Miss Beloit Pageant. Through the program, each little girl gets the opportunity to be a princess in the weeks leading up to the pageant. The program is for girls ages 6 to 12, and the cost to enter is $100 with part of the proceeds going toward scholarships for miss and teen contestants.
This program is not judged because so that every girl feels like a winner. The goal of the program is to provide young girls with positive role models, help them develop their self-confidence, and to introduce them to the Miss America Organization.
To run a Princess Program, use the talent and ideas of your fellow volunteers. The more help you have, the easier it is for everyone involved. Bounce ideas off of one another, but put one or two people in charge of implementing the ideas and heading up the program. Look around at other princess programs to get ideas for your own. Organization will be crucial to managing everything.
Once you have a plan in place, start recruiting girls wherever you can. Contact local the media, put flyers out in schools, and use social media to get the word out. Don't worry if things aren't perfect your first and even your second year. Even though you might see things that need to be changed, the girls will undoubtedly have fun.
For more tips on starting up your own princess program, subscribe to fourpoints!
Source: Sara Nachreiner is executive director of the Miss Beloit Princess Program and Miss Beloit's Outstanding Teen and business manager for the Miss Beloit Scholarship Pageant.
With interests that vary from learning to be a ventriloquist to advocating for children with special needs, Sheridan Garbe, 8, from Arlington, Texas, exemplifies the four points of the crown, even at a young age. Her teachers, coaches, and parents agree that this Lone Star Princess represents scholarship, success, style, and service with a unique enthusiasm that makes her the perfect candidate for fourpoints' 2012 Precious Princess.
Sheridan has been in the Miss Lone Star Princess program for three years, but her goal is to make it to the national pageant where she can share her platform, inclusion, and acceptance of children with Down syndrome, like her little sister Brooke, with a wider audience. In the mean time, Sheridan is advancing her skills in volunteering by making Emily's Smile Boxes to help children and their siblings stay creatively occupied whit in the hospital.
"I love volunteering because you get to help someone and you get to do really fun stuff," Sheridan says.
Sheridan's empathy for children who spend time in the hospital inspired her to share the fun and activities with other young patients. At her birthday party this April, Sheridan decided to forgo the typical cake and ice cream scene to host an Emily's Smile Box building party will all of her friends.
"She (didn't) want gifts, but she wanted to invited the whole second grade to make activity boxes for special needs children," says Sheridan's mother, Lisa Garbe.
Brooke is Sheridan's inspiration on many fronts. Their family formed a Buddy Walk team to raise money for Down syndrome research, and Lisa said Sheridan has no qualms with confronting strangers on the street to recruit more members of their Buddy Walk team. In the three years they have participated in the walk, Sheridan has helped to raise nearly $15,000.
Sheridan is always up for meeting new people and learning about new ways to volunteer, and she compares these new experience to something to which all children can relate.
"You never know, you should always try and wait and see if it's going to be fun or not. The first time I tired broccoli, I didn't want to try it at all. Then I had it, and I loved it. It's really good!" she says.
Sheridan was the winner of the 2012 Precious Princess contest, and her story was featured in fourpoints' June/July 2012 issue. Have a copy of your magazine signed by Sheridan herself when you meet her at the Miss America's Outstanding Teen trade show Tuesday, August 14!
Stevie Mack, Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen, has dedicated her summer to raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) and wanted to think of a few creative ideas to assist with her fundraising efforts. Each summer, Stevie spends one week at the Butler Showchoir Showcase at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. The camp hosts approximately four hundred high school campers, teachers, staff, and guest artists from all over the country.
Stevie used this opportunity as a way to raise funds for CMNH by having a Change War. The campers were divided into groups of about seventy students and were told each group would have a bucket with their group name placed on the front. Throughout the week they could place change in the buckets to gain positive points. If they wanted to use cash, they were able to place it in the bucket of a different group which would cause negative points–but the money would still go to CMNH.
All of the student groups, as well as the teacher’s group, participated in this fun initiative. By Friday evening, the buckets of change were counted, and the end result was about $500 in change raised to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Stevie, the camp staff, and student campers were thrilled with the results and incredibly proud they had raised $500 using only spare change!
One week after the Butler Showchoir Showcase, a staff member from the camp ran a similar camp through the Children’s Youth Theatre of Wichita. Fifty-three students helped raise $175 competing in a Change War. Those proceeds also went to CMNH through Stevie’s efforts. Altogether, Stevie has raised $6,242 this summer directly benefiting CMNH!
Stevie is entering her junior year at Trinity Academy in Wichita. Throughout her year as Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen, she will promote her platform of “Overcoming Adversity: em-BRACE the future.”
Planning a party that raises money for your scholarship fund is fun! There are several events that can double as fundraisers for your pageant. Here are some ways to raise funds for your pageant that are classic as well as cutting edge. Get your community involved!
In past years, the Miss Montana program has put together fundraiser fashion shows. The idea sparked from program book ad sales and culminated in a charity event for the pageant. "I decided this would be a great way to let Bozeman (Montana) know about Miss Montana and the Children's Miracle Network," says Nicole Yost, 2011 Miss Montana contestant.
She got clearance from the Shodair Children's Hospital to hold the fashion show in their honor, and they were more than open to the idea.
"Glen Newhart at Shodair was a great help," says Nicole. "He sent me brochures, fliers, and other supplies."
Other local businesses chipped in, donating raffle items and free samples, and volunteering their time the day of the fashion show. Ultimately, Nicole was able to raise a healthy sum for the Shodair Children's Hospital while also introducing Bozeman to the Miss Montana pageant.
Now that social media is a large part of pageantry, with Facebook and Twitter feeds providing news and information on a daily basis, some fundraising events have entered virtual reality. Many state pageants have a People's Choice award, where the most "popular" contestant is given a small scholarship award or similar recognition.
In 2011, the Miss Florida pageant took this tradition and went viral with it. They set up a website advertising their People's Choice competition and all the necessary details–for example, the fact that the winner of the competition would be a semifinalist at the state pageant. Anyone could vote online for a contestant, for the price of $1. Voting was unlimited and all proceeds went to the Miss Florida Scholarship Organization. They were able to raise a lot from this promotion and with minimal effort on their part.
Raising money for your pageant or Children's Miracle Network is a constant task, as all pageant volunteers know. By planning events that involved your community–whether it is a new idea or a classic concept–you can put the "fun" back in fundraising.
To get more fundraising tips, subscribe to fourpoints!
The Melanoma Research Foundation has invited the Miss America Organization’s Board Member and Miss America 1974, Rebecca King Dreman, along with her daughter, Miss Colorado 2011 Diana Dreman to testify at a Congressional Briefing in Washington, D.C. Rebecca and Diana will highlight the fact that melanoma is the fastest growing cancer affecting young women between the ages of 18 and 29, which is the same age group of Miss America contestants competing in the program today.
Rebecca and Diana will join a distinguished group of speakers that include several members of Congress, along with MD Anderson Cancer Center researcher, Dr. Jeffrey Gershenwald. The Dremans will focus on the importance of Melanoma Research as they discuss the personal impact of melanoma and the urgency of discovering new treatments. The Melanoma Research Foundation will discuss the factors behind the alarming increases in melanoma rates in the U.S. population, particularly among young people; the role of legislation and regulation in reducing the risk of diagnosis; and important scientific updates.
The MRF invites you to attend. If you are not in the area or are unable to attend, we encourage you to call your Members of Congress and urge them to support federal funding for melanoma research.
The purpose of the Miss South Carolina Princess Program is to have a concrete impact on the lives of young women by engaging, encouraging, and inspiring girls ages 5 to 16 from different walks of life to pursue their dreams and achieve their full potential.
The Miss South Carolina Princess Program goals are to encourage younger, active involvement in the Miss South Carolina Program, provide a forum for personal growth, mentor using positive role models, and to have fun.
We are very fortunate that the girls who participate in the princess program truly act as young ladies. They are respectful to each other and are 100 percent committed to taking full advantage of what the program provides.
The program encourages each miss and teen contestant to select up to two young girls to mentor. The princess and her contestant form a bond that lasts a lifetime, and we believe that would not be possible if a contestant is trying to mentor more than two princesses.
Miss South Carolina Princesses are encouraged to join their mentors in as many appearances, volunteer opportunities, and other events as possible. Princesses are present the week of the Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen Pageants, and they participate in the production, as well as attend promotional events with their mentors.
We have a Miss South Carolina Princess Chairman and a team of volunteers that work with the princesses during pageant week and provide them with special activities. Children today learn more by doing than watching. This is why our princess program encourages all participants to volunteer in their community and attend special events designed for our contestants and their princesses.
It is also important for the parents and guardians of the princesses to be involved. We invite them to our orientation meeting and speak with them about the major goals of the program, including long-term and short-term objectives. We ask for their assistance in making sure princesses keep their appointments with their contestant mentors and take full advantage of the program.
To read more about the Miss South Carolina Princess Program, subscribe to fourpoints!
Source: Stephen M. Frocchi Photo: Becki J. Owens