My Journey to Miss Michigan!
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The moment the Miss Sanilac County crown was placed on my head I hit the ground running! I literally have not stopped since that evening in November 2012. As an avid volunteer, leader, college student, and Ambassador to the Miss America Organization, I have travelled many miles around the Mitten state this past year.
My first appearance began right here in Sandusky at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, followed by the Old Country Christmas festivities and the lighted holiday parade. Next, I visit with the children at Hurley Hospital. As the For A Day Foundation Chairman at Hurley, I make monthly visits with the children bringing crafts, coloring books and crayons, firemen hats, tiara’s and much more to brighten their hospital stay. My next venture was to tackle a project with Foster Hope at Mason’s Refuge, a home for young men who are aging out of the foster care system. After hours of cleaning, painting, and so much more, we opened the doors to a home for six young men. During these renovations I in slipped away to the City of Burton Christmas parade one afternoon. I had a great time talking with the Boy Scouts who wanted to know if “I was Miss America”:)
Next I was a guest at the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Banquet, I was honored to bring in 2013 with the volunteers of Sandusky . Absolutely wonderful to see so many people making a difference in this world. On to the west side of the state in Grand Rapids, I rolled up my sleeves to help Rays of Hope for Haiti pack goods to be shipped to some of Haiti’s most devastated villages. My work at Rays of Hope is ongoing as I continued to work on the publicity and fund-raising for the 5/3 Run. No time to waste, I was off any running to the Special Olympic Winter Games in Traverse City to help with the games, cheer on the athletes, and adorn them with their precious medals. Next, I found myself jumping into a frozen lake to benefit the Special Olympics Winter Games in Stanton! Yes, it was cold! But, so worth the smiles on the Special Olympian athletes who giggled as I emerged from the freezing water.
I headed back to Sandusky where the Miss Sanilac County pageant held a Princess In Training day at Woodland Hills. Nearly forty girls learned walking patterns and poise, hair and nails were done, crafts were made, and candy and cookies were eaten. The event ended with dinner and a run way show for the parents. The event was such a hit we are planning another in October. On to the next adventure, I worked the Special Olympics’ for Young Athletes in Grand Rapids. My heart melted every second of the day. The children were so adorable and energetic.
Next stop, Wal-Mart, where I made Root beer floats with the proceeds benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network. By the end of the event I can say I made a pretty yummy float! The next morning I was off to the Bay City St Patrick’s Day Parade. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much green! On the move again, I joined the Miss Michigan contestants at the Piston’s game in Auburn Hills. What a great experience as we were individually announced on the court. Through the fifty -fifty raffle we raised more than 1,500 dollars toward the Miss Michigan scholarship fund. Next on the agenda, I headed back to Sandusky for the McKenzie Health System Auxiliary Pretty In Pink afternoon tea and fashion show. I felt simply beautiful modeling clothing from Fox Boutique, I even took a couple pieces home with me. Next, I headed to Utica to help my special friend Vito pick out his outfit to model in the For A Day Foundation annual fashion show for children who have or have had cancer. The fashion show followed a couple weeks later at Carson’s shopping center in Utica. We pampered the kids with hair, make-up and nail polishing. I was honored to sing while the models hit the run way in their selected fashions from Carson’s. My next stop had me running again, literally! I participated in the annual For A Day Foundation “Run With the Cops Not from Them” fund-raiser on Belle Isle, Detroit. This event raises a large portion of the chapters annual budget. The next week proved to be just as busy as the last. Off to Beaumont Royal Oak hospital to manage telephones at the Children Miracle Network telethon. Next, I headed down to Cass Community in Detroit to a Royal Bay Shower: Every Baby deserves a Royal Baby Shower. Baby cloths and supplies were collected for the area women’s shelter. My week ended with the first Miss Bay-Arenac County Special Olympic Pageant. So many special moments were shared this evening. Every young lady received an honor.
Moving on to another week, I visited with the children at Hurley, then off to Selfridge North Macomb Lions Club monthly meeting. I spoke about the FADF and raised money and volunteers for our program. Time to throw on the tennis shoes and grab a paint brush. I was off to the 8 Mile Boulevard Association: Clean the D (Detroit). Collaborating with Citgo we racked, cleaned, painted and hauled brush and garbage that day. On to learn about fashion and etiquette I attended the Pam Eldridge (Miss America 1970) Etiquette Banquet. What an honor to have Miss America share her secrets of beauty, grace, and style.
Recognizing the month of May is Foster Care Awareness Month. I continue to campaign in partnership with Foster Hope to bring awareness of the needs of foster children and to the gaps in the foster care system. I work to inspire foster youth to choose to be more than their circumstances. I encourage them to live a four point lifestyle through academic achievement, community involvement, and personal expression. My goal is to help create Foster Care Cycle Breakers; a generation who succeed beyond the negative expectations and statistics associated with foster children. During the month we ran a Pajama Day for foster kids fund-raiser. More than 1,000 pairs of PJ’s were collected for foster children in Mid Michigan!
Next, I headed to Detroit to meet up with the Miss Michigan contestants at the Tiger’s stadium. Several of the ladies got a complimentary ride to the game in a limousine! Nothing like showing up to a Tiger’s game in a limo! It was very exciting to be announced on the field. Miss Michigan, Angela Venditti even got to throw the first pitch. Time to go west to Big Rapids to do a little glamping! In partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh, the Miss America organization participates in an international program that promotes self improvement. I am honored to be receiving both my bronze and silver medals at Miss Michigan this year!
Off and running again, I volunteered at the 5 Karat Princess Run in Sandusky. We had over 60 participants and raised more than $600 for Children’s Miracle Network. To honor those who have served our great nation I walked in the Burton Memorial Day Parade. I passed out candy and shook the hands of many, Congressmen, State Representatives, Police officers, and WWII veterans. Up next, I headed to the Special Olympics’ to help with the Summer Games in Mt. Pleasant. I met up with many of the athletes from my past service. I received many hugs and a very special kiss on the hand by a smitten athlete:) The joy and friendship these athletes share is a blessing to observe. Off to channel 12 to man the phones for the CMN Telethon benefiting Hurley Children’s Hospital, but first we headed into the studio to be interviewed on T.V. What an awesome experience! Next up, before buckling down to head to the Miss Michigan stage I visited with the children at Hurley Hospital. having worked with the staff at Hurley for more than five years, it was heartwarming when they wished me the best of luck and said they were rooting for me!
Since being crowned Miss Sanilac County 2013, many miles have been put on my little blue bug, affectionately known as LuLu. Many hours of preparation from talent, to walks, to current events and interviews have filled my spare time. I was over the moon with excitement representing Sanilac County at Miss Michigan in Muskegon this past week. A special thank you goes to the Miss Sanilac County Scholarship Pageant Board for your dedication to the Miss America Scholarship Organization and believing in the dreams of woman just like myself.