Miss America 2013 || Service


Like I mentioned yesterday, service is huge in the Miss America Organization. In 1989, the Miss America Organization founded the platform concept, which requires each contestant to choose an issue about which she cares deeply and that is of relevance to our society. Once chosen, Miss America and the state titleholders use their stature to address community-service organizations, business and civic leaders, the media and others about their platform issues. Since 1989, Miss America titleholders have appeared at thousands of public speaking engagements and charitable events to generate awareness for a variety of causes, including homelessness, HIV/AIDS prevention, domestic violence, diabetes awareness, character education, and literacy. (via)

In the Miss America Organization every contestant is asked to pick a platform to promote for her year of service. Something that she is passionate about. Something that she wants to promote in her community and potentially at the state and national level. I love that the MAO is service oriented. That being a titleholder is more than just wearing a crown, shaking hands, and kissing babies. It is about getting involved in your community. It is about serving those around you. It is about being a role model and an example to everyone.

During my year as Miss Magic Valley the platform I promoted was: Anti-Bullying — “S.T.A.M.P.” Out Bullying. I developed a presentation that is informative and interactive so the students can be involved with the process. First I introduce the students to my friend, Flat Fred the chalkboard, and ask them for examples of bullying. As they name off their examples, I write the words on Fred. As soon as Fred is covered, I ask the kids how Fred feels. The answer is always, “Sad!” After that I ask the kids for ways they can make Fred happy and feel included at their school. Every time a student gives an answer, I smudge out one of the mean words, leaving a little residue behind. Once all the words are smudged out, I show the kids that even though they can apologize and fix things, which is important, the scars are already on Fred. So it is best to never do it in the first place. Then I teach the kids an acronym to S.T.A.M.P. out bullying in their school.

Stay away from bullies.
Tell someone.
Avoid bad situations.
Make friends.
Project confidence.
I was able to promote my platform to over 8000 students in seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school, as well as the Idaho State Student Council Conference. Here are a few pictures of my assemblies.

The reason my platform was so important to me is because of my personal experience with bullying. 

My freshman year of high school appeared to be going fantastically. I was a cheerleader with all my friends, recently promoted to the senior dance team, always had plans on the weekend, and felt that I was finally starting to find my niche. Around Christmas, a new girl came to my dance studio because she was planning on moving to Twin Falls, so I decided it was my opportunity to make a new friend. I invited her out with my friends that night. After a night of socializing and fun, I happily returned and proceeded to check my email. It was in those few seconds that everything flipped upside down. All of my “best” friends had gotten together and emailed me a list of all the things they did not like and why they no longer wanted to be friends. I tried to call and talk with anyone, only to be directed to answering machine after answering machine. I thought maybe this would blow over but returning to school proved differently. 

You can read my complete platform statement here.

Promoting S.T.A.M.P. Out Bullying was an incredible experience, and it is something I hope to be involved in the rest of my life. Because of all the work I did with my platform I was selected by the Miss America Organization to win the community service award, a scholarship of $1000, for the state of Idaho. That made every single moment of being Miss Magic Valley worth it. 

You can read more about my year of service herehere, and here.

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