Friday, May 15, 2015

Have Courage and Be Kind

One month from today, Miss New Jersey 2015 will have been crowned.  I’m sorry, WHAT?!  I can’t believe how quickly time is flying.  This past week, I have been welcomed by my county and have had the pleasure of taking part in some amazing opportunities.  After driving home for 8 hours, I drove straight to Voorhees for an awesome workout with Training Aspects!  Kelcie and I always have a blast at the gym together, which can be both good and bad ;)  I kicked off the summer right by attending the Miss New Jersey Golf Outing on Friday, May 8th with some pageant sisters!  We met the golfers, manned the award holes to vouch for any hole-in-one winners, and sold raffle tickets at the lovely dinner at Mays Landing Golf and Country Club.  I can proudly say that there were no golf cart incidents (thanks for the golf cart training, HPU ambassador program ;)

 If we didn't take a selfie did it really happen?
 Photo courtesy of Richard Krauss!
South Jersey girls courtesy of Richard Krauss :)

The following day I packed as many events into my schedule as I could, with time for a quick snack and make-up touch up in between each!  I started off the morning strong volunteering at Washington Township’s Super Saturday event, selling wristbands.  I met so many adorable fair-goers and enjoyed making some great connections!  Being able to meet the citizens of Gloucester County and speak with those I represent as a titleholder has been such a highlight of my year as Miss GC.  

 But really- we love our jobs...
The Philly Phanatic made an appearance, too!

Next, I presented my Kindness Kids program to some friends at the Gloucester County Library!  We talked about ways to be a little volunteer and then crafted handmade bookmarks to leave in library books.  The girls and I ventured into the bookshelves and chose some of our favorite books to leave a little surprise for the next person who borrows them.  Stephanie, the activity coordinator, and I bonded over our love for the Harry Potter series. :)  

 Working hard on our bookmarks!
Finished products!

Finally, Kelcie and I traveled to Bridgeport Speedway where we greeted the crowds and distributed flowers to all of the Moms in attendance!  One of the best moments was being interviewed over the loud speaker (I mean it when I say LOUD) by Bill, the track announcer! 

 Our new friend, Bill!

I was able to thank my own mom the next day by attending our 18th annual Mother’s Day Tea with my cousins, aunts, and grandmother.  This day is so special to us and I love that it has become such a tradition for our family.  

My mom and I went to see Cinderella later that day, and I cannot describe how much I loved it!  The overarching theme of the movie was “have courage and be kind,” as quoted by Cinderella’s mother.  I’m so grateful to have had a mother who engrained those very ideals into me throughout my life.  That’s why for this month’s 15th day of the month lucky blog, I want to talk about courage and kindness!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my pageant life, it has been that all aspects of pageantry take courage.  Yes, walking in a swimsuit, modeling an evening gown, and performing a talent on stage takes plenty of courage.  What’s more courageous though, is putting yourself in a position to change the world.  As contestants in the Miss America Organization, we are constantly trying to change people’s perspectives.  We must break the mold that others have made which tells people what “pageant girls” should be.  By going out into our communities and trying to change that stereotype through service and scholarship, we are exercising courage.  This month, I will work on having enough courage to try to reach community members and students I have not been able to thus far, and having the courage to fearlessly reach toward my goal of becoming Miss New Jersey.  Along with courage, kindness is essential to achieving a goal.  In order to best serve our communities and inspire others, we must be kind- both to those who deserve our kindness and those who don’t.  I vow for the next month to use kindness at all times.  Remember what Dalai Lama said?  “Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”  I will extend kindness to those who meet me in all walks of life, even when they don’t use their turn signal :)  

I’ve been asked before why “Keep Calm and Volunteer On” is my platform when there are so many more specific causes to choose from.  To me, it shouldn’t be a question of why I’ve chosen a platform that surrounds kindness, but why not.  There are plenty of causes that teach kids and adults alike why they should not do a certain thing.  I chose my platform in order to share the one thing that always works- kindness.  There is no situation you might run into that cannot be solved with a little kindness and courage.  With my platform, I hope to encourage others to find their own platform to stand on and to always have kindness as the theme of their personal journey.

To follow my #RoadToMissNJ, follow these social media accounts!

Twitter: or @kcandvo
Instagram: or @keepcalmandvolunteeron

Follow Kelcie and I as we represent Gloucester County and South Jersey at:
Instagram: or @missgcandmisssj

Love always,