Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Typical Saturday...

This past Saturday, I began the day expecting to run a lot of errands, but unaware of exactly how many things I would accomplish! Of everything that happened during the day, my favorite part was attending the SMB Studio Arts Inc. Student Art Show!

I attended the art show by invitation of my dear friend, Kelly Lam, to support her daughter, Katie Lam! Katie is a student at SMB Studio Arts Inc. and has been working on comic art. Initially, I had planned to attend the show, relax, and take my mind off of the all the work I've been putting into my upcoming Make-A-Wish Foundation benefit! As you will see in the pictures, I did not even attend as Miss Staten Island! However, opportunity found me - as it usually does when I am around Kelly : ]


I met Steve Bunnicelli, the owner of SMB Studio. After speaking with him, and seeing all of the amazing work that his students completed, I had a wonderful idea. I told him that I would love if his students could create a banner for my benefit! Because they are all so incredibly talented, I know that by working together, they will create a beautiful "We Dance For Dreams" banner to be displayed at the March 10th dance showcase at Snug Harbor! He agreed, and we will be working on additional projects in the future. I look forward to seeing what his students will create!

For tickets to the event, click here!

I had a great time at the art show, and I am very excited about all of the creative and community-oriented people I met. I may even have a hair & make-up sponsor for future appearances! Stay tuned for more information! It's going to be an amazing road to Miss New York!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Make-A-Wish Visit to S.I.U.H.

Today was one of those appearances that make you proud to be working for a cause greater than yourself. After my visit to Staten Island University Hospital's new Pediatric Center, I am even more excited about the impact I am going to be able to make with the Make-A-Wish Foundation as my platform!

Alongside Ilene Mandell - Manager of Medical Outreach at the Metro New York Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation - and Vivian Alestra - Child Life Specialist at S.I.U.H. - I was able to explore the new Pediatric Wing (which was beautiful). The funds for the renovation were gathered through fundraising by Linda Manfredi, in honor of her brother, a fireman during 9/11. Ilene spoke with a group of doctors and encouraged them to refer their eligible patients to have a wish granted. I had the opportunity to introduce myself to them, as well as to many children, and their parents.

With Ilene Mandell in the new playroom!

One girl, in particular, caught my eye - a nine-year-old, Francesca. Every doctor told me that she was "the next Miss Staten Island." She was very excited as we entered to room to speak to her. Though she was not eligible for a wish, we spent time with her and her family, and learned a little about them. Her mom runs her own organization which raises funds for various charities throughout the year. "I promise," she said, "our next fundraiser will be for the Make-A-Wish Foundation!" She invited me to work with her and I am patiently awaiting her email!

With Ilene and Vivian

There are no words to truly describe the feeling you get from knowing that what your doing is directly helping others. My visit to Staten Island University Hospital's Pediatric Center was incredible and inspirational. I am so proud to be spending this year doing the work that I am for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I met so many wonderful people today! It is rewarding to know that I am part of an organization that dramatically changes the lives of children with life threatening medical conditions. I couldn't be more excited for the rest of my year!

South Shore Rotary Guest Speaker

The day after Tech's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, I attended a South Shore Rotary Luncheon as the guest speaker! While it was short visit, I certainly had the chance to not only meet many people, but explain to them why exactly I am so passionate about my platform, "The Make-A-Wish Foundation: Kids for Wish Kids."

One member of the South Shore Rotary was Terry Tarangelo, who is on the board of directors for the Miss New York Pageant! It was a pleasure to meet her, and she is helping me greatly with promoting my "We Dance For Dreams" benefit (March 10th)!

I asked the club and all of its members if they would be interested in sponsoring my benefit. To my surprise, I was presented with a $250 check which will ultimately help me to ensure that 100% of the proceeds from this event will go directly the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York & Western New York!

Thank you so much to the President, Debbie Ferrara, and all of the members of the South Shore Rotary. It was an honor to speak at your luncheon and I look forward to coming back!

Ms. Ferrara - First female president of the South Shore Rotary!

S.I.T.H.S. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Hello everyone! I am ready to get back into the swing of things! With the spring semester of my junior year beginning, things have been a little bit crazy - but I wouldn't expect anything different : ] Since the new year, I have made three appearances at very different events and I'm glad to have the opportunity to share them with all of you!

First was my appearance at Staten Island Technical High School. This was actually my second appearance to my alma mater. As I had posted previously, I was interviewed in the new TV recording studio about what it means to be Miss Staten Island and how others can get involved in December. This event, held on January 11th, was the "Ribbon Cutting" for this new studio!

The entire Staten Island Tech community, including alumni, were invited to attend as they thanked everyone who made this dream become a reality. Mr. Mazza (who developed the vision), Mr. Maniscalco (principal of S.I.T.H.S.), and City Councilman James Oddo (who provided $1.25 million in funding) were at the top of this 'thank you" list. Special guest, Mark Rivera - long time saxophone player for Billy Joel - played with Tech's Jazz Band to celebrate the occasion.

City Councilman James Oddo gave a speech that made me even more proud to be a Tech graduate. He began by reading various headlines from across the country, of young kids who went down the wrong path. "[It's easy for adults my age to say that they worry about the future of our country],"he said, "but then I see a school like Staten Island Technical High School, and I know we're going to be okay." And it's true, the amazing young men and women that Tech creates is a true testament to the teachers and faculty, and the never-ending desire that they create to be better than oneself.

It was an honor to be a part of this very special day in Tech's history. A proud seagull, forever!

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year, New Goals!

Well, here we are in the "Year of Miss Staten Island" - 2012! Typically, the whole idea of a new year makes me very anxious. Each year we work so hard to make it amazing, and then another one comes around and we have to start all over! At least, that's how I used to think of it.

However, this time, the feeling is completely different. As Miss Staten Island 2012, I will be able to make such a difference this year and that is definitely more exciting than scary! With a fresh start in 2012, I know I will be able to achieve anything I put my mind to. I hope that I can also show others that anything is possible when you work hard enough!

So, what are my goals & resolutions - world peace, perhaps?

My Goals for 2012:

1. To take time to relax. - This may be a difficult one.
2. To make decisions regarding my "future career."
3. To maintain my physical fitness! - Miss New York, here I come!
4. To not take anyone or anything for granted.
5. To enjoy everything that this year has to offer!

Overall, I really just want to make this year the best it can possibly be. Becoming Miss Staten Island truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I won't let any time slip through my fingers. I can't wait for the amazing things to come!