Friday, June 03, 2016

The Crown She Wears is a Crown that CAREs, folks!

As one of the founders of Crowns that CARE, I'm always on the lookout for stories that speak to our mission: Children Are the Responsibility of Everyone. This is one example of a local Queen helping others in a unique way.

Recently, a friend of mine and fellow "Queen Bee", Mrs. Florida USA Earth, Maureen Heubel, asked a question on Facebook...
I had an idea for a contestant gift but I wasn't sure if people would think it was cheap or stupid. A good friend of mine, Dr. Debra Thomas has a non profit that provides assistance to homeless people in Central Florida and has started her back to school supply drive. This got me thinking that instead of candy, another bookmark etc I could give each delegate a cute photo of a school supply to represent the school supply item I donated in her honor. Thoughts?
Maureen Heubel, Mrs Florida USA Earth
The response was overwhelmingly positive, especially from me. I've been a devotee of Marie Kondo for quite a while and her philosophy for tidying is "Does it spark joy?" Nothing sparks joy for me quite like being able to do for others. And the idea of having something donated in my name for a worthwhile cause sparks an immense amount of joy. Also, not having one.more.thing to clutter up my home (or my hips, thanks candy!) sparks a lot of joy, too. As it turns out, Maureen got the idea from Marie Kondo, too!

To my sister queens, I encourage you to think outside the box like Maureen! Especially if your platform is eco-related.

To my pageant directors, as a contestant I always cringe when I hear "and bring 50 items representing your state/community/etc to give to your fellow contestants as a token gift". I don't want 50 "token gifts" to take home! I'm pretty sure I'm not alone, too, if the response to Maureen's facebook post is any indication. I encourage you to rethink the purpose of these "token gifts", especially at events geared towards children.

I'm not the most ecologically minded human on the planet, but I understand a few things:
1) Too much stuff strangles us and weighs us down.
2) I don't need 50 bookmarks or trinkets or dollar store toys.
3) There are plenty of other ways to show you care about your fellow contestants that don't involve "stuff" to carry home.
4) While it's the "thought that counts", it's incredibly wasteful to dump the "token gifts" in the garbage on your way to the airport.
Here are a few other things that would be much more appreciated:
1) Bottled water with a customized label or tag. If someone gave me a bottle of water as a contestant gift, I'd be SO thankful! Pageants take a lot out of you and being hydrated is so important.
2) Tic Tacs/Breath Mints with a customized label or tag. You never have them when you need them (aka right before interview!). One of my kids' teachers gave them mints at "meet the teacher" with a note saying "You were MINT to be in my class this year". #HintHint
3) Personalized pens are always a great gift! Pencils work too! Everyone needs a spare pen. I puffy heart my my daughter's NAM pens.
4) A photo business card with "Best Wishes" or "Good Luck" hand written on the back. For people who collect business cards, this is a great way to keep in touch. The added bonus is that it's SMALL, can be photographed and stored in your contacts on your phone and enables you to stay in touch with your fellow contestants after the event is over. Because we don't ALWAYS have our phones on us. Except for me. I'm "that" contestant who took a selfie with my fellow contestants ON STAGE during on-stage question. #WorldPeace
In closing, I'm 100% with Maureen! So if "all you get" from me as a contestant gift in your name to a worthy charity, know that it was done out of love for others, the planet and you. Because I know you don't want 50 knick knacks to try and fit in your carryon!

Live Long & Keep Sparkling,

The Empress a.k.a.
2015 Sunshine Foundation Ambassador
2016 Royal International Miss Role Model

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