Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 8th - Grace Foundation Fashion show

At the event for the Gift of Life last night, I ran into Frado from the Biggest Loser who I know through other community events and he invited me to take part in a fashion show that he was hosting for the Grace Foundation the following evening. I was able to meet with the children and their parents and model in the fashion show along with the kids!

The Grace foundation is a non-profit organization established to offer services and support for families affected by autism spectrum disorders. They offer a broad range of services, activities, and classes for Staten Island families affected by autism.

April 7th - Gift of Life Fundraiser

On April 7th I was invited to the Staaten to be a part of a fundraiser for the Gift of Life Transport vehicle. The Gift of Life Family Transport was established to honor the memory of Amanda Forsyth whose organs were donated after a fatal car accident in 2006. Her family was helped through the ordeal by transportation service to and from the hospital which is provided by the city Fire Department to its members. The family decided to extend that service to all families of organ donors. Initial fundraisers went toward the purchase of a 2009 Chevy Suburban. This year's proceeds will go toward the vehicle's maintenance, gas, tolls and insurance. Driving is done by volunteers from the city Police and Fire departments. It was great to be able to help such an important organization.

April 2nd - Great Kill Little League Parade

Finally, beautiful weather for a parade! This Saturday I was a part of the annual Great Kills Little League Parade along with Shreya Jain, Staten Island's Outstanding Teen and Victoria Dugay, Richmond County's Outstanding Teen. We had a great time in the sunshine meeting with the teams and talking about how important it is to be active. The Great Kills Little League has been a tradition in the Staten Island Community and encourages our boys and girls to get outside, play ball, and socialize. Here are some pictures of the girls and I at the parade and at the opening ceremony.

March 30th & 31st - PS29

New week, new elementary school. This week I spend 2 days at PS 29. My agenda there was slightly different than that at PS 53. At PS 29 I held assembly programs for the different grades. First, as usual, I allowed the students to ask me questions and then we played a jeopardy style game. I had 4 students compete and 4 students keep score. They answered questions about the food groups, identify which food is healthier, answer questions about exercise and also perform some physical activities. We had a blast!

With Principal Manfredi

I also had the opportunity to take the kindergarten classes into the gym and spend some special time with them. First we all sat in a circle on the floor and discussed why I was there, who I was, and I answered any questions they had for me. Then we talked about eating healthy and exercise. I had the students go into the middle of the circle and demonstrate their favorite ways to exercise. They loved showing the rest of the class what they could do. One little girl even impressed everyone with some amazing push ups. Then we all got up together and I led them in a 20 minute aerobic style exercise session. It was so much fun.

March 24th & 25th - PS 53

Over the last two days I had an experience that I know will be one of the highlights of my entire year. I was able to spend 2 days going into every class room at PS 53 in Bay Terrace and speaking to the children about my platform.

I knew from the moment I spoke to the Principal Annette Esposito on the phone about my visit to PS 53 that this was was going to wonderful but my experience even surpassed my expectations. I was welcomed with a beautiful sign that some of the art student made for me and with a warm feeling from the staff and students. Principal Esposito gave me total discretion about what exactly I wanted to do with the students which was a bit intimidating at first but extremely exciting for me.

With the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes I started my 1/2 an hour lessons by allowing the students to ask me questions about myself, the pageant, what it is like to be Miss Staten Island, anything they wanted. It is amazing to hear what the students are curious about. After the questions, we labeled a food pyramid which I previously constructed. Then after the sections of the food pyramid were labeled, I asked the students to draw me a picture of any food. After they finished drawing we sorted the foods into the food groups and glued them onto the pyramids. Then we spoke about the importance of eating foods from each food group every day and the amounts that we should be consuming. Then the conversation turned to physical activity and we discussed some of the students' favorite ways to get their needed 1 hour of daily exercise. We had a blast.

With the Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade classes I started our lesson similarly, by allowing them to ask me questions. Then I read each class a book titled "Gregory the Terrible Eater." This is a story about a goat who wanted to eat food that would be considered healthy for people, however, his parents are concerned because this food is not what goats generally eat. The children loved the silly story and it was a great way to transition into a conversation about what foods are healthy for them to eat on a daily basis. Then, as in the older grades, we spoke about their favorite ways to exercise.

At the end of the two days at PS 53 I simply didn't want to leave. Many of the student had written me thank you letters and explained what they learned in our lessons, which is the most gratifying thing for me to hear. My time at PS 53 was a lot of fun and more importantly, I know the students were able to take some new knowledge about keeping their bodies healthy from our time together.

March 19th - Unity Games

This Saturday I was invited by Dr. Mark Sherman to be involved in an event called the Unity Games. The Unity games were founded by Dr. Mark Sherman and Jacob Carey in 2006 as a way to get intermediate school students together from around Staten Island and teach important lessons about diversity and tolerance. It is a weekend of basketball games and workshops about cultural diversity, arts and crafts, internet safety, health and much more. I was able to walk around the different classrooms at Petrides and speak to some of the students involved in the program and also cheer on some of the basketball games.

With Unity Game founders Dr. Mark Sherman & Jacob Carey

With Frado from the Biggest Loser who was also there to talk to the kids
With Borough President Molinaro

Singing the National Anthem at the opening ceremony

It was amazing to speak to some of the children about their experiences at the unity games. Some students return year after year and they explained to me that it is a relaxed atmosphere to meet interesting new kids that they wouldn't have met otherwise.

I was thrilled to be part of this event which really gives back to the youth of Staten Island, not only by getting them physically active which is extremely important to me but also by reinforcing a sense of community and acceptance among the young Staten Islanders. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

March 13th - State Sweeper

On March 13th, 7 Miss New York local titles were given out and I was lucky enough to see 6 of my local miss titleholders crowned. Congratulations!!