Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May 1st - March of Dimes "March for Babies" & Kickoff Breakfast for Assemblyman Michael Cusick

My very first appearance as Miss Staten Island, the morning after I was crowned was for the March of Dimes. Since that morning on I have been privileged to be involved with several March of Dimes events. Sunday I attended and sang the national anthem for the organization's annual "March for Babies." I spent most of the morning speaking to the volunteers and children involved in the March of Dimes. This organization is truly about the families and children affected by premature births. It is warm and caring.

Through the March of Dimes I have met a wonderful set of twins, Jamie and Jianna Romano. Jamie and Jianna were born 14 weeks premature and weighed just 2 ½ lbs. combined. The girls were in Richmond University Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 3 ½ months. They were given only a ten percent chance of survival and were fighting to stay alive. Today, Jamie and Jianna are thriving thanks to the many advances in neonatal research and care that March of Dimes has supported. These girls are a true testament to the March of Dimes. They are now full of life and happiness. I met the girls at my first appearance and then again when I visited PS 53. I was thrilled to be met with their smiling faces on Sunday morning. They give the warmest hugs and I was thrilled that the girls wanted to sit with me on stage during the opening ceremony. Seeing the smile on their little faces when they get to touch and wear the Miss Staten Island crown is what the Miss America Organization truly means to me.

National Anthem

With Jamie & Jianna

With Madison Finkelstein who was born 8 weeks early weighing 2lb 7oz. The Finkelsteins are the Ambassador Family for 2011. I met Madison the day after I was crowned and I look forward to seeing her at all of the March of Dimes events. Here we are at the March for Babies.

After leaving the March for Babies I headed over to the Staten Island Hilton to attend Assemblyman Michael Cusick's kickoff breakfast. The speakers all emphasized the importance of always striving for your best and recognizing that even if you meet your goals, you can always do a little better. It was an empowering message that I try to implement in my own life on a daily basis. It was a great way to end such an amazing day.

With Assemblyman Michael Cusick

Two National Anthems before 12pm. Great way to start off May!

April 21st - South Shore Rotary

My father, Robert DeSantis, has been a member of South Shore Rotary for about 25 years. He was President in 1989, the year I was born. I grew up with the men and women of this club. My first volunteer experiences in the Staten Island community were along side the member of South Shore Rotary. I remember begin about 3 or 4 and helping make Thanksgiving baskets for the needy. I couldn't reach the table yet so I stood on a chair. This is probably the most important lesson that I learned from the member of this club, just because you cannot accomplish something in the "traditional" way does not mean that it cannot be accomplished.

On Thursdays the South Shore Rotary meets at the Marina Grand to discuss current community involvement projects. On April 21st I was the key speaker for the weekly meeting. I informed the club about my reign as Miss Staten Island so far and discussed my platform and preparation for Miss New York. It was great to be able to see so many supportive familiar faces.

With my parents, Robert & Laura DeSantis, and South Shore Rotarians Terry Tarrangelo & Mitch Lowell