Meet 2 NAM girls that put a whole NEW meaning in VOLUNTEERING !!!

It's my honor to introduce to you, two young ladies that have gone above and beyond in volunteering in their community !!! Victoria (akaTori) Knight the 2009 National American Miss Washington Teen and Kennedy Miller former NAM Washington Princess Winner and top 10 at the 2009 National All-American Miss Jr Preteen National pageant have created a pageant that gives back to victims of breast cancer! These two talented young ladies have beautiful voices and can light up the stage like no other. They both placed in the top five for the National Talent Competition and have bright futures ahead of them. Let's get to know them just a little better!!!

Tiffany: How did you get involved in pageants?
Kennedy:Mom says she bought a dress on ebay for pictures when I was really little and the seller asked if the dress was being used for a pageant. My mom said she didn't know anything about pageants so the seller sent her some links to local events. When I was 4 Tori's grandma told my mom about National American Miss. My mom decided to enter me in the state pageant. I won the state title that year and the rest is history!
Tori: I really enjoyed singing. I wanted to find something to showcase my talent. There really isn't a lot out there for kids and talent. My mom told me about a pageant with an optional catagory for talent. I couldnt wait to get on the stage. I was 9 at the time. I made friends that year and we are still friends today 9 years later.

Tiffany:What made you choose to be an advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness?
Tori: Kennedy and I have both lost family members to breast cancer. We have family members and friends who are survivors as well. Most recently a pageant friend of ours lost her mother to breast cancer. We wanted to do something to help. We wanted to help educate young ladies about the importance of prevention.

Tiffany: Who came up with "Queens for a Cure"?
Kennedy: We were at the state fair with Tori and her family one day in September. We started talking about one of our friends we met through pageants and cheer whose mother had recently died from Breast Cancer. My mom told me about her cousin who also died from breast cancer who had two little girls ages 1 and 4 when she died. Tori and I were so sad that little girls were loosing their moms and we started talking about things we could do. Lots of ideas were exchanged that day and by the time we left the fair Queens for a Cure was formed!

Tiffany: Tell me about the event.
Kennedy: Queens for a Cure is a combination pageant and fundraiser. Contestants compete in 2 mandatory events: Personal Introduction and Formal Wear. Contestants can also compete in several optional events including cover model, best eyes, best hair, best introduction, best formal wear etc. One queen and 4 alternates are chosen in each age group based on their mandatory scores. We also have 3 overall titles awarded to the contestants with the highest combined score in the mandatory events and donations collected for Susan G Komen. All contestants who raise donations over $100 receive a special tiara and are invited to be on our team during the Susan G Komen race for the Cure June 6, 2010. We also wanted to help educate our friends about breast cancer so we invited a guest speaker from the Susan G Komen foundation. We distributed breast cancer publications, pins and shared facts throughout the pageant. We also paid a special tribute to the breast cancer survivors in the audience by inviting them up on stage and presenting them with a rose and they received a moving applause from the audience.
Tori:Our main goal with Queens for a Cure was to raise money and awareness. We wanted the highest award to really include the donations collected for Susan G Koman. We have divisional winners with a combined score of the events on stage. But our three Supreme Titles include a combined score of the events on stage and the amount collected for Susan G. Komen. Everyone who raised 100.00 or more received a tiara and gets her entry fee paid for the Race for a Cure. My favorite part of the day was honoring the survivors on stage and presenting them with pink roses.

Tiffany: How did you organize the event?
Kennedy:We had a lot of help from our moms and our grandmas. We had several meetings where we talked about all the things we needed: Judges, score sheets, decorations, awards, emcee cards, etc. There are A LOT of things to organize. We divided up all the tasks between everyone to be sure everyone had a job and that everything got done.
Tori:We worked with our moms and grandmas. We made many lists and everyone had different roles and responsibilities prior to and the day of the event. We met and talked often. Communication was key. We were able to secure a speaker from Susan G. Komen and we got the theater donated 100%. It was just amazing how many people wanted to help and be a part of Queens for a Cure. We had a webpage to communicate information to contestants. We also wrote a script that was written for Kennedy and I to use as a guid while emceeing the event. Everything went smoothly.

Tiffany: What was your goal?
Kennedy:Our goal was to raise $5,000. We knew that was a big goal but we knew we had a lot of really great pageant friends that could help us achieve our goal. BOY OH BOY were we surprised when we got the final tally and were able to announce to the audience that together we raised $10,111.07! It was an amazing feeling!
Tori:We set what we thought at the time was an ambitious goal of $5,000.00 When the Big check was presented on stage I read the amount prior to announcing it to the audiance. When the total amount of $10,111.07 was announced the roar of the crowed as they rose to their feet was the most amazing feeling I have every had. Thinking about it now, still makes me emotional. One of the judges, a friend who is a local news anchor had recently been diagnosed and was in the middle of her Chemo treatment. As the applause continued I thought about her and how much courage she has to be fighting this and I was honored to be a part of something so amazing.

Tiffany: How has being a titleholder helped you outreach in your community?
Kenneny: I was the 2005 WA Princess Queen. Being a title holder gave me the confidence to look for opportunities in my community and ask to be involved. It has also taught me that I can still make a difference in my community whether I have a title or not.
Tori:I think learning at such a young age about the importance of volunteering really helped me see the rewards with volunteering. Being a part of NAM requires volunteer hours at the National Level and I think it is fantastic to get the kids involved. I started volunteering at 9 years old. There wasn't a lot of organizations that would take someone under 9 so I had to create oppotunities in my own community. It is much easier now that I am 18. But I think starting Queens for a Cure opens the door for many others to get involved either with Susan G. Komen or even another organization

Tiffany:What advice can you give to other girls who want to start reaching out in their community?
Tori:I know it is not easy finding a big organization who will allow someone under 16 to volunteer.
When getting involved in your community it doesn't have to be something big. I use to sing at nursing homes, volunteer coach, and helped clean up my school. You will set an example and might encourage others to do get invovled. If we all did something small today, together that would be HUGE! I remember when I was younger thinking, I may be small in size, but I can make an Impact too. See It, Believe It Achieve It.

Tiffany: Kennedy what advice can you give to girls your age that want to start volunteering?
Kennedy:If there is something that you really want to do - you can do it! When you are young you will really need your parents help, so put together a plan for what you want to do. Tell them what you want to do and why and together you will make a great team!

Tiffany:What do you girls want to do when you grow up?
Kennedy: I really love to be on stage so I hope to perform on Broadway when I grow up. I'd also like to be a teacher.
Tori: I will be attending Central Washington University in the Fall. I am currently involved in the Teaching Academy where I am teaching 5th grade one hour a day. I really am enjoying it. I hope to teach 5th grade in the future as well as Direct Musicals at a local Community theater. I want to volunteer with public speaking and hope one day to have the opportunity to Emcee NAM as well.

Tiffany:What is your favorite part of National American Miss?
Kennedy: My favorite part is being on stage with the cool lights and music. I also really look forward to seeing all my friends and the staff members every year, its just a really fun weekend.
Tori: My favorite part of competition is Interview and Talent. I love to see the staff and my pageant friends as well. I met Brian and Meagan 9 years ago at my very first pageant. I want to contiue to be a part of NAM for the rest of my life. I have seen the changes it makes in young ladies lives. My life is forever changed because of it.

Tiffany: Tell me about yourself
Kennedy: I am 9 years old and in the 4th grade. My favorite subject in school is Math. After school I either go to dance class or theater rehearsals. I just joined the competition dance team this year and I am having a lot of fun doing that. Earlier this year I was cast as Kate in Annie Jr and I am currently in rehearsals for Seussical Jr where I am playing the Sour Kangaroo. Singing is really my passion so I try to work in a few voice lessons here and there too when my dance and theater schedule allows. I had a great time at NAM nationals this year and I can't wait for my state pageant! I decided to try a new optional at nationals this year, Spokesmodel. To my delight I won the Jr PreTeen National Spokesmodel title! I hope I am able to attend the national pageant again next year!
Tori: I am 18 and a Senior this year. I am the Secretary/Treasurer for my Senior Class. I am very invoved in leadership at my school. I am excited to start college in the fall at Central Washington University. I am involved in school and community theater. I am currently in High School Musical II, playing the part of Gabriella. I love to work with kids. I am currently teaching a 5th grade reading class and I also teach Sunday School. In my free time I love to go camping, playing in the mud on my quad, getting coffee with friends and singing in the rain


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