The Platform I Need

I have one of the greatest jobs (aside from writing) which is working with middle school aged youth. Everyday is such a different experience and though times can become absolutely chaotic I have an amazing time with all of my students. Our teens come from various backgrounds and all walks of life but one thing that remains constant is their need for stability. Our program is designed to allow all families to feel welcomed regardless of their income, so it isn’t very surprising to know that over half of our students are being sponsored or are receiving financial assistance to be in a safe, well structured environment. Thankfully, many outside programs like free after school bus drop offs are available for the teens but unfortunately they interfere with our program times not allowing those students to participate in our program. Students who would perhaps be interested in joining our activities and know they will be provided with a California State Board Standard nutritious snack are unable to attend and are often forced to find other means of keeping busy without trouble finding them first.

There are moments in life when you get hit with a big reality check and every worry, complaint and any other negative mindset quickly dissolves in an instant…and today was one of them. School officials at work were exposed to what a young boy had been hiding: no soles on the bottoms of his shoes along with dirty ripped white socks. School officials only took notice because he had asked for duct tape so he could piece what was left of his shoes just in time for P.E class. Immediately, the Principal and other officials were notified and money from the school’s “Families in Need Fund*” were taken out and brand new shoes and socks were provided for the innocent child who had had a complete emotional breakdown the class period prior. To make matters more heartbreaking, the new pair of shoes he received were a size 6, when his worn down shoes were a size 4-and-a-half. Though this child falls under the category of not being able to participate in our program due to free transportation, he is just one of the many other children at our school who live with devastating secrets of poverty.

Though there are various fun and exciting reasons why I’d like to be crowned Miss California Latina, I feel this opportunity would give me the perfect platform I need in order to reach out to those in need. I believe having a title, anywhere you go, has so much power and if you properly use that power for the goodness of others, so much success and positive change can occur. As mentioned in previous posts, I was raised to always give to others, especially if you have the capacity and means to do so. Though I haven’t yet experienced the big pageant weekend, I feel I’ve already been able to reach out to many through this very blog. Whether it be inspiring another to enter a pageant or help raise $100 for a San Jose gang related funeral, I feel this pageant experience has already given me the type of platform I’m looking for.

*To help other families in need, please visit http://www.gofundme.com/4n3nn0 and donate! All proceeds will go directly to the “Families in Need Fund”

Love,
Kassie P.

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Community Service

It’s no surprise that most, if not all pageant women are philanthropists and are very active within their communities. Engaging in community service shows you care about positive change and aren’t expecting a stipend for your good work (unless of course if a Girl Scout badge could be added to my vest). For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been involved with some type of community service events and paying it forward has continued to be part of who I am to this day. My parents taught me the value and importance of helping others mostly because of their own hard upbringings knowing that if it weren’t for others helping them along the way, I probably would not be living the type of lifestyle I have today.

Present day, I am involved with various types of community service projects but I primarily focus on advocating Lambda Theta Nu, Sorority Inc., national philanthropy: Latino Literacy. We believe without proper literacy skills, Latinos will be held back from receiving adequate help in whatever field they seek and it is our duty to promote the awareness of Latino Literacy through various activities like Book Drives and raising thousands of dollars for our cause. To further promote Latino Literacy, I also am a guest blogger* on LatinitasMagazine.com. This website is an online digital magazine geared toward the Latina youth empowering young women through the use of technology and media. The Texan site is dedicated to help young Latinas, primarily ages 10 through early 20s, help find their voice through annual conferences and creative expression.

Though I don’t necessarily have one specific community service avenue, I believe dipping my hands in various assignments and projects allows me not only to help where it is needed but I also get an opportunity to meet people of all walks of life that give me another realization of just how lucky and blessed my life truly is.

Love,
Kassie P.

*To view my bio and articles please click here: http://laslatinitas.com/yeab-bios

Final Stamp of Approval

My pageant experience would not be possible without the financial support of all of my sponsors. I have been so blessed and thankful that each of my sponsors have been supportive of my journey and have made this experience a cherished memory of a lifetime. Of course I am grateful for every organization that has joined me on my run, however; I’d really like to extend my deepest gratitude to my biggest financial supporter: Caribe Nightclub. After the initial interview for the pageant, I remember thinking to myself how on earth I’d come up with close to $1,000 to participate.* Since I personally know the owner of the club, I knew I’d be able to ask for his support but I was definitely nervous not knowing the outcome. Luckily, after quickly stating the amount (hoping the sound would gently roll off of my tongue and kind of go in one ear and out the other) the owner blew out a whistle and agreed to paying the full amount. I distinctly remember the feeling of burden being instantly lifted off of my shoulders as if pageant angels had come to the rescue. Since then, I had been making payment installments every other month to Miss California Latina… up until earlier this week. I could not believe how much time had already passed and now I was making my final payment.

As mentioned, when I first found out exactly how much it would cost to participate, I remember having a feeling of “Well there goes that experience” because I knew that I, myself, could probably not have come up with the cash meanwhile paying off my car and monthly rent. I remember feeling pretty down because I truly wanted to try something different but wasn’t confident I could come up with the funds, that is; until I realized it was me who was holding myself back, not the money. I knew in my heart I’d find the means and it would only take my dedication and time to find sponsors. Thankfully and by the grace and timing of God, I found all of my sponsors and the birth of my journey had officially begun.

Though my contributors have been a big part of this experience financially, I’d also like to take the time to thank my other “sponsors,” my readers! My passion and calling in life is creative writing and I feel so honored when my readers comment, email and tweet me positive feedback on my posts. I feel an overwhelming amount of satisfaction and fulfillment when my readers take time to hear my voice. Thank you all who have joined me on my journey and who are rooting for Miss San Jose Latina 2013!

*Participation fee includes the following: Hotel Lodging, All Meals, Purple Carpet Media Event Transportation, Opening Number Dress/Jewelery/Shoes, Swim Wear, Weekend Competition Sash and Goody Bags from Miss California Latina sponsors.

Love,
Kassie P.

Code Red: Stage Mom

When I decided to enter myself in the Miss California Latina pageant, I didn’t tell anyone, including my family. No one had ever participated in an event like this so I knew telling them would be somewhat of a shocker but I knew my family would support my decision. When I came to visit my parents house later that week, I made an announcement during dinner of my latest news. My parents laughed in amusement but started asking questions right away of what the process consisted of and how I even came across pageants in the first place. After explaining all of the nitty gritty, I showed my parents what my next steps were in finding sponsors and how I’d make this pageant affordable. My parents showered me with their support and now we had officially become a “pageant family.” My mom has since begun to send me links,articles and ideas that revolve around pageants, that are allowing me to get more insight of the unknown. Together, my mom and I have created two binders full of Miss California Latina documents and have even made a calendar of “to-do” items with each month that passes in preparation for the big weekend. My mom has been such a big help and I’ve enjoyed brainstorming and bouncing off ideas back and forth of what the pageant will be like. Though talking about dress alterations and events to make appearances at are some of the exciting details about the pageant, I am thankful my mom continues to remind me I must hang onto my true values and beliefs throughout this experience. We know as a family that Miss California Latina may open golden doors of opportunities for me but I am thankful my mom is constantly reminding me to keep grounded. Though the pageant lifestyle is new to our family, one thing that is not new is the encouragement and love my mom sends out with whatever her children decide to do in life. Happy Mother’s Day to the best stage mom I could have ever asked for!

Love,
Kassie P.