You’ve Got Jena Sims
National Volunteer week is right around the corner! But why limit yourself to JUST a week? There are so many great causes that are open to year round participation and they need you! One week simply isn’t enough. Although it is great for awareness and promotion of the causes. One of my personal favorites is the American Cancer Society. Since I lost both of my grandfathers at an early age, I picked that organization at age 10 to hopefully raise money for a potential cure. I did this by forming a Relay for Life team.
What is Relay for Life? To me, it represents the hope for a cure. Team leaders form teams with catchy names (“Scaring Away Cancer”) and organize various fundraisers for the months prior to the actual Relay, which lasts for a full 24 hours! The goal is to have one member walking around a track, usually at a local college campus or high school for an entire 24 hours. You do that by switching off. There are also games, dances, contests, and concessions to keep everyone occupied and entertained. The fact that it is an all night event symbolizes the suffering the cancer patients endure on a 24 hour a day basis. Cancer does not sleep!
I formed my first Relay team at the age of 10. It was composed of friends and family affected in some way by cancer. I believe we were “Clowning Around for a Cure” and we walked the track in clown attire. We did fundraisers like car washes, bake sales, yard sales, you name it! We sold anything and everything from feather boas to light up glow sticks. I had the time of my life- and I was the youngest team captain in my county! I continued having teams all the way until graduation. From 2000 to 2007, I raid around $88,000 for cancer research with my team. I also mentored others to form their own teams! The discipline it took for me to hold others accountable, organize events, fundraisers, and market our team prepared me for the real world as well as motivated me to continue volunteering and never stop until a cure is found.
So, if you are looking for a more long term volunteer opportunity, might i suggest starting a team? For more information visit: http://www.relayforlife.org/
Here are some photos from 2006 and 2007, my last two years as captain!
Former beauty queen Jena Sims started the Pageant of Hope to help boost confidence in kids battling cancer and other illnesses. Catch more on this weekend’s Everyday Health.
When you think of beauty pageants, spray tans, swimsuit competitions, and tiaras may come to mind. But one very special pageant in California is out to defy those stereotypes.
The Pageant of Hope is for kids with cancer or a terminal illness, and don’t expect any brutal judging here. Everyone walks away with a tiara. (Winners are recognized for Best Hair, Best Dress, Most Confidence, and more).
“The feeling you get when you hear your name called as a winner is truly amazing and surreal, I wanted kids who wouldn’t normally compete in pageants to experience it as well,” says pageant founder Jena Sims, a former Miss Georgia Teen USA. “So, I created this pageant where every child leaves as a winner.”
Sims, who lost both her grandfathers to cancer at the age of 10, started the non-profit organization Has-Been Beauty Queens in 2006 after years of raising money and awareness for American Cancer Society. She and her fellow “queens” run pageants around the country; so far they have crowned 800 kids. The Pageant of Hope is featured on this weekend’s Everyday Health television show.
“The whole point is to take their mind off of the hospital and make them feel like a prince or a princess for the day,” she says, as seen pictured above with a contestant in the Pageant of Hope in California. That means a full day of primping with makeup, hair (complete with hair bling), manicures, and even a tutorial in how to best work the catwalk. When the pageant begins, each kid is escorted on stage by a former beauty queen.
“If the children have a better well-being or a higher sense of self-confidence they [have a better quality of life, which could] boost into remission quicker,” Sims says during the episode. “I feel like if we can touch a kid one tiara at a time, we can heal them as well.”
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