Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Pleasant Valley Lions Club

Today I spoke to the Pleasant Valley Lions Club. I was treated to an amazing dinner cooked by the club members. After dinner I was called to the podium to give my presentation about my organization. When I finished there was a standing ovation by all the members. I was deeply touched that they understood and supported my efforts with Luggage of Love. At this point the President of the club, Rich Cervantes, presented me with a P.V. Lions Big Red One banner and a $500 check from the club. He asked me to return next year to share my organizations progress. Immediately after I was awarded the check, the club had a raffle, and to my surprise each individual who won money that night donated it to Luggage of Love. All in all Luggage of Love raised $735.00 this evening!!! I had an incredible time and I cannot wait to come back. Thank you Pleasant Valley Lions Club!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Miss & Teen Ventura County Intl Pageant

Tonight was the Miss & Teen Ventura County International Pageant. This was a very special evening for me because my Director Eddie Peterson and sister titleholder Mrs. California Intl Ashley Pavletich were in attendance as well. After a lovely dinner we all headed over to the Oxnard Performing Arts Center for the pageant. Since I was a previous titleholder for Crowning Glory Productions I was given the opportunity to share a little bit about my experience so far as Miss Teen California International 2010 during the pageant. I was so happy to see my previous sister titleholders....Meghan Lopez (Miss Ventura County Intl 2009), Allison Bowman (Miss Gold Coast Intl 2009), Sammy Riddle (Miss Greater Conejo Valley Intl 2008), and Hilary Gushwa (Miss California Intl 2009) who was also the Mistress of Ceremonies.

On a more personal note, it was so rewarding for me to see the CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) with their teens who I invited personally. Many of these teens share the same experiences I had as a child and are still trying to triumph above them. I am honored to share my experiences in hopes that they too will not become a statistic but rather a positive role model in our community. Thank you for attending this event, and remember....never let your past decide your fate, you can do great things as long as you put your mind to it! I believe in you.

After the new titleholders were crowned we all went backstage to take pictures with them as well as with Ron & Christl Karlson from Torgny Jewelers, last years titleholders Miss Teen Ventura County Intl 2010 Sejal Thacker and Miss Ventura County Intl 2010 Shauna Libby. There was an after party at TGI Fridays where we all gathered to honor the new titleholders. Congrats to Keri Ann Johnson and April Mitchell for winning Miss & Teen Ventura County International 2011. Enjoy your year as it will go by before you know it. See you ladies at State in September and I encourage all of the girls who competed to run at State as well because it is an experience of a lifetime! Keep up all your community service as we are the examples of the future.

SIDS WALK in Camarillo

Yesterday I participated in the 2nd Annual Josephine DeMello SIDS Foundation 5K run/walk. The turn-out for this event was incredible...over 350 walkers and runners joined in to raise money for this great cause!! During the run some of the young children held signs for their siblings who had unfortunately been lost to SIDS. I met some of the most resilient people and heard so many touching stories from families who have lost children due to this mysterious killer. Yolanda DeMello, the founder of the SIDS organization, recognized all of the first responders who tried to revive her daughter on that unforgettable day 2 years ago. The awards ceremony was beautiful and heartfelt with a release of doves at the end.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Please join me this Saturday at 8:30am at Constitution Park in Camarillo as I support The Josephine DeMello SIDS Foundation...

A week ago I met an amazing lady by the name of Yolanda DeMello. Her tragic story of the loss of their beautiful daughter, Josephine, to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) was something that left me numb. Not really having a full understanding of SIDS, she quickly educated me. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants 1 month to 1 year old, and claims the lives of about 2,500 infants each year in the United States. It remains unpredictable despite years of research.

On March 10th of 2008 Yolanda received a call at work from the police informing her that her 6th month old precious baby girl had unexpectedly died of SIDS while sleeping at the babysitters. This tragic event left her devastated, but she stayed strong and through her faith she was able to move on and founded The Josephine DeMello SIDS Foundation. This 501(c)(3) organization was formed to educate families and bring awareness in the community about the number one cause of death of infants in their first year of life. The foundation has a first response team and provides support to all those victims of SIDS. It raises funds through events and public donations to help fund burial expenses and the much needed research that goes into finding the answers to put an end to SIDS.

After speaking with Yolanda and hearing her story I felt compelled to help support her and her cause in any way possible. I joined her this week on two radio station appearances in hopes to get people to come out and support her 5K walk this Saturday. The first appearance was on the Rico & Mambo's Morning Show on Q-104.7, and the second on B95.1 with Bo in the morning. The event will take place at 8:30am at the Constitution Park located off of Carmen Drive in Camarillo. There will be live entertainment, a fabulous raffle, lots of booths, and great food provided by Johnny Rockets in Camarillo.

I am so excited to be a part of this event and I encourage everyone else to join in too. So come on out and join me and help raise awareness for SIDS!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


When I lived in shelter care, I remember how amazing it was when I got the opportunity to go on outings with my cottage. I had never really experienced many of these activities until I was placed at Casa Pacifica. One outing that was truly memorable was eating out at Burger King. I remember getting a Burger King crown and eating my meal with it on. I have been hoping ever since to pay it back one day to other shelter children in the same way, and with the help of the generous owners of Johnny Rockets in Camarillo I think it is going to happen.

Today I accompanied Mariette, the owner of Johnny Rockets, to Casa Pacifica the children's shelter I used to live at. We met with Vicki Murphy, the Head of Development and Operations at Casa to talk about setting up a day when the shelter children could go on an outing to Johnny Rockets for some great tasting hamburgers and shakes and then attend a movie at the theater next door. We all took a tour around Casa Pacifica and I was able to show Mariette my old bedroom in the cottage I used to live in. I can't wait to experience this event with the shelter children.... I will keep everyone posted when this happens.