Wednesday, November 5, 2014

October Madness; Part 1

This past October turned out to be one of the busiest months I've ever had! In keeping with my goal to complete my blogs before we go!

Out Of The Darkness Walk

On October 5th, I attended the Out of The Darkness Walk to support suicide prevention. I had attended this walk for the past 2 years and I was honored to be asked to attend once again as a guest speaker. I was thrilled to be joined by my friends (and Miss SI 2015 Contestants) Amanda Rae Davis and Allison DeLuca. We were also joined by Dominique Bianco, Miss NYC’s Outstanding Teen.
The day was an exceptionally cold one but that didn’t stop anyone from coming out. I was touched by the outpouring of support. The speakers all shared their personal stories of loved ones who had died by suicide and told of how they had turned their grief into hope by speaking out to raise awareness. When it was my turn, I spoke about support and education so that those who feel they have no one to turn to can get help before it’s too late. Most importantly, I urged everyone to take the day to celebrate the lives of their loved ones rather than mourn their loss.
Right before we walked, everyone in the crowd was called upon to place a colored butterfly on a bare tree to signify who they were supporting. It was a beautiful sight to see the tree covered in color. It made me feel great to know that we were all there with a common goal to shed light on this taboo subject. This year's walk helped raise $40,000 of their $47,000. Want to donate to the cause? Click here. Thank you Susan Holden for having me! It was an honor.

Walk Like MADD

In my already jam-packed October, the 11th turned out to be not only one of the busiest days in my reign, but also one of the rainiest! Early in the morning my Mom and I braved the elements to join Tara Spohrer of MADD at Clove Lakes Park. It was time for the very first "Walk Like MADD," Mothers Against Drunk Driving Walk on Staten Island.
This organization is one that my parents have supported for many years so I was exceptionally honored to be asked to be a guest speaker. Even though it was rainy (actually, it was pouring) and cold, there was a large crowd gathered. One thing that made quite an impact on me were the 358 pairs of shoes that lined the path to represent the people killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012 alone. It was a very powerful statement.
Drunk driving is something that is completely correctable and raising awareness along with education is the way to keep it from happening. After I spoke, I had to leave quickly to make it to my next event of the day. Thank you, Tara, for having me. I look forward to working with you in the future.

The Bravest BBQ

After a quick change and some hot coffee to warm up, I was off to my second event, the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation's Bravest BBQ. This annual event is an all day barbecue and benefits "Building for America's Bravest" program, which builds specially adapted "smart homes" for our injured service members.
The Siller Foundation was established "to honor the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001." This year's barbecue was even more special to me as my boyfriend, Nick, recently joined the FDNY at Tower Ladder 77 in Stapleton. He was manning the grill when we arrived and I stopped by to say, "Hello."
I spent some time speaking to people in the community, buying raffle basket tickets and, of course, eating! I even ran into a few old friends, including Terry Tarangelo, and met Brian 'Q' Quinn from  Impractical Jokers for the second time. I was thrilled to see that the rain started to let up and more people were coming in to support this great event. Before I knew it, it was time to leave and make my way to stop #3 for the day! Keep up the great work that you do, Siller Foundation. I know that I will be working with you all again!

Rome Around Richmond Town

My last stop of the day was the first ever Rome Around Richmond Town event to celebrate the Italian heritage in honor of Columbus Day. Being full-blooded Italian, I was proud to be able to attend and "get back to my roots." Add that to the fact that the rain had stopped and I was raring to go!
As my parents and I "romed" around, we ran into countless friends; most notably Linda Carbo, an MAO pageant legend, good friend, and all around funny lady! I also got to pose with our Borough President, a group of Italian police officers and NYC Governor candidate Rob Astorino. As we made our way through the stands, the smells from the countless food vendors was more than I could bear! As any Italian knows, it's all about the food. So, in the spirit of my heritage, I just had to sample it all…yum!
Staten Island is such a unique borough and events like this prove that. My very long, but very productive, day ended with some comedy from headliner Joe Piscopo. I had such an awesome time at Richmond Town. Ciao!

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