While we have discovered that pageantry on a budget is fun and exciting, it is also stressful at times! So in an effort to ease some of the stress on Queenie, to alleviate some of the worry for Mom, and to allow Dad to leave work for a little while each day, we have been working hard all winter on a new product line for Happy Girl & Co. The purpose of Happy Girl & Co. is to help Queenie raise the funds she needs to be competitive in this year’s Miss Wisconsin Teen USA pageant in September, to offset the expense of a formal gown, interview outfit, shoes, accessories, make-up and hair, as well as hotel and travel expenses. All of these expenses add up to a good chunk of change! In addition to that, Queenie also needs to raise $900 in sponsorship money.
“Why should I care?” you ask. “What difference does it make to me if Queenie is in this pageant?”
Well, here’s why it matters to me.
Last year, I am proud to say that Queenie placed 6th out of 39 girls in the Teen division in the Finals of the Miss Wisconsin Teen USA pageant. With that honor, she won a scholarship of $29,000 to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. Queenie also competed in the Spokesmodel Competition. The Spokesmodel Competition was a combined category with Miss contestants and Teen contestants competing for the same prize. Out of almost 80 girls, Queenie won! Her reward for winning is a $5,000 scholarship to the New York Film Academy. These scholarships will be the difference for her! The money she earns through competition will allow her to attend college. It is a tremendous achievement!
Queenie is also passionate about Autism Awareness! Through her fundraising, she is able to use her poise and grace to educate others about what autism is and how it affects families. She feels honored to be able to do that. Queenie is blessed with beauty. With that beauty comes responsibility. As much as Queenie would love to ‘win’ the crown to be able to affect change, she realizes that through the power of her beauty, she is able to affect change every day through her words and actions. That’s why she’s so beautiful!
One of the products that Happy Girl & Co. has created are Puzzle Piece Magnets. Why puzzle pieces? Well, autism is often symbolized with the picture of a puzzle piece. The symbol was first used by the National Autistic Society to show something about autism: our children are handicapped by a puzzling condition; this isolates them from normal human contact and therefore they do not ‘fit in.’ It has since become an international symbol of autism.
Our take on the puzzle piece as it represents autism is a little different! Autism Spectrum Disorders have been described as a disorder made up of 10 separate puzzles all dumped into one box. Reserachers are in the process of trying to sort through the box to find where each piece belongs, and to which puzzle.
We believe that instead of using the puzzle piece to represent something that is missing or puzzling, it should be used to show the unique and beautiful characteristics of people on the spectrum. Separately each piece has its own colors, textures, shape, and size. The same can be said for each person on the spectrum. They each have their own special gifts, talents, beauty, and individuality!
It is our privilege as family members, friends, teachers, co-workers, and community members to help children and adults on the spectrum uncover their gifts and create ways for them to share and celebrate their uniqueness! Queenie hopes to use the Happy Girl Autism Awareness Magnets as a tool to educate others in THAT way! While she lives with some of the daily challenges that autism brings to families, she has also seen first-hand the beauty of autism and the blessings that autism holds.
So, find us at the Lake Mills Farmer’s Market. Like Happy Girl & Co. on facebook. Visit Queenie’s website at www.reachingforthecrown.weebly.com. Whether you are able to support her through a financial contribution or an encouraging word, I hope you can take something away from getting to know a little bit about her. She’s on her way to fantastic!
“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” ~Audrey Hepburn