Why did the Duck cross the Exeter River?

To win 1,003 dollars! Its fall, so you know what that means! Duck sales for the Annual Exeter duck race are in full force! It has been great to be out in the community these past few weeks getting excited for every Exonian’s favorite event of the year… and all to help local kids.

I have had the honor of working with the Community Children’s fund for quite a few years now and I always look forward to sporting my yellow and cheering for the ducks as they race down the river. It has become my job to emcee the race each year, and thanks to that role, I forever have a hundred duck jokes imprinted in my brain. For the pleasure of hearing some of them, contact me to buy your quack pack and help provide local families with warm winter gear. You and your duck could be the lucky winners of over 1,000 dollars!

Although this year’s virtual format is very different than what we are used to, the meaning behind the race will remain the same and have an even greater importance. More families than ever before are in need this year, and not only will the duck race provide for our neighbors in need, but it will be a great opportunity for us to come together as a community to remember the hope and compassion that has only grown through these unprecedented times. Contact me to buy your duck!

Giving back to the community with Triple Elm Cafe

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, my summer did not unfold quite the way I expected it to. I had planned on many busy days serving the Granite State as Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen and even traveling down to Orlando to compete on the national stage with new friends from around the country. After all of that was suddenly put on hold, I found myself with an unusual amount of “free” time and instantly began planning how I could fill it up.

One of the ideas I thought of was to get my first paying job. Although I wouldn’t consider it my first job after running a non-profit and being a representative for MAOTeen, I began working at a coffee shop and ice cream parlor down the street from my house. Whether I was scooping a sundae or brewing an americano, I was so happy to still be out in my community all summer despite these unexpected circumstances.

I had a great summer working at Triple Elm, but nothing could ever distract me from my true passion and purpose to help end food insecurity everywhere. Immediately after getting hired, I began negotiating a promotion for customers to get a discount off their order when they bring in a donation for the food pantry. Soup kitchens and food banks are struggling more than ever to keep up with the unprecedented need that the pandemic has caused. Within just a few days, our donation box was full.

It became routine for the boxes to fill up just in time for my weekly trip to the food pantry. And every week, there even seemed to be a little more.

We also established a new pairing for my Win-Win initiative, which connects local restaurants throughout New Hampshire with organizations like food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in their area where they can donate their left over food. Triple Elm donated dozens of bagels to the Sandown Food Pantry and will continue to do so with other unsold food, thanks to the federal Bill Emerson Food Donation Act.

Over the weekend, I worked my last shift as summer has all of a sudden come to an end and it’s time for me to refocus back on school. It was my last time dropping off boxes of food at the pantry as an employee, although I know it won’t be long until I am back. I won’t be working at Triple Elm anymore, but you can STILL bring a donation for the food pantry for 10% off your order. Every bit helps!

Princess Camp from Home

I have attended quite a few virtual events these past few months, but this one just might be my favorite. It is no surprise because Princess week is ALWAYS the best time ever and even though the circumstances weren’t exactly ideal, we really had a great time!

I’ve been studying News Writing at the Ohio University so I came a little late after a class, but I jumped right in to a conversation about building a platform. It was awesome to hear all the girls innovative ideas to take initiative and make a difference in the world!

Then, I got to lead the girls in a craft. We all planted our own personal vegetable gardens! On the eve of Princess Camp, my mom and I made special deliveries to all the girls with bags of goodies. There were some Seeds of Hope gear, Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen swag, and the supplies for the craft!

During this activity, I asked who has been told they can’t do something; that they’re too young or their dreams are just too big. Every single person on the Zoom call raised their hand. These girls some as young as 5 already know that feeling. By planting our Seeds, we learned that it doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, where you’re from or anything in between, you have the power to change the world. I told them that the next time someone makes them feel small again, all they need to do is look outside at the giant trees and remember how small they were when they were just seeds.

From the smallest of seeds grow the mightiest of trees.

The Show Must Go On!

It’s no secret- quarantine is HARD. It really feels like we went from zero to one hundred and woke up one day locked inside. I am so lucky that throughout the entire experience, I still had the thing that keeps me sane.

I began coming to the dance studio to help teach some Zoom classes in the end of March, but it wasn’t until June that we were able to dance together again. And when that day came… wow was it different than the last time we saw each other!

I found myself spending pretty much everyday there, when I wasn’t dancing I was in the parking lot asking other students: “Have you been in close contact with anyone with the virus? Has there been any fevers in the household in the last 72 hours? Any muscle aches or chills? Any new respiratory symptoms? A change in sense of taste or smell? Did you take your temperature before you came?” I still have them memorized!

We had to stay 6 feet apart the entire time. This called for lots of changes to choreography in a very short amount of time to prepare for the recital we had in the end of the month.

Through it all, I have really found a new understanding and appreciation for my passion. Held outdoors, masks worn, and even with new choreography guidelines, this year’s recital was one for the books! It all worked out perfectly and ended up being a fun, low-stress family evening! I even tried my hand to choreography for the first time ever and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it! I put together a duo just for fun and ended up getting to perform it onstage, which is something I never thought I would get to do! Who knows, maybe it was the first of many!

Where it’s always Just For Fun!

New Hampshire’s very own Canobie Lake Park is opening Thursday and although the summer tradition might look a lot different this year, it’s still going to be the center of summer family memories!

Tuesday was the amusement park’s pre-opening day exclusive for friends and family as a practice run employees to test out their new social distancing protocol. I was so excited when I was invited to attend but I instantly knew it was the PERFECT opportunity for some safe sister fun!

Some of the Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen class of 2020 joined me as we explored the park ALL day, rode every single ride, shared many laughs, and made some great memories. We had such an awesome time together.

Not to get too cheesy, but really these girls inspire me to do all I can to be a good leader through the title of Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen. I am so lucky to have so many amazing girls to call my sisters and it is my mission to represent even a portion of our intelligence, strength, talent, and compassion! Our Canobie trip was a great day for all of us to stay connected after only seeing each other through the screen for so long and I can’t want for many more safe get togethers!

Thank you SO much to Canobie Lake Park for hosting us and giving us such a great day! We all had a blast. Don’t miss Canobie’s grand opening, they did a great job at maintaining CDC guidelines for a comfortable experience for everyone!

Join me at the JFK Coliseum

Almost every Saturday morning, you can find me in the parking lot of the JFK Coliseum in Manchester, working hard rain or shine!

As a representative of the New Hampshire Food Bank, I’ve partnered with the organization Food For Children to make sure that every local family has access to their right to adequate food, no matter what.

Our morning starts by unloading the donations, which come directly from grocery stores throughout the state, and then we begin sorting them. We organize and pretty much set up our own little grocery store! Anywhere from 150-400 families come through each week to pick up whatever it is they need.

This really is one of my favorite things to do because I have been able to build relationships with the people who my efforts are helping. As great as it is to raise thousands of dollars or collect tons of cans, there is nothing like the face to face interaction we experience here at the Food Drop. I always look forward to starting off my weekend catching up with the friends I have made over the past year of volunteering for them.

If you are looking for some service hours, an eye-opening experience right here in the Granite State, or just something fulfilling to do, this is it! We have such a blast and it is truly life changing to be able to work so closely with the beneficiaries of your service. I go whenever I can, and would absolutely love for you to join me! Every single Saturday, from 8:30-12:30 (ish) at the JFK Coliseum in Manchester, New Hampshire. Rain, shine, snow, sleet, we’ve seen it all! Hunger takes no vacation so holidays do not affect our schedule. No sign up ahead of time required! Hope to see you soon!

Pampered Chef for Feeding America

Ordering super cool kitchen tools AND helping food pantries across the country? How could you possibly refuse? I recently concluded an awesome fundraiser for Feeding America that I was so happy to be able to partner up with a Pampered Chef consultant to really make an impact on a local and national level.

Prior to the pandemic, 821 million people were estimated to be food insecure. This already alarming number has since sky-rocketed as families who have never struggled suddenly find themselves worrying about paying the bills and affording weekly groceries.

After two super short weeks, we were able to raise hundreds of dollars for food banks across the country that are now experiencing an unprecedented need while also still relying on the generosity of the community to stock their shelves.

This is a tough time for all of us, but I know that together we will not only get through the pandemic, but come out stronger! Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser, you made a real impact and got some great new kitchen tools at the same time!

Derry Community Connection

A few weeks ago, I got to spread some Hope to the Derry Community! I was so honored to join the Derry TV for an episode of Community Connection, which is all about keeping the community connected in the midst of a pandemic. (Hence the name!)

I talked about the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Organization, #KindnessRocks, Seeds of Hope, my normal day to day quarantine life and so much more!

It will be aired soon, so you won’t want to miss it! Stay tuned and set your DVR!

603 Day!

Every year on June 3rd, us Granite Staters get permission to brag about how awesome New Hampshire is!

I obviously love my state but I know I am not the only one! New Hampshire has been deemed the best state to live in in the United States for the last three years! This is because of our remarkably low crime rate, unemployment rate, income tax, our economic status, and education systems.

I wonder what is not to love about New Hampshire? We set the tone for the primary with the honor of first in the nation, we are home to Aerosmith, Adam Sandler, and the Segway, and thats not to mention the undeniably breathtaking views that line the Granite State… from shoreline to mountain top.

There is no where I would rather call home. It is a dream come true to represent my home (and apparently the best in the nation) as Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen! Happy 603 Day!

Pandemic Parades

Typically, it would be about time for communities to line the streets and celebrate the summer season with parades. Although this year is bound to be a bit different, the beloved tradition has remained and even found a new meaning.

Just like so many others’, my job as Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen has been altered as we all begin to adjust to this new normal. I have been thrilled to find myself still traveling the state and building connections everywhere, even if it has been from a distance. Without a doubt, the large majority of this new job has been in parades. My mom’s car has become my glamorous float as I make contributions to the community hanging out her sunroof as we follow the line of vehicles rolling down the street.

From my own neighborhood to the beautiful North Country, I have witnessed the togetherness that really has nothing to do with the physical distance separating us, but the bond that we ALL share. I have celebrated birthdays, retirements, illness recoveries, the New Hampshire Make a Wish program, and so much more from my car and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Each parade is a reminder of the hope that will ALWAYS remain in this world. Where there is life, there is hope, and there has never been any greater celebration of life than a parade!