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When the name of the event is “Miss Amazing” and the events that take place are incredible, the word “amazing” gets used a lot.
That’s how it was on Saturday, when Mooseheart sent 30 high school students to Illinois Miss Amazing, a pageant for girls and women with disabilities, which took place at the Yellow Box Community Christian Church in Naperville.
Mooseheart’s students participated in a variety of roles for the pageant, which “provides opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build confidence and self-esteem in a supportive environment.” Some of Mooseheart’s cosmetology vocational students styled hair and applied makeup. Others were “buddies” to contestants and partnered with them throughout the day. In addition, five Mooseheart Naval Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps students were on-stage escorts during Saturday’s Final Show.
“We are so pleased to have the Mooseheart kids here,” Director of Advancement for Illinois Miss Amazing Erin Tobias said. “They have continually exceeded our expectations.”
Prior to the show, the hair and makeup area is a beehive of activity, and there is pressure to have the styling done so event participants can move to their other activities. Tobias said Mooseheart’s students performed their duties perfectly.
“They have been able to interact with our participants in a really organic and meaningful way,” Tobias said. “What we’ve seen is the Mooseheart students rise to the occasion. I know some were apprehensive about what they could potentially be walking into. But they were able to move forward and do their jobs well.”
This year marked the third in a row that Mooseheart students have volunteered at Miss Amazing, a partnership that has grown from 2015, when a group of Cosmetology students helped with hair and makeup.
“From that initial interaction of the Cosmetology students coming, we’re slowly adding roles for the Mooseheart students,” Tobias said. “We can trust the Mooseheart students and the administration and we’re very happy to have them connected with Illinois Miss Amazing.”
The benefits of participation help the Mooseheart students as well. The school’s motto is “Enter to Learn; Leave to Serve” and events such as Illinois Miss Amazing allow the campus to turn those words into something tangible.
“We talk about those words a lot, and this is a chance to see the value of serving others,” Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler said. “I cannot think of a better venue to showcase that motto than this event.”
All involved said they were confident the Mooseheart-Miss Amazing connection will continue.
“It is beneficial for our kids to get out and put forth an act of kindness and give to others and not be thinking about themselves. This is truly an amazing event,” Urwiler said.