The following is a guest blog post from Clara Emlen, Miss Vermont Teenager 2013, of Calais, Vermont. Clara is an ardent supporter of The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital at the UVM Medical Center. She continues to raise money to support the hospital. Here she describes how she became involved and why she continues to support the hospital.
Two years ago, I was introduced to the Miss Vermont Organization. This non-profit scholarship program’s mission is to “provide scholarships to young women of Vermont while coaching their leadership skills, mentoring their participation in relevant community service, enhancing their unique talents, and developing their personal confidence, grace and style.”
As members of the Miss Vermont Organization, we are to focus on living the four points of the crown: service, style, scholarship, and success.
Since 2007, the official national platform for the Miss America Organization has been the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. During a development day for contestants, we received a visit from Anthony Granger, the 2011 Vermont Champion and Victoria LaRen, the 2012 Vermont Champion. They told us their very personal and moving stories and spoke about how the The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital had helped them – and saved both of their lives.
From that moment, I understood what a special organization this was, and I became determined to do my part and make a difference. I set up a donation page, which I sent to all my friends and family and posted on my Facebook weekly. Many people graciously donated money after I explained to them the amazing things that the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals do for children all over the country. From the donations alone, I raised around $600.00, but I wasn’t finished. I continued my fundraising by hosting a bake sale at my school and a bottle drive at a near by bottle redemption center.
In June of 2012, the entire Miss Vermont team visited the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital for the first time. We were given a full tour and informed about what the different wings were used for. Many of the rooms were themed so that the doctor’s visits were made easier for the young patients. One of the great things about the hospital was the welcoming and comfortable feel that filled every room. When you think about a hospital, you may think of discomfort, but this was the exact opposite.
In early April, I was named Miss Vermont’s National Teenager 2013. I decided immediately that I would work with the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital as much as I could during my reign. Recently, I participated in Vermont Kid’s Day, where I was able to be part of the Vermont Children’s Hospital team. I arrived and met a local celebrity, Monty the Moose, along with Logan, a young girl walking to support the hospital, and a mother and her young daughter. I said hello to the little girl and complimented her on her beautiful, long blond locks. She shyly thanked me and her mother kindly informed me that she had just grown it back after three years of chemotherapy. She added: “The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital saved her life many times.”
To me, the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital isn’t just a place to get better. Everyone there is a part of a team whose goal is to give unhealthy kids a happy and satisfied life while helping to cure them. The doctors, nurses, and volunteers truly care about their patients. I am so excited to continue my work with the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, and promote this wonderful organization throughout my year of service.