September 8, 2011
By Natalie Davis, Miss Minnesota 2011
My name is Natalie Davis, and I am so blessed to be Miss Minnesota 2011. I will be competing for the title of Miss America this January, so be sure to tune into ABC to watch the pageant LIVE from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 14.
My personal platform is Autism Awareness: The Missing Piece, and it is inspired by my younger brother Trevor, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. I am so proud of Trevor for everything he has accomplished despite his challenges. He is a part-time student at St. Cloud State University, an excellent creative writer (his goal is to be a children’s book author one day!) and an Eagle Scout. My underlying message is that with hard work and a strong support system, people with ASD can lead successful and productive lives.
Trevor recently completed his first acting class at SCSU. I always knew that Trevor was expressive (he was on the speech team, and he is very creative and plain old hilarious), but I had never seen him perform with other people. When families were invited to watch the students perform skits on the final day of class, I was wringing my hands. I am always nervous for Trevor because I want him to succeed, and if something went wrong with his skit, I wasn’t sure how he would react. As it turned out, he did an amazing job! He got the most laughs of anyone in the class, and later he told me that one of his partners had messed up and said his line by mistake. He hadn’t even reacted! Trevor continues to amaze me with his growth and development. Had someone described Trevor to me in this way 10 years ago, I never would have believed them, but because of our strong family support system and Trevor’s incredible work ethic, he continues to move forward.
I know that right now, as you read this, many of you are rolling your eyes and thinking, “Oh boy…a beauty pageant…a bunch of girls strutting around in heels, swimsuits, and big hair…” Well, in all honesty, you may be right about that, but in my six years of experience with this program, I have found that Miss America is much more than a beauty pageant.
Miss America exists to foster the growth and development of young women, encouraging them to promote their voices in culture, politics and the community. It is the world’s largest scholarship program for women, making available more than $45 million in scholarship assistance each year. Miss America is also a leading service organization. It has a national partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, an organization that helps millions of children in need of medical assistance each year. The Miss America Organization also promotes over 12,000 individual service platforms each year.
I am so excited for the opportunity to partner with both the Autism Society of Minnesota and the Autism Society of America during my year of service as Miss Minnesota. I hope to be a strong voice for the autism community as I share my family’s story with thousands of people across the nation.
To learn more about the Miss Minnesota Organization, please visit www.missminnesota.org. To follow me during my year as Miss Minnesota, read my blog at www.nataliedavis.weebly.com.
Miss Minnesota 2011
Topics:Living with Autism
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