Matthews – Mint Hill Weekly
Drive collects more than 250 items for Rockwell-based organization
MINT HILL – For Julie Shillingburg, director of The Miss Mint Hill Scholarship Pageant, community service is an important duty she holds high for pageant winners. That’s why she jumped at the opportunity to integrate community service into the inaugural Queen’s Breakfast.
“I have always made it clear that I’m not a ‘crown-and-go’ pageant director,” Shillingburg said. “I feel it’s very important for the girls to represent their titles and the pageant’s sponsors.”
Miss Mint Hill hosted the first Queen’s Breakfast on May 23, just before the Mint Hill Madness parade, to welcome pageant winners from across the greater Charlotte area who participated in the parade. The 2014 Miss Mint Hill winners – Emily Miner, Miss Mint Hill; Emily McCune, Teen Miss; Lauryn Caldwell, Junior Miss; Shelby Stegall, Young Miss; Avrie Edwards, Little Miss; Aubreyana Jeter, Tiny Miss; Saylor Wisniewski, Toddler Miss and Kaidryn Mayo, Baby Miss – and their families helped plan the breakfast and donated food items.
Shillingburg also wanted to include a spring service project with the Queen’s Breakfast, and Miss Teen Mint Hill Emily McCune suggested pageant winners collect goods for the Nazareth Children’s Home, a Rockwell-based nonprofit that provides residential and transitional housing, foster care and adoption services, along with outpatient substance abuse and mental health counseling for families and individuals. Emily volunteers at the children’s home on a regular basis and wanted to host a drive to further support the organization.
“The pride and commitment Emily has to the children’s home was clearly visible when we were deciding what we wanted to do for our spring service project,” said Shillingburg.
Emily, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Queen’s Grant Community School, said she became involved with Nazareth Children’s Home’s quarterly birthday parties more than a year ago.
“The first time I went and got to meet the kids, seeing the looks on their face when they opened their presents, it made me thankful for what I have and made me want to keep going back,” she said.
Emily has continued to volunteer, helping family friends Darby and Sheri Dillard host four birthday parties and a Christmas party. After suggesting the pageant winners collect goods for the children’s home, Emily learned the home was in need of towels and washcloths.
“Julie did an amazing job of contacting other pageant directors to get their queens to participate in the drive,” Emily said. “I couldn’t have done it without her and all the hard work of the other queens.”
Emily said 17 pageant winners collected 202 towels and 52 washcloths, which she, her mom and Darby Dillard will deliver to the home on Monday, June 8.
“I was very surprised at how many were collected,” she said. “I cannot wait to hand deliver them on Monday.”
Shillingburg said Miss Mint Hill pageant winners also worked together to collect food for a Thanksgiving meal held at Bain Elementary School, collect classroom library books for Bain and volunteered at Mint Hill Police Department’s National Night Out event.
The Queen’s Breakfast presented a platform for pageant winners from across the greater Charlotte area to serve together, increasing the breadth of the service project and giving fellow pageant winners a reason to work together for the greater good of the community.
“It was awesome to see all the queens come together and donate items for a good cause, along with eating an amazing breakfast before the parade,” said Alana Cooper, Miss Mecklenburg’s Outstanding Teen.