The much-needed baby staple is set to help replenish the Salvation Army’s Diaper Bags for Hope supplies. Tennessee’s DYW chairman Kay Free said the program was a good fit.
“Salvation Army does so much for people who are underprivileged and do not have diapers for their children. So this is an easy place to come for those,” Free said. “... It was an easy one for us to do. It is difficult for these girls to bring a lot of things, so diapers were an easy purchase.”
Tennessee’s DYW head sponsor, Brenda Lawson, has also been known to provide for the Salvation Army program through her nonprofit Diaper Love. Contestants were encouraged to order a complimentary drink prior to a tour around SA headquarters.
Rebecca Hilleary, DYW of Rhea County, said the coffee was much appreciated after the daylong rehearsals.
Contestants reported to the Dixon Center for rehearsals at 8:30 a.m. They practiced their routines for fitness, dance and self-expression. Free explained the girls were excited to see the sunshine as they had been inside all day.
Hilleary described her enjoyment of the program while sitting down with Marion County’s Summer Lee Calhoun and Loudon County’s Savannah Moua.
“It is really such an amazing experience. All of these girls are so wonderful inside and out. They are all talented, confident and bold,” Hilleary said. “They all have such loving hearts to go out into the community and serve.”
Calhoun put into perspective what it means to be surrounded by bold, confident and talented girls.
“It is nice to be competing with girls who have already been through this with their counties, so they are already at a higher level,” Calhoun said. “We are meeting other people who have just as good of talents as we do.”
She said she was looking forward to seeing who would win the competition and promised scholarship money.
Hilleary expects the whole week to be an amazing experience.
“We not only get to spend every day with a great group of girls, but most every day we are here we get to go out into the community and volunteer,” Hilleary said. “I really think that is where the true spirit of the former Junior Miss, Distinguished Young Women now, is.”
Continued Hilleary, “Whenever you volunteer, you not only give your services, but you get so much in return.”
Forgey expressed her thanks for the contestants’ generosity with Monday’s act of service.
“This will help replenish our supply. We need more than we can get. There are young mothers out there and they are just learning how to take care of a baby,” the Salvation Army’s Ruthie Forgey said. “They come and they are young and they are scared.”
She explained the summer months are lean for the program, which also offers counseling and life skills classes.
“We are very grateful and very thankful for the Distinguished Young Women who were generous enough with their time and with their intentions to us tonight,” Forgey said. “More than us are the babies who will be diapered thanks to their generosity and kindness.”