BIRMINGHAM, AL – “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” – Albert Schweitzer

On April 7th, titleholders of the Miss Alabama program and volunteers will join in Cullman, Alabama to serve – the less fortunate, the weak, the elderly, those needing clothes, those needing food, painting, and landscaping the actual building that houses The Link of Cullman County, a program that serves the poor and vulnerable.

“One of the 4 points of the Miss America crown is service”, said Julianna Morena, Miss Iron City. “Miss America Serves weekend gives us titleholders the opportunity to do just that. This is my 4th year volunteering for Serves Day which has allowed me to be involved in projects that have greatly impacted others – from building homes to renovating schools.

I have seen the joy on people’s faces when they receive a gift-a gift that I had a small part of giving”, she continued. “But, this year is even more special, as Miss Alabama Outstanding Teens are involved as well. My sister and I will work side by side as Teen and Miss titleholders, pressure washing, painting and landscaping at the Link in Cullman county. What an honor it is to serve and work for such worthwhile projects. Improving the quality of life in the communities we live and serve, that is our goal”, she said. In the words of Ronald Reagan, ‘We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone’.

“The Miss America organization has given me – as a former contestant – scholarship money to achieve my educational goals”, said Alecia White, Team Leader for the Cullman project and director of the Miss Wallace State pageant. “I want to give back to an organization they gave me so much, that’s why I stepped up to be the captain of the team working here in Cullman. One of the very best aspects of the Miss Alabama Organization is the opportunity for young women to learn the importance of serving others not only on Miss America Serves Day but every day of our lives. The leadership roles they obtain will be with them far into the future as they also give back to others that have helped them along the way or those that may be less fortunate and may have fallen on really hard times”, she continued. “And, paying it forward – just being kind to someone, is a way for all of us to make a positive impact where we live”, concluded White.

“We are grateful to have the Miss Alabama Pageant contestants serve us at The Link of Cullman County”, said Dawn Owens, Executive Director of the Link of Cullman. “Since its inception in 2012, The Link of Cullman County has been serving the poor and vulnerable through programs and services that encourage, educate, and help them to become better employees. Currently we provide opportunities for people to grow out of poverty through eighteen different programs and services at 23 different locations throughout our county. We serve more than 3,000 people a year. We appreciate the willingness of these young women to want to come out and serve alongside us”, concluded Owens, “I have always looked up to my older sister as a role model”, said Caitlyn Moreno, Miss Teen Trojan in Troy, Alabama. “It is because of her involvement in the Miss America program that I too decided to get involved in the Outstanding Teen Program”, she said. “The Miss America Serves Day has always been important to my sister. She has told me many stories of her years helping others – whether its painting, cleaning, yardwork, or renovating. This year, I am looking forward to joining her on Serves day in the Cullman area. Working beside my sister gives me great joy and nothing can be more worthwhile that giving back to those who need it the most” continued Morena.

About the Miss Alabama Pageant

Alabama is home to a remarkable and respected organization with a rich history that spans more than nine decades. This not-for-profit organization awards college scholarships to outstanding young women of our state, and its mission is more critical than ever in this time of inadequate funding for education in Alabama. The Miss Alabama Pageant stands as a shining example of what can be accomplished when college women are challenged and encouraged to achieve ambitious goals. The community service aspect of the Miss Alabama program propels contestants into arenas of prominence where policy is made, laws are enacted or changed, crucial funding is realized, and lives are positively affected. Contestants work for causes represented by their personally chosen platforms which may include Cancer research and education, organ donation, child enrichment and mentoring programs, senior citizen advocacy, arts and cultural organizations, and many others.

About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals across North America. Every year, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals treat more than 10 million kids – that’s 32 million hospital visits annually. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time through corporate partners and fundraising programs. These donations support research and training, purchase equipment, and provide charitable care, all in support of its mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Learn why member hospitals rely on community support at CMNHospitals.org.

About The Miss America Organization

The Miss America Organization, a 501(c)4 non-profit organization, is the nation’s leading advocate for women’s education and the largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women in the United States, awarding millions of dollars annually. The Miss America Organization is comprised of 52 licensed organizations, including all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Miss America contestants contribute tens of thousands of community service hours annually and have raised over $13 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Miss America scholarships since 2007.