I pledge to be drug free... Week 15!

Another memorable week …! On Sunday, I accidentally dropped my phone in the dog’s water bowl. Ironically, my best friend got engaged Sunday night, and she was trying to get in touch with me all night and day! Finally, she called my mom’s phone to tell me how her fiancé bought tickets to the World Series game and proposed after the Rangers won. Congrats to Amy and Josh!!

This week was busy! I traveled over 1,200 miles from west to northeast to south Arkansas, visiting three cities for the first time and meeting lots of great people! Because this was Red Ribbon Week, I spoke in five schools about the importance of being drug free!

Starting in Hot Springs, I spoke to students in pre-K to 2nd grade at Lakeside Elementary School. As soon the pre-K students walked in, one girl sighed in frustration and yelled, “I thought Miss Arkansas wore a dress!” I laughed and told her I was tap dancing that day and had to wear jeans. She replied, “Minnie Mouse can tap dance in a dress.” She was precious! I then spoke about making good choices such as being drug free and ended with a tap performance. I think that little girl ended up liking my tap dance. The children called my feet “magical”.

Later on Monday, I visited the town of Kirby for the first time. Kirby schools had put a lot of effort into creating a pageant skit for Red Ribbon Week. Four boys dressed up as “Miss Tobacco,” “Miss Alcohol,” “Miss Marijuana,” and “Miss Cocaine”. They strutted around in dresses and wigs while the emcee read the negative consequences of using each one. Then, they had a “surprise” late entry into the pageant! A pretty girl came out as “Miss Drug Free” in a beautiful white dress and, of course, won the pageant! It was so much fun! I then spoke to K-5 and 6-12 in two separate assemblies. After my “Be Drug Free” presentations, I stayed to sign autographs … but not just any autographs. Those kids wanted autographs on their arms, pant legs, t-shirts, hats, and foreheads. Wow!

There she is... Miss Drug Free!!

Tuesday morning, I spoke to Lakeside Middle School students and had a blast! These kids loved my presentation and “Name That Tune” challenge. Several times, teachers were called onstage to name the tune, and the crowd erupted in applause! I feel like they connected with my message of finding a mentor, going down the right path, and always setting an example for those around you.

Student Council Members at Lakeside Middle School

We quickly traveled from Hot Springs to Blytheville in the northeastern corner of the state to attend the opening ceremony of the College Prep Academy. I shared the stage with Dr. Glen Jones, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research at Arkansas State University, to encourage and inspire those involved with the program. The Academy had received a grant to organize a special class, and around 40 students voluntarily signed up for school on Saturdays and summer days to improve their ACT scores. I admire students who take steps toward achieving success!

Thursday morning, I stopped by one of my former schools, Meekins Middle School in Stuttgart. I had a great time visiting all of the classrooms and answering questions. I challenged the students to join me in the drug free commitment for a brighter future! When it was time for questions, the funniest one was, “Is your boyfriend famous?” “No…” “You mean, your boyfriend isn’t on TV?!” “Haha, no…”

Can you tell that I am giving a thoughtful answer to a question? haha

Thursday afternoon, I traveled to Magnolia for my first time. I enjoyed having dinner with the judges and participating in the Miss Southern Arkansas University pageant. I met so many nice students in Magnolia and thought the pageant went very smoothly. University pageants are so much fun! Congratulations to Kristen Lambert, the new Miss Southern Arkansas University!

me, Kristen Lambert (new Miss SAU), and Rianne Herron (former Miss SAU)
Valerie Brown, Emcee and Former Miss SAU

Friday was an amazing day of workout, dance, and eyelash extensions! Visit Karmen at Salon 10 on Cantrell in Little Rock if you are interested in eyelash extensions!

Saturday, I had a wonderful time at the Fall Festival in Forrest City. Hannah, a college friend, met me for the event, and we loved seeing all of the kids in Halloween costumes! I especially liked the bumblebee. I was a bumblebee when I was about her age!

They wanted me to break a board. I couldn't do it. The black belt had to break it for me.

I also met an inspirational boy named TaJuan. Although he isn’t in high school yet, he is already planning for his future! He saw on the news the rising cost of college tuition and student loans. He came up with the idea to form his own clothing line, “Other People Often Envy.” By selling $10 t-shirts, he hopes to save for college. I was so impressed and thankful for his example. So many people in this world wait and expect things to be given to them. Instead, TaJuan is taking a proactive stance for his future …. Wow!

Congratulations to Kathryn Holcomb, who was named Miss Arkansas River on Saturday night! Kathryn is a very sweet girl, and it will be great to see her competing next summer in the Miss Arkansas Pageant in Hot Springs.

Sunday, I traveled to Danville to speak at First Baptist Church. This was my first time to the town, but it quickly felt like home. I first talked to girls in the youth group about purity and respecting oneself. I then talked to the church body about my experience at the Promise House, where I served as mentor to pregnant teenagers at the temporary shelter and learned so many life lessons! I especially love talking in churches.

I will be traveling less this upcoming week, but will be equally busy. I hope to finish my tap dance and will soon announce the debut of my new dance for Miss America!! I am speaking in several schools and churches and will also be speaking at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention about my experience at the Promise House. This week, I’m very excited to have two photo shoots scheduled!

Thanks again to those who read my blog weekly! It is a blessing to share this journey with friends who care! Thank you!


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