Each year the Ms. Senior Mesquite Pageant contestants sell advertising for their program as part of their contestant responsibilities. The money collected from the sale of the ads goes to charity; specifically, the non-profit organizations that thrive in Mesquite. As of the 2016 pageant the Ms. Senior Mesquite contestants have collectively raised and donated over $40,000 to local non-profit groups. This year the Queen and her court gave out $3,400 to 14 organizations.
After the pageant is complete and the new queen has been chosen, she and her court share the task of reading applications submitted by the non-profits and listening to a 3-5 minute presentation from each one. And that’s the easy part.
The hard part begins when they have to, as a group, decide who gets what. There are limited funds and more and more non-profits than ever. Money has to stretch a long way and deciding the amounts to give to each organization is an emotional ordeal.
One may think it’s an easy choice, especially when as human beings everybody has their own particular preferences or emotional attachments when it comes to charity. Each of the five women was no different than anyone else and thought it would be a piece of cake when it came to deciding which of the applying organizations took home the checks; until they heard the presentations.
After the various group’s representatives spoke, they realized when it comes to keeping a community healthy, it takes all kinds.
Keeping with the definition of the word health – “being in the highest state of physical, mental, emotional and social well-being,” says it all. Each of the groups from We Care for Animals to the Mesquite Cancer Help Society has some extremely valuable benefits to the community as a whole.
The groups who attended this year were: The Mesquite Cancer Help Society, Mesquite Lutheran Child Care, Mesquite Showgirls, We Care for Animals, Virgin Valley Theatre Group, Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra, Virgin Valley Little League, Mesquite Heritage Community Garden, Mesquite Arts Council, Kids for Sports, Mesquite Community Theatre and the Mesquite Toes Tap Team. One additional group received money also but was unable to find a representative to attend.
Each of the Ms. Senior Mesquite Pageant participants from Queen Jean Hardman, Gail Laird First Runner Up, Elizabeth Merrill Second Runner Up, Kim Lyon and Judy Brittain faced a tough decision but they made their choices. Each of the 14 applying groups received something at the reception held on June 8 at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery in a sealed envelope; the amounts were not divulged.
When it came to having to sell advertising, the 2016 pageant contestants all faced the dreaded day when they would have to sell their first ad. Second Runner Up, 87 year-old Elizabeth Merrill said, “It was easier than I thought it would be and when people found out what it was for they were so supportive and generous.” The rest of the ladies all agreed. Mesquite is a town full of generous donors and supporters.
Ms. Senior Mesquite Pageant participants and the 2016 Queen and her court are grateful to all the business and residents that support all of the facets that keep Mesquite a healthy community.