Pitts Promise for Foster Youth hosted a Southern Sweetheart Pageant this month, in order to raise funds and supplies for those within our foster care system.
The organization was founded by Annabelle Pitts, who saw a need in the community and decided to address it.
“I am a first-generation college student,” Pitts said. “I was applying for scholarships and I found one based on kids being in foster care. It was for $5,000 and I was so sure I would get it, because I spent so many years in foster care. I was denied, because I was returned to my biological parent when I was 17. I was returned, I think, in May and then turned 18 in July. I was just a few months short. I was denied for that and began wondering that, if I was denied, who else was? So, I wanted to start my own that wouldn’t have such strict criteria.”
The group officially started in July of 2022 and they’re still in early stages of forming, building up assets and being an organization that will last in the long term. While they haven’t announced any scholarship recipients yet, they’ve been working hard to offer other benefits while they do that legwork of forming themselves.
They’ve collected Christmas toys, raised hygiene products, and have collected luggage for kids within the system to carry their property in.
“When we were in foster care, we only ever had minutes to gather our belongings for a move, sometimes,” Pitts said. “We usually had to use trash bags. Picking up your life so immediately and showing up to someone carrying trash bags can make you feel worthless. Something like a suitcase can give someone dignity.”
The Pageant was held to raise hygiene items for foster youth and managed to raise around $1,000 for the program.
“I am absolutely astonished by the outcome of this event. We are so incredibly proud of all of our contestant and wish that they will continue to help us in supporting our community,” Pitts explained. “They are the framework to our future, and I am so grateful to be their leader in becoming the best adults they can be. I hope they continue to be selfless and serve wherever their hearts lead them. The kids that donated are absolutely amazing. From the contestant that brought over 300 bags to the contestant that brought one bag, no donation is too small.”
The crowned winners of the pageant included Ultimate Grand Supreme, Ava Cain; Grand Supreme, Zaelynn King; Mini Supreme, Ollie-Belle Darling; Talent Supreme, Ollie-Belle Darling; OOC Supreme, Bristol Hale; Fan Favorite, Federico Salazar; Photogenic Supreme, Tomlynn Young; and Humanitarian Ambassador, Dylynn Timberlake.
0 to two princesses are Tomlynn Young, Charlie King Raylynn Stacy; 0 to two Division Supreme Queen, Oaklynn Tackett; three to five princesses, Rayleigh Travis, Salem Ehrhart, Aviana Pitts; three to five Division Supreme Queen: Avalee Adams; six to eight princesses, Aaliyah King, Savanna Baker, Lilliana Ward Bristol Hale; six to eight Division Supreme Queen, Astara Baker; nine to 11 princess, Sofia Perez; nine to 11 Division Supreme Queen, Laiken Seidel; 15 to 18 princess, Brittany Miranda; 15 to 18 Division Supreme Queen, Dylynn Timberlake; Boy Prince: Federico Salazar Bodhi Ehrhart; OOC 1st Runner Up, Tomlynn Young; Talent 1st Runner Up, Ava Cain Photogenic, 1st Runner Up, Bristol Hale; Humanitarian Ambassador 1st Runner Up, Ava Cain; Fan Favorite 1st Runner up, Sophia Perez.
Timberlake won Humanitarian Ambassador for bringing in over 300 hygiene bags. The hygiene bags were required to include toothbrush, toothpaste, bar soap, and deodorant.
“I decided to compete in the pageant because I really supported the cause. I was really inspired by Faith Claypool, Miss Shawnee Outstanding Teen 2023. Her platform since Riverdays has been foster care. Also, My mom does huge Christmas projects every year for charity, and I really wanted something that I could do to give back,” Timberlake said. “The community really cares about our foster kids and is excited to give when they have the opportunity. I couldn’t believe I was able to provide 335 hygiene bags in a span of two weeks. Whether donating money online, dropping off items to our home, meeting my mom for pickup, dropping off to my dad’s work, or just sharing posts social media; Our community is really amazing, and they deserve credit! My goal was to win the Humanitarian Ambassador Crown, and winning the extra title of Division Supreme, best hair, and best dress was a big surprise.”
Pitts was impressed with her abilities.
“She worked so hard getting these bags ready, she asked people in her life to help her & they did just that.,” Pitts said. “She is so incredible and I know she will live to be a true leader to her community.”
In total, the effort raised many supplies, according to Pitts.
“We collected around 982 hygiene bags, over 4,000 items, and we had one contestant that brought hair brushes and things that weren’t even on the list,” Pitts explained. She called them ‘luxury bags.’”
For any questions, comments or concerns, please message Pitts at the Pitts Promise Facebook page, by email at [email protected] or by text at 740.352.0798.
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved