En­trants show beauty more than skin deep

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - VIR­GINIA WINDER

If you see Miss Taranaki con­tes­tants shak­ing a bucket be­fore the fi­nal gala evening, they will be fundrais­ing for the Taranaki Health Foun­da­tion.

Miss Taranaki, to be crowned on Fe­bru­ary 18 at the Quality Ho­tel Ply­mouth In­ter­na­tional, will be an am­bas­sador for the re­gion and the health-sup­port­ing char­ity.

Foun­da­tion gen­eral man­ager Bry Kopu says the or­gan­i­sa­tion was hon­oured to be cho­sen as the char­ity for this year’s pageant, which in­cludes Miss Teen and Ju­nior Miss.

‘‘We were par­tic­u­larly thrilled to con­nect young women from all over the re­gion with our projects that will di­rectly ben­e­fit chil­dren and young peo­ple’s health and well-be­ing in Taranaki,’’ she said. ‘‘To have 33 young am­bas­sadors cham­pi­oning chil­dren and young peo­ple’s well-be­ing on our be­half, rais­ing money and com­mu­nity aware­ness is won­der­ful.’’

Ev­ery cent raised by the young women will go di­rectly to one of three projects that will ben­e­fit Taranaki chil­dren and young peo­ple’s health and well­be­ing.

The Open Minds Pro­ject sup­ports en­hance­ments to the Taranaki Base Hos­pi­tal’s men­tal health in-pa­tient unit, which has a spe­cial ado­les­cent area.

‘‘Se­condly, there’s a se­cret new well-be­ing pro­ject to be launched this year at Base Hos­pi­tal,’’ Kopu said.

From Hard­ship to Hope, is the third pro­ject. This sup­ports chil­dren, young peo­ple and their fam­i­lies when they are acutely un­well and need as­sis­tance.

The en­trants have also been rais­ing aware­ness of the projects and do­ing in­di­vid­ual fundrais­ing.

‘‘So, if you see these pos­i­tive young women in our com­mu­nity with their fundrais­ing buck­ets, please en­cour­age them and drop a coin in to make a dif­fer­ence to­day,’’ Kopu says.

First-year judge Valen­tine Fer­nan­des, who was Miss Taranaki in 2016 and is study­ing to be a nurse, knows first-hand how much sup­port is needed by fam­i­lies fac­ing health crises and youth fac­ing men­tal ill­ness.

Crowned Miss In­dia New Zealand last Septem­ber, she was the foun­da­tion’s en­trant into Dance Like No Other, to raise funds for the highly suc­cess­ful We Heart Taranaki cam­paign. The other two judges are Sam Ben­nett and Kushla Rosser, Miss Taranaki in 2003.

The char­ity to ben­e­fit last year was Gabby’s Star­lit Hope.

TAYLAH SMITH

Miss Taranaki 2017 Miss Taranaki was Jenna Bel­lve (right). She is seen with run­ner-up Cassy Woller.

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