Young women today have endless opportunities, but feeling confident enough to go after them is a different story all together. When I first expressed I had an interest in pageants, my parents said absolutely not. They feared like so many other parents that it would ruin my self esteem. Their thoughts were if I were exposed to being judged by opinions, it could negatively effect me as a person. After being introduced to the Miss America Organization my parents quickly changed their minds and I'm so thankful for that!!! The Miss America and Miss Virginia Organizations have been teaching, strengthening and empowering me for over three years now. Through their training programs and pageants I have developed a sense of confidence that allows me to be a leader in school and my community. Without the guidance and encouragement of the countless volunteers that work for the Miss America Organization many young women today would not have the confidence to go after their dreams, succeed in higher education, or be successful business leaders of nationally known companies. I believe that the core values of the MAO (Miss America's Outstanding Teen) is the enrichment of each young woman that graces their stage or participates in one of their many training programs. I know my life has forever been transformed positively by being apart of an elite sisterhood that promotes and celebrates the success of women. I will always be grateful for the opportunities that the Miss America and Miss Virginia Organizations have given me. I'm confident in my future because I know the possibilities are endless!!