CROWNING GLORY: Pageants teach lessons in community giving
Published 12:11 am Saturday, July 11, 2015
LAPLACE — While some beauty pageants are solely focused on glitz and glamour, the Angotti girls of LaPlace are proving pageants can be about something else entirely — giving.
Bella Grace, 2, and Berkley Grace Angotti, 7 months, the daughters of John and Jamie Angotti, competed in June’s Miss United States Agriculture Pageant in Alabama. Both girls brought back national titles to their home state, but their parents say the reason they choose to involve their daughters in pageants has less to do with titles and accolades and more to do with lessons learned in the process.
Bella first participated in a pageant when she was 6 months old, and Jamie said the contest raised money for a good cause and benefited a parade of charities.
“We enjoyed it,” Jamie said. “It was a great family friendly environment.”
From there they found Miss Heart of the USA, and at 10 months old Bella participated in and won that contest, where she raised funds and collected food for parish food banks.
“It’s all about inner beauty and community service,” Jamie said. “I fell in love with the Miss Heart program so much I became a director.”
The newly-formed Agriculture pageant is a spin-off of Heart of the USA, Jamie said, and aims to get families involved in more community service related to agricultural areas.
Berkley is the new 2015 National Baby Miss United States Agriculture Queen and Bella is the new 2015 Louisiana State Tiny Miss United States Agriculture Queen after their wins last month, and Jamie said they will continue to participate in pageants as the year progresses.
John said the pageants help facilitate lessons of generosity and responsibility in their daughters, who he said will grow up knowing the importance of helping others.
“You know that saying, ‘discipline begins in the high chair?’” Jamie said. “Well, so does community service.”
Jamie said she, John and their daughters have raised money and donated items to homeless veterans and more recently Texas flood victims, adding on Christmas Eve they have made it a practice to feed homeless people in New Orleans.
Collecting coats, blankets, winter and even summer gear and supplies for the less fortunate are also on the list of activities for the family, as is donating old towels and blankets to the Animal Shelter.
John said the family provides Christmas gifts for the NICU unit at Ochsner, and makes it a practice to buy food each week at the grocery store to donate.
“We want our children to be exposed to every aspect of life,” Jamie said. “We want to teach them you don’t do for others to receive anything back and if you’re in a position to help, do it.”
Jamie is now organizing the Sept. 12 Miss Heart of the River Region Pageant that will be held at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Luling, where she said all food collected will benefit River Region food banks.
She hopes to teach her children “you earn everything you want in life, and you achieve great things by doing.”
For more information on the pageants, visit missunitedstatesagriculture.com/Louisiana and missheartoftheus.com/Louisiana.
To find out more information on how to donate to the food drives, call Jamie at 985-212-4453.