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Empowering Young Women With Disabilities: Miss Arc Broward Pageant Contestants To Shine On Stage This Month

May 9, 2024

A season of unforgettable and heartwarming experiences will culminate in an extraordinary moment in the spotlight for 15 young girls and teens with disabilities during the 11th Annual Miss Arc Broward Pageant, presented by Pediatric Associates, on Sunday, May 19th at 2:00 p.m. at The Parker in Fort Lauderdale.

“From our youngest contestant, six-year-old Kiely, to our most senior participant, 17-year-old Grace Ann, the contenders for this year’s Miss Arc Broward crown are doing more than vying for a title,” said Julie Price, CEO of Arc Broward, which works to ensure that people with disabilities thrive in their communities and are provided with life-changing opportunities to live, learn, work and play. “Our Miss Arc participants are sending a powerful message that individuals with disabilities deserve opportunities to shine.”

Designed to empower and encourage girls with disabilities, the Miss Arc Pageant provides a supportive environment and a series of opportunities through which contestants build confidence and lifelong friendships. Contestants pay nothing to participate and receive a variety of benefits, including an inclusive and welcoming environment, confidence building exercises, activities designed to foster lifelong friendships, professional headshots, swag bags and prizes, along with a transformative opportunity to showcase their abilities in front of a live audience.

This year’s contestants are: Hailey Acevedo, Age 15, Coral Springs; Halia Allen, Age 13, Hollywood; Zoe Burgess, Age 15, Coral Springs; Alyssa Custodio, Age 16, Coral Springs; Grace Ann Garland, Age 17, Hollywood; Madison Gerstein, Age nine, Hollywood; Mikayla Golka, Age 11, Parkland; Kayla Mills, Age 16, Hollywood; Nevaeh Myers, Age 15, Jupiter; Elizabeth Rivera, Age 12, Weston; Luciana Avella Rodriguez, Age 9, Pembroke Pines; Nola Schader, Age 15, Miramar; Alessandra Soto, Age 16, Hollywood; Kiely Vassar, Age 6, Fort Lauderdale; and Leila Yates, Age 13, Pembroke Pines.

Additionally, 20 teen ambassadors representing 11 high schools from across Broward County serve as advocates and are matched with contestants to help mentor them throughout the months-long pageant season that began in February.

Along with teen ambassadors, local community groups and individuals are encouraged to register to form cheering squads that will show their support from the audience for individual contestants on stage by holding signs, cheering and applauding. High school students who serve on a registered pageant cheering squad can earn service hours.

“While the Miss Arc Broward Pageant is, first and foremost, an opportunity for these young girls and teens to shine, it is also a wonderful occasion for the entire South Florida community, including families with children, to show their support and be inspired,” said Price.

The Miss Arc Broward Pageant is generously presented by Pediatric Associates and sponsored by: iHeart; The Palmer Family; UKG; Princess Cruises; Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital; Right Management; Aligned Solutions; Amarant; Holland and Knight; Strawberry Shortcake; Florida Girls Giving Back; SouthState Bank; Wild, Felice & Partners, P.A; Arc Works Business Advisory Council; Cheryl Higgins; Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC; Centennial Bank; Broward Health; Publix Super Market Charities; Sweet Peas; Special Needs Group; The Galleria Fort Lauderdale; AK Building Services; Special Education Advocacy; Black Law P.A.; Jeff Fauer and Henny Shomar; Heather Holt Photography; Casbah Spa; ECR Graphics; Conor Storch and Co.

On sale now, tickets to the family and sensory-friendly Miss Arc Broward Pageant are $18.75.

Arc Broward
Since 1956, Arc Broward has worked hand-in-hand with the community, changing how people with disabilities and other life challenges are embraced and included. This critical work ensures that people with disabilities not only live, learn, work, and play in their communities, but more importantly, thrive. Arc Broward operates at nine locations and provides 21 programs throughout Broward County, Florida. Arc Broward’s two social enterprises — Arc Educates and Arc Culinary — are groundbreaking efforts to transform the community by providing opportunities for people with disabilities and other life challenges to realize their full potential. To learn more about Arc Broward, please visit: - Or call: (954) 746-9400. Follow along on Social Media: @arcbroward.

The Parker is located at 707 Northeast 8th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304. For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit: - Or call: (954) 746-9400.

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