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Prayer leads to pageant

Alyssa Paulsen of Latham was crowned Miss Illinois in the state round of the USA Ambassador Pageant while finishing up her sophomore year at Wheaton College in Chicago. She was attracted to the pageant because of its focus on community service, something that’s important to her.

Alyssa Paulsen of Latham was crowned Miss Illinois in the state round of the USA Ambassador Pageant while finishing up her sophomore year at Wheaton College in Chicago. She was attracted to the pageant because of its focus on community service, something that’s important to her. Submitted Photo

— And she won’t hesitate to share with them her own identity, which her newfound pageant path is helping her create.

“I’m a Christian, I have a relationship with God and he’s what’s given me my identity,” said Paulsen. “Knowing I have life after death and I’m worth something more than the shell that I live in.”

She’s also looking forward to satisfying the community service craving that got her into the pageant in the first place. So far, she’s participated in local charity events and volunteered at organizations in Illinois and the Capital District.

If she secures a national title, she’ll have even more opportunities to give back.

“Our national philanthropy is the Big Brother Big Sister organization,” said Thurston. “The girls participate in (charity events) throughout the country. We’re very excited to embrace pageantry in a positive way. Most people are not educated on the pageants that are out there that truly help their community.”

There’s one thing Paulsen will strive to do whether she wins or not.

“Life is so short … so just being able to dive into community service and put a smile on people’s faces,” said Paulsen. “It’s overlooked how much a smile does for people.”

For more information about the USA Ambassador Pageant, visit www.usaambassador.com.

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