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A new nonprofit aimed at recognizing young women for their volunteer spirit will hold its first-ever statewide pageant next week at Wallace State Community College.

The Miss Alabama Volunteer Pageant will hold its inaugural pageant event next weekend at the Betty Leeth Haynes Theatre on the WSCC campus. The two-day event will feature a preliminary competition on Saturday, Jan. 22; followed on Sunday, Jan. 23 by the final round. The pair of winners — one from each of the pageant’s two age-based divisions — will go on to compete in the inaugural Miss Volunteer America pageant in Jackson, Tennessee in late April.

Though the organization behind the pageant is new, its goals are to shine a light on the volunteer efforts of young women in Alabama and more than 40 other participating states.

“The idea behind it is to is promote voluntarism and community involvement,” explained state pageant president and executive director Sammy Akridge.

“It really celebrates not only what the contestants give back tho their local communities, but we’re also doing a segment where we will make it an every-year thing to recognize local volunteers in different communities throughout the state of Alabama.”

There are 27 contestants slated to appear in next weekend’s pageant, and they range in ages from 13-26 and come from all across Alabama — including Cullman County, which is fielding 2021 Fair Queen Abby Sosa in the Teen division.

In addition to weighing each entrant’s volunteer platform, the pageant also is judged based on an interview, fitness and wellness, talent, and an evening gown competition. “Each contestant does have to have a community service platform that they are actively working on,” Akridge said.

“We are about celebrating our contestants and providing alternatives for them that may not otherwise be available,” he added. “We are awarding more than $20,000 in cash scholarships to contestants who will be participating.

“Another neat thing that we are doing in our inaugural year is a people’s choice voting option. Each contestant can have supporters go online and vote on their behalf. Each vote costs $1, and winners selected through online voting will have the opportunity to compete as a finalist in their division in the main pageant.

For more information about the pageant, as well as to learn more about people’s choice voting, visit the organization’s website at www.missalabamavolunteer.net. Tickets for the event can be purchased at the door or online at purplepass.com (entter “Miss Alabama Volunteer Pageant” in the search field.)

The pageant’s preliminary round begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22; while the final round begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 23.

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