In an effort to raise money for Free the Children and fast-track her way to the top 20, Miss Teen Ponoka County Ann-Marie Rogers-Cooper held a fashion luncheon fundraiser over the weekend.
Free the Children was founded by a 13-year-old boy and is the designated charity of Miss Teen Canada. “We’re able to fundraise for Free the Children and a charity of our choice. Free the Children was going to be mine anyway so it just worked out well.”
“I think that’s it’s great. It’s gotten all of us out in our community more and it’s for a good cause,” Rogers-Cooper added.
The pageant contestant who raises the most money is bounced into the top 20 of Miss Teen Canada. “The top 20 and Miss Teen Canada go on a mission trip every year. They go to a different place every year,” said Rogers-Cooper.
Each contestant fundraises on her own as part of the competition but the money is pooled together and given to the charity.
The girls are given six weeks to fundraise and Rogers-Cooper’s luncheon was hosted halfway through the time period. Once she decided on her event she had to contact the pageant and plan, that time also counted as a part of the six weeks.
Between her Grade 11 classes at Ponoka’s Composite High School and work, Rogers-Cooper is hoping she’ll have the time for more fundraising.
“I know a couple of the girls are at $3,000 for sure,” said Rogers-Cooper, who had her sights on surpassing that amount.
Despite the rainy weather that plagued Saturday, more people showed up than Rogers-Cooper had expected; there was close to 30 women and even one brave man. “I think people may have been, ‘let’s just go and show some support’,”.
The luncheon featured three fashion shows by Budget Bridal Boutique, the Bluffton Boutique and Steel Magnolias. Parklane Jewelry also had a table set up and catalogues for those in attendance.
A portion of every sale made at the luncheon also went to Free the Children and another portion is going to Rogers-Cooper for expenses arising for the Miss Teen Canada Worlds competition held every year in Toronto.
Rogers-Cooper’s close friend, Meagan Klinck, was also a model at the luncheon and says the pageant world has opened up her friend to the community.
The two girls met in January last year and became friends right away. “I somehow convinced her to switch all of her classes to mine and I barely knew her,” said Rogers-Cooper with a laugh.
“I think she’d become more involved. You can see a complete attitude change. We became best friends right away but now she’d communicating with everybody,” said Klinck.
“She phoned me one day and informed me she was doing a fundraiser fashion show and you’re in it. I don’t even think it was a question,” Klinck added.
Rogers-Cooper began competing in pageants almost three years ago. “I actually wouldn’t be here without my mom. She came home one day and said, you’re in a pageant”.
She initially rejected the idea because of the bad reputation pageants have through reality TV shows such as Toddlers and Tiaras. “But it’s not like that. Nobody’s throwing a temper tantrum.”