YADKINVILLE — On Saturday, Southern Bride of Yadkinville and Miss Central Carolina 2016 Kali Whitaker presented Davie County Early College High School senior Marisol Ruano with more than just the perfect dress for her prom.
As a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Services for the past four years, Whitaker chose the organization for her platform as Miss Central Carolina. “It’s just amazing with a one-on-one match you can solve a lot of problems,” enthused Whitaker. “[My current Little Sister] is a 7-year-old who was having trouble focusing in school. We have done projects together where she has had to be really focused. Now she is doing better socially as well as scholastically.”
Because of her involvement with the Miss America Organization, Whitaker met Alana Miller and Vicki Hendrix at Southern Bride. Whitaker claims they “not only made sure I look wonderful, but support my work in the community and have truly become family.”
“After the Yadkinville Christmas Parade, Alana suggested I recommend two girls to receive prom dresses who were both exceptional and who might not receive a dress otherwise,” explained Whitaker. “I immediately reached out to match support specialist Jenna Hendricks at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Davie County, who had helped me organize the self-confidence workshop for young girls, where I met Marisol.”
Although at the time Whitaker did not realize it, Ruano had been a student at South Davie Middle School where her father had been principal. “At the workshop I was really inspired by [Ruano] who just beamed with positivity and determination. I remembered him talking about a strong female leader named Marisol at his school who persevered no matter the challenge,” expounded Whitaker. “It was also the story of Marisol and her family’s all-in approach to Big Brothers Big Sisters that inspired me to get involved with the organization to begin with.”
This made for the perfect recipient for the generosity of Southern Bride. “I chose [Ruano] to receive the gown because she has chosen to succeed against all odds,” raved Whitaker. “From being a middle-school aged Little [Sister] to a college-bound volunteer, she epitomizes the possibility of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and is a great example for young girls.”
“This is the most exciting day of my life,” gushed Ruano. “Everyone is so nice. I think it’s super generous.”
It also seemed serendipitous as one of the additional gifts presented was a gift certificate to Wicked Salon in Mocksville where Ruano normally gets her hair done. Although Whitaker’s father was unable to be present, he sent a personal letter for Ruano.
“We’re super excited to be able to do this,” said Miller, owner of Southern Bride.
“We are so happy to have Marisol here today at Southern Bride,” stated Hendrix. “Happy for the partnership we’ve had with Miss Central North Carolina and bringing these girls to our store to fulfill their dream of a beautiful prom.”
“Big Brothers Big Sisters are so thankful to Miss Central Carolina and Southern Bride for allowing one of our sweet Littles to come and have such a wonderful day picking out a prom dress to make her very special night extremely special,” affirmed Jenna Hendricks, program manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters Services for Forsyth and Davies Counties.
“I’m going to rock this prom,” exclaimed Ruano, as she enjoyed the enthusiasm of her audience while she tried on gowns.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.