This December, young women and men from across the St. Louis metropolitan region will have the opportunity to strut their stuff in the First Annual Gateway Beauties Metropolitan Pageant, sponsored by the F.L.O.W.E.R. Foundation. F.L.O.W.E.R. stands for Family Life Options with Environment Reform and its purpose is to lift the self-esteem and confidence of girls and women by improving their lives and the lives of their families. The non-profit organization offers several programs including mentoring, career coaching, financial planning, advocating against teen sex trafficking, domestic violence, gun control, gang violence, and neighborhood revitalization.
The F.L.O.W.E.R. Foundation was founded in 2011 by Toni Wells, a woman from the projects of East St. Louis, Illinois. Wells went from being homeless to owning her home and gives honor and praise to God for everything she has accomplished. Wells recently received her Degree in Human Services from Columbia College in September 2011 and plans to continue her studies and receive her master’s degree from a university next fall.
Contestants will be judged on beauty, poise, smile, talent, energy, attitude, personality, and stage presence. A Queen will be crowned in every age division and one King and one Prince will be crowned in the Little Master Division. The Ultimate King Supreme Winner will receive $250 Cash and the Ultimate Grand Supreme, having the most points overall in each style (Natural and Glitz), from the girls’ age divisions will be awarded $500 in cash or a scholarship. Areas of competition are beauty wear, talent, outfit of choice, and swimwear.
Contestants also have the opportunity to win prizes in the following optional categories:
- Most Beautiful–Crowned in each Style (Natural and Glitz) (2 Crowns)
- Best Dressed – Crowned in each Style (Natural and Glitz) (2 Crowns)
- Beautiful Hair – Crowned in each Style (Natural and Glitz) (2 Crowns)
- Most Talented – Crowned in each Style (Natural and Glitz) (2 Crowns)
- Prettiest Smile – Crowned in each Style (Natural and Glitz) (2 Crowns)
- Most Photogenic – Crowned in each Style (Natural and Glitz) (2 Crowns)
Age divisions are as followed:
- Little Master Division: 0-6 years old
- Tiny Tot: 0-2 years old
- Tiny Miss: 3-5 years old
- Little Miss: 6-9 years old
- Junior Miss: 10-12 years old
- Teen Miss: 13-16 years old
The contestants also sell ad space in the pageant program for any company or individual that would like to support the pageant. Each ¼ page is $25 and a full page ad is $100; sponsor tickets are available for $10 each. These tickets are not valid for admission but the names of the sponsors will appear on the program and contestants can vie for a trophy for the most sponsors.
Proceeds from the pageant are going towards assisting with the M.E.N.T.O.R.S. program. M.E.N.T.O.R.S. stands for “MEN Taking Over Reforming Society!” The program is designed to bring awareness to and abolish gang and street violence, innocent murders, and the ignorance of cultural deprivation by encouraging young men, and young women involved with F.L.O.W.E.R. Foundation, Inc., to follow a positive and rewarding path that is sufficient for obtaining and sustaining stability throughout life. The M.E.N.T.O.R.S. Program will match participants with professional M.E.N.T.O.R.S. in their own communities that they can shadow according to their aspirations. These mentors come from various backgrounds including barbers, dee-jays, music producers, truck drivers, police officers, fire fighters, surgical technicians, entrepreneurs, and many more.
Those involved with the M.E.N.T.O.R.S. Program are advocates for the families of murdered victims. Every year, the M.E.N.T.O.R.S program will hold a nationwide candlelight vigil to honor all those lives lost due to drugs, gangs, domestic violence, street violence, or cultural deprivation. During the vigil, the M.E.N.T.O.R.S. Program will be recruiting New M.E.N.T.O.R.S. for the program as well as new Participants for the New Year. This year’s event will be held at Wohl’s Community Center in St. Louis, MO on December 31, 2011. The M.E.N.T.O.R.S. Program encourages not shooting guns on New Years’ Eve in honor of all those who have lost their lives due to violence. So far, at least five cities committed so far: St. Louis, East St. Louis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. More sites are needed for this cause. The M.E.N.T.O.R.S. Program will record all sites and put film together for a public service announcement.
The F.L.O.W.E.R. Foundation, Inc. and the M.E.N.T.O.R.S. Program understand that many families are lacking life insurance. When tragic incidents occur, the families are often left with surmounting expenses that can put a strain on the surviving family members. Grants will be available for at least two families to assist them with their funeral or burial expenses. The amount will depend on funds available.
For more information on Ms. Toni Wells, the F.L.O.W.E.R. Foundation, Inc., or the M.E.N.T.O.R.S. Program please visit http://www.flowerfoundationinc.org.