Mary Virginia Tuinstra, Ms. Senior America 2002

 

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Ms. Senior America, Inc. Press Release

The 22nd Annual Ms. Senior America National Pageant was held at the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi on November 15, 2002, and Mary Virginia Tuinstra, Ms. Texas, was crowned Ms. Senior America. Ms. Tuinstra and her husband, Dr. Theodore J. Tuinstra, reside in Dallas, Texas and are the parents of 10 children and 22 grandchildren. Ms. Tuinstra is a professional performer at the Dallas Opera, and during the off-season serves as a volunteer for Dallas' interdenominational Feeding the Homeless program, responsible to pick up donated baked goods at 6:00 in the morning.
 

The Queen's Court includes: 1 st Runner Up: Babs Hawks, Ms. Arizona; 2nd Runner Up: Terri Stevens, Ms. New York; 3rd Runner Up: Aida Nydia Munoz Rivera, Ms. Puerto Rico; and 4th Runner Up: Klyda Hill-Mahoney, Ms. California. Contestants competed in four categories: Philosophy of Life, Interview, Talent and Evening Gown.
 

Winning the First Place Konze prize for volunteer service to children's organizations was Jayne M. Barker, Ms. Georgia, age 72, for her 6200 volunteer hours at the Gateway Cottage, a residential facility for women in substance abuse recovery and their children. Second place went to Carol La Fourcada Hightower, of Rancho Mirage, California for her work with "The Smile Factory," a mobile dental clinic for grade school children; third place went to Audrey Marshall, for her service to "House on the Hill," a San Jose, California program providing structured housing for children whose mothers are in substance abuse recovery. Now in its fifth year, the Konze Prize program has awarded Fifty Thousand Dollars to organizations served by these winners. Previous year's Konze Prize winners have included music and drama programs for incarcerated youth, children's lunch programs, infants' shelters and schools for the blind.

 

During National Pageant week, Senior America volunteers presented performances to the Gulf Coast Veteran's Health Core System, Loyalton Home, the Armed Forces Retirement Home and Keesler Air Force Base Medical Center as part of its mission to America's veterans.
 

The philosophy of Senior America, now in its 22nd year, is the belief that "seniors are the foundation of America and our most valuable treasure. It is upon their knowledge, experience and resources that the younger generation has the opportunity to build a better society." Members of Senior America volunteer in their neighborhood schools, houses of worship and community organizations. Pageant contestants continue to use their talents to bring cheer to patients in Veteran's and Children's Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Senior Centers and the Public Schools, with the support of members who write letters, plan functions, make costumes, build sets, provide transportation, operate audio equipment, and clean up afterward.
 

Originally founded to call attention to the plight of the elderly in the 70's Senior America now serves to harness the energy of this vital group in community service projects. Its general membership which was created in response to the call of President George W. Bush for senior volunteerism is open to all men and women (who need not be pageant contestants). For more information see . They can be contacted at: Evergreen Place, Loch Arbour, NJ,  07711. Their phone numbers are: 1-800-369-1369,  Fax 732-531-3303.

 

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