Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DC's Dancing Stars Gala

This past weekend, October 25th, 2014, I had the privilege of competing in the DC's Dancing Stars Gala, an event which benefited several local charity organizations, including my own Girls Health Ed!

After 3 long months of practice at Fred Astaire Dance Studio learning the waltz, I was finally ready to compete against DC-area public figures, such as Andrea Roane, WUSA9 news anchor, friend Lamont Easter, House of Cards actor, Rina Shah of PBS, Evelyn Smallwood of Ted Britt Ford, and my pageant sister Antoinette Cordova, America's Miss DC 2013.

I couldn't have asked for a better experience. So many of my friends and team members came out to support, voted online and helped to spread the word! I am so grateful to each and every one of you, especially to those who traveled from afar to see my performance and support Girls Health Ed. 

The night itself couldn't have gone any better! Celebrity judges were Chris Bukowski from the hit TV show, the Bachelorette, Jonathan Roberts of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, and Washington Redskins player Gary Clark. Even though I didn't win the overall competition, my dance partner Jason and I received pretty high scores from each! See our faces below: 

I also loved my competition gown courtesy of Encore Ballroom Couture!

If you missed the event, here are a few photos that captured my waltz routine pretty well: 

THANK YOU to everyone who helped to make this event a success! We raised over $150,000 and could not be more overwhelmed with gratitude! 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Hot Pink Celebration: Girls Health Ed.'s 1 Year Anniversary Shindig

Dear Friends,

Happy new year! As many of you know, I took a huge leap of faith last year and started my own charity to provide health education services to girls ages 8-17 in urban underserved areas. Now, we are turning one year old and I would be honored if you would help us celebrate this milestone and raise funds for our programs. 

This event will be absolutely crucial in making sure we are able to continue providing health education classes, educational materials and workshops for underprivileged girls in the inner-city. Your attendance will also help us reach our goal, which is to serve 1,000 girls in 2014!

Come out to sip and mingle with philanthropists and professionals and help us celebrate our one year milestone and the accomplishment of having served hundreds of girls and having raised awareness on an international scale for girls health issues. 

About Girls Health Ed.:

Girls Health Ed. began as a volunteer effort. Sarah Hillware, former America’s Miss District of Columbia, began visiting schools (public, private, charter and religious) in the DC area during her reign to promote her platform on health education. She collaborated with other established health advocacy organizations, and handed out information pamphlets catered to kids (grades K-12) and parents. She used the tools provided to give scientifically-based talks to students and teachers. After each talk, she received great feedback from teachers and administrators and was always asked to come back. She recognized a need in the DC area for basic education on daily health habits. After 5 months of regular visits to schools, she decided to take it a step further and envisioned creating a project that would be sustained long-term and would cover a wide spectrum of health issues, including overall health and well-being for girls on topics focusing on nutrition, body image, physical fitness, personal care and reproductive health. Girls Health Ed. has now grown to include 10 school affiliates and community centers, and seeks to educate girls 8-17 to help them make healthy, informed choices throughout their lives by bringing local health professionals from relevant fields to teach seminars in metro area schools, and beyond. It is different from other health-related organizations that serve young women because instead of zeroing in on one particular aspect of a healthy lifestyle, we realize that true health comes from equal emphasis on multiple aspects.

For more information, please visit us online:
Twitter & Instagram: @GirlsHealthED


A special thanks to JBC Events, St. Regis Hotel, You Successful You, Fitness Together Central Georgetown, Dolci Gelati, Salon Leau, Fusion Video, Charm Georgetown, Stella & Dot, Age Smart by Mirka, and DC Magazine for your help in making this event a success.

Special Guests:
Antoinette Cordova, America's Miss District of Columbia 2013
Meagan Barnes, Mrs. DC America 2013
Candiace Dillard, Miss United States 2013

Thank you for your support and love! Empower girls, empower a community, and change the world! 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Speaking at the United Nations Headquarters

Last month, I had the honor and privilege of speaking at TEDx United Nations Plaza, an innovative conference which invited visionaries, activists, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders from around the world to share their ideas on global issues including women's empowerment, environmental awareness, philanthropy, medicine, technology, education and more. 

I'd been preparing for six weeks before taking the stage! Below, I am pictured at the tech rehearsal in the United Nations ECOSOC building the day before the event. It was quite nerve-racking knowing that I wouldn't have a podium or teleprompter. I would simply have to speak from the heart. It was a challenge that both moved and inspired me to do my best. 

Here is a photo I took when I first entered the room. I was overwhelmed with enthusiasm that came from the knowledge that well-known and respected world leaders had also gathered in this very same room and had taken the same stage I would soon take.


Following a 3-hour long tech rehearsal that morning, some videographers and bloggers pulled me aside for an interview to promote the event. I was asked to define, "bravery," which made for an interesting and insightful discussion. You may view the final version here on YouTube:

Then, directly after, it was time for my video interview and photo shoot with NYC's bSmart Guide, an online magazine which highlights inspirational women. Below, is a behind the scenes photo we took during the video portion. I had a great time sharing my story and my passions! 

 That night, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning fine-tuning my speech. I was too anxious to sleep much! 

Then, before I knew it, it was time for the big day! Below, is a screenshot that a friend of mine took while she was watching my talk remotely through the UN webcast. I was thrilled to find out that family and friends tuned in from all over the world. I even saw some familiar faces in the audience.

During my talk, I wasn't anxious or nervous at all. The audience gave me the energy I needed to speak from the heart and fearlessly share my ideas on global girls health education. I was inspired and indeed felt brave.

To watch my talk, entitled "Harnessing the Power of Girls" please click here.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Girls Health Ed. Rooftop Fundraiser A Success!

Eight months ago, I announced the launch of Girls Health Ed., and just two weeks ago, we had our first official fundraiser, Let's Luau, hosted by local philanthropic group, Sip With Socialites!

The Hawaiian luau theme fit very well with our logo colors, hot pink and orange. It was great to see everyone in their best and brightest colors, raising funds and awareness for girls' health education! The community support was just amazing!

We are so proud to be able to say that Let's Luau‬ was a success! Thank you‬ Sip With Socialites, The Graham Hotel DC and all sponsors! Thanks also to Guest of a Guest DC, Kipp Burgoyne and to the Washington Post for covering the event! 

Click here to read the online article!
Some of the GHE team is pictured here along with members of Sip With Socialites and some attendees/supporters of our program:

 Here, I am pictured with the some of the gorgeous and charitable ladies of Sip With Socialites:

Toward the end of the event, we had a raffle. Here, I am pictured congratulating the lucky winners:

Below, pictured with dynamic women friends:

Together, we raised $1500 total!!! Funds raised will go to purchase educational materials for the girls in our program.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

May & June 2013: Life's Adventures

These past couple of months have been packed with big occurrences! I had the honor of being nominated to serve as a delegate to the G8 Young Summit in London in mid-May, and met the some of the most driven, dynamic, successful and innovative young professionals! We brainstormed and debated and ended up drafting a final communiqué on youth issues to send to the UN. 

Then, a few days after I made it back to the United States, I graduated from The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs with a degree concentration in global public health!

My family and friends came to see my walk across stage. I was surrounded with love and overwhelmed with feelings of achievement and most of all, gratitude. 

But, even though I'd graduated, I knew I still had work to do! There was no time to relax! My organization, Girls Health Ed. had our big launch event, Fusion de Filantropia coming up, which required a lot of planning and promotion to ensure success! We partnered with Fitness Together of Central Georgetown and at the end, with the help of community partners and sponsors, pulled off an incredible evening celebrating philanthropy! Thank you to ALL those involved! 

More adventures are just around the corner! 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Winning the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award - A Lifetime of Service

Last Thursday, I received the honor of a lifetime and could not be more grateful. I was presented with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, which represents many things, including service, leadership, scholarship, and ethics. A few months ago, I found out I was nominated along with 30-40 others, which was a great honor in itself to have even been considered for such a prestigious award. Since it's inception about three decades ago, this award has been given to men and women who have dedicated their lives to service who exemplify Dr. King's legacy.

As Miss DC, I worked to educate young people about their health, to empower low-income communities and to inspire others to get involved in philanthropic efforts. I am proud to say that I am continuing this journey after the crown and will never forget that my purpose is to serve others. 

In thankfulness, 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meeting the President and First Lady

Look what finally arrived in the mail! Last month, I had the honor and privilege of meeting the President and First Lady at the White House and I received the official photo today. The photographer unfortunately was not able to capture my embrace with First Lady Michelle Obama, but I am pictured with President Barack Obama below. Such great memories from my year as America's Miss DC!