A single aluminum pop tab isn’t worth much, but gather enough of them together and they become more valuable, just like an entire community of people rallying behind a cause.
Madison Bryant, 2018 Miss Spivey’s Corner, has made it her mission to recruit as many people as she can to collect pop tabs, so struggling families might benefit, and is using a state platform to spread her message.
The Sampson County Board of Commissioners recently recognized the achievements of Bryant and 2018 Miss Spivey’s Corner Outstanding Teen Carrie Stevens. They will be competing in the Miss North Carolina and Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen pageants this Saturday and Friday, respectively.
Bryant’s “What’s Poppin’?” platform supports the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Stevens’ “High-Five” platform encourages healthy habits for children.
“These two wonderful girls will be representing not only Spivey’s Corner, but Sampson County,” said Wayne Edwards, who works every year with pageant contestants from Spivey’s Corner, having been involved since it started in 1972.
Bryant is a native of Cumberland County, raised in downtown Fayetteville. She graduated from Terry Sanford and went on to attend UNC-Charlotte, where she is currently a senior and double major in psychology and sociology.
This semester, Bryant, who was crowned in February, has been going around Sampson County Schools promoting her “What’s Poppin’?” platform in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).
“Basically, I’ve created a pop tab war between the schools, and I’ve been talking to the students about how little things can make a very big difference,” said Bryant. “One of those little things is an aluminum pop tab. It is not significant — you throw them away every day — but when you put them together they become very valuable.”
The RMHC created the Pop Tab Collection Program, which allows communities to get involved in the organization’s everyday mission to care for the families of sick children. Bryant said it was when her cousin Carey fell ill in 2010 that her interest in RMHC began.
“I was inspired to look inside the four walls that these families became so passionate about and find what set this organization apart from all other organizations,” Bryant stated. “I was not only inspired by their motto ‘a house built by love,’ but by the passion that they have for funding every aspect of the house through various annual fundraisers and community challenges.”
As part of that nationwide mission, RMHC collects as many aluminum pop tabs as possible. Each year, they are able to generate $40,000 per house from recycling pop tabs, offsetting the organization’s cost in establishing a home.
Bryant said local students have supported the mission and it shows. Bryant attested to having a car that was constantly loaded with pop tabs that she, as a house operations volunteer and spokesperson for the Charlotte-based RMHC, can bring back to the group. Bryant has had the opportunity to speak to various groups and thousands of students and business professionals.
“I have worked very hard to motivate local businesses, schools and churches to get involved in a friendly competition of raising the most pop tabs in support of the RMHC,” she said.
She will continue on that mission.
“The Miss North Carolina crown has given women the power to promote a platform that they are passionate about. It would allow me the power to open connections between RMHC and (Children’s Miracle Network) and to fulfill my dream of seeing these two powerful organizations come together to the benefit of children and families all across the United States,” said Bryant.
Stevens, a self-described small-town girl from Smithfield, has a passion for dance and active living and has taken her message to her peers and younger students, encouraging them to keep track of the food they eat and focus on fitness while having fun.
She pointed to the current prevalence of childhood obesity in this country and said she believes, if children develop healthy habits at a young age, they will be healthier throughout their lives. Healthy food choices can be tasty and exercise can be fun, she said.
The “High-Five” addresses the five areas of fitness, nutrition, rest, commitment and fun.
“Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen has a great opportunity to be a positive role model for children in the community, the state and the nation,” Stevens stated. “My experience working with children in dance and other areas has given me the presentation skills to effectively encourage them to implement healthy habits into their lives. I look forward to using my High-Five platform to encourage kids to be healthy and grow into healthy adults.”
The Miss N.C. Outstanding Teen Pageant will take place this Friday, June 22. The Miss North Carolina Pageant will be televised live on ABC11 at 8 p.m. this Saturday, June 23.
“I’m excited, I’m ready and I couldn’t be more honored to represent Sampson County,” said Bryant.
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.