Many a pageant contestant has wished for world peace. While it may not be possible to save the world, it is possible to make life easier for certain segments, a fact Nicole Johnston knows well. On April 13 the 2013 Miss World Canada contestant held a gala to benefit Variety The Children’s Charity.
Held in Port Coquitlam, BC, The Glitz helped Johnston donate almost $5,000 to Variety.
Variety started in 1927 as a social club for men in the entertainment industry. When an infant was left in a theater owned by one of the members on Christmas Eve a year later, the club decided to underwrite her support and education. Word soon spread and club members grew as donations for the baby poured in, and Variety The Children’s Charity was born.
With chapters in 11 countries, Variety has raised $1.8 billion since its founding to help underprivileged and special needs children. The charity assists in many different ways, including funding medical care and equipment for children at home, in hospitals and around communities, providing mobility and communication devices, educational equipment and scholarships.
Since 1972 Miss World’s Beauty With a Purpose charity has raised hundreds of millions in donations for projects in over 100 countries. Along with Variety and other charities, they’ve also helped Cleft Palate Teams, Operation Hunger and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Johnston put the event together with the help of her mother and a few of her mother’s friends. The gala included entertainment, an auction, door prizes, and a full course dinner. Johnston says “everyone raved about the food,” which was all homemade from sauces to dessert. Her mom prepared a feast of over 10 items, including roast beef, candy salmon, sweet and sour meatballs, cabbage rolls, pasta and a Greek salad. Her aunt also lent a hand by baking several desserts for them.
The organizers were able to secure many auction and prize items. Among them were beer baskets, spa treatments, automotive services, dinners from a different restaurants, clothing gift certificates, hair products, barbeque items, and candle gift sets.
Johnston, who happens to be a professional, Las Vegas trained contortionist, wowed the crowd with a floor routine of bends and twists. Two of her friends also performed contortion routines, solo and in a duo, and there were also singers who entertained at the event.
Johnston, who believes social media and word of mouth worked best to promote her event, says that planning taught her a lot.
“It was a great experience that taught me time management, made me step out of my comfort zone, and learn that I could do [something like this],” she explains. Her advice for those planning a similar event is to “delegate some of the work so you have more time to sell tickets. The more people you have working on the event, the more successful it will be.”
Johnston’s next fundraiser will be for a trip to South Africa, where she’ll help build a school and participate in wildlife preservation.