This journey began when Seyenna Cavazos opened the doors for us. She opened the doors so that she could walk into our lives and so that we could walk out into hers.
Seyenna, who graduated from St. Joseph High School two days ago, has been with us for the past seven weeks as we have sponsored her campaign to become the next Elks Rodeo Queen. If you don't know about this campaign, you definitely haven't been in Santa Maria, because it truly is everywhere.
Seyenna came to us because of our programs Mission United and Home for Good, which work to provide permanent housing and supportive services for our most vulnerable local individuals and families, with an emphasis on those that are veterans.
Our experience on this campaign so far has been fantastic. We have been introduced to many incredible members of our community and to quite a few new ways to raise funds -- while keeping it fun.
A lot of the work we do is hard, tiring, and sometimes it feels as though we are chasing our tails, which could be said of all work. This campaign, however, has been novel, challenging, exciting, exhausting(!), and inspiring. It reminds us why we do what we do. It reminds us that we have a community behind, in front of, and surrounding us at all times. It reminds us whom we are working to help.
There are pictures like this and so much more on our Facebook and Instagram profiles, along with our official Rodeo Queen site at www.ElksRodeoQueen.com.
Also, here's this great video of Seyenna on her prom night. We had our Reverse Drawing that evening (with HUGE amounts of help from our friends at VTC), and this touching account of a very memorable night in her life came from it. This memory will certainly last Seyenna, her parents Stephanie and Eloy, her brother Elijah, and her entire family far further than this campaign.
While we're not done yet, it's becoming bittersweet. It has definitely been a challenging first Rodeo, but we are honing our Rodeo Queen skills and creating a great team for the future. Thank you to EVERYONE who has helped us so far, and we look forward to the next two days leading up to the rodeo!
Tickets still available at www.ElksRodeoQueen.com. Don't miss out. #LiveUnited.