You need to know about Daviana Campbell and what she’s been up to.
Yes, she won Little Miss Flagler 2010 in the 8-to-11 age category, but that’s almost insignificant compared to what she’s been doing since, and what she intends to keep doing. Put it this way: she takes her crown very seriously, though Daviana would likely be doing this regardless.
- Daviana’s Little Miss Page
- Kiana’s Little Miss Page
- Flagler Harvests Poverty Warriors To Stalk Rising Hunger and Its Stigmas
- Census: Flagler’s Population Stalls at 91,600; 28% of Housing Units Vacant; Poverty Rising
Several weeks ago she teamed up with Kiana Merceron, who was also a Little Miss Flagler contestant, to put on a Halloween dance at the Flagler County Youth Center. A dance with a purpose: Participants have to donate either five cans of food or $5 to attend. The donations will be turned over to the Grace Tabernacle Food Pantry, a stone’s throw from the Youth Center, which serves hundreds of families every week—and those numbers are growing alarmingly, as foreclosures and joblessness throw more people into poverty.
“When I went to the food pantry and met the pastor,” Daviana said of her visit with Charles Silano, whose pantry on the property of Flagler Palm Coast High School serves about 800 people a month and distributes some 24,000 pounds of food a month. “There were lots of people who needed food there. It made me sad and happy to know that I could do something just by talking to people. When I spoke at Toastmaster, one of the women there was at the Palm Coast Business Network meeting. She brought food for me to give to the pantry. It made me feel really good inside to have the food to bring to the food pantry and it also made me realize that even us little people can help. The pastor and the people who help him were so happy, I can’t describe the feeling that I got in my belly. I want all the kids that come to the Dance to get that feeling inside. I think it changes you a little, it makes you grow up a little and appreciate things differently.”
To Register for the Dance:
- The Halloween Monster Bash takes place Friday, Oct. 29, at the roller rink in front of the Youth Center, on the campus of Flagler Palm Coast High School. You may still register by sending an email to [email protected]. Include your name, school and grade.
To drum up support for the dance, she sent out reams of letters soliciting support, she recorded a spot on WNZF, she went around town, looking for sponsors and pitching the idea to civic groups. She’s been quite successful: Marineland just gave her four tickets to its “Touch and Feel” experience with dolphins, to be given away as prizes at the dance. Coquina Lanes, the bowling alley, gave her several bowling passes. Businesses such as Palm Coast Ford, Tropical Kayak and the Palm Coast Business Network all put up cash adding up to about $500, which will help pay for the hotdogs and burgers served at the dance.
“I really worked hard, with my mom driving me all over town and I went several times to many places that said they would help,” Daviana said. That was 10 days ago. “If I can’t raise enough money to buy hotdogs, then I will empty my piggy bank. I want kids to know that once they start something they have to finish it. One thing I found out, was that the smaller businesses, the ones that are struggling, are the ones who were most willing to help.” It doesn’t look like she’ll have to go too much into her piggy bank, though knowing her she probably will anyway.
The Youth Center is lending its roller rink for the event, which will move to the Flagler Palm Coast High School cafeteria in case it rains.
There’ll be all sorts of contests at the dance—a dance contest, a hoolahoop contest, a pie-eating contest, to name a few, with the folks from the Mia Bella Dance Academy not only volunteering as judges, but also putting on a zombie dance to break the ice for everyone. There’ll also, of course, be a costume contest, with prizes for all winners.
Daviana, who’s given thought to every aspect of the event, prepared, printed and distributed 1,800 fliers announcing the dance, which is open to all 5th and 6th graders. (Actually, she had two versions of the flier.) She put a notice on the front page of the school district’s website. She advertised the dance everywhere she went. And she worked at it every day and half the nights for weeks, with her mother, Anne Marie Campbell. “We’ve been up until 2 o’clock in the morning for the past week,” he mother says. Lucky for Daviana, she’s homeschooled, which allows for scheduling flexibility, though no school could possibly give her the education she’s been getting on her own lately. As an autodidact, it hardly gets more studious than this.
And the response has been little short of exceptional: almost 200 fifth and sixth graders have registered for the dance, which takes place at the youth center’s roller rink this coming Friday, Oct. 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. They had to RSVP by phone or by email, so these aren’t hazy numbers. If half those numbers bring in $5, that’ll be another $500 for the food pantry. The food and the money will be delivered the Tuesday after the dance.
The reason it won’t be delivered sooner is because of Daviana’s other plan for Halloween: she’s gathering children volunteers to go trick or treating on Sunday, Oct. 31, in Palm Coast’s C section—not for candy and chocolate, not for things they’ll keep for themselves, but for canned goods. And she’ll turn over that trove to the pantry too.
“If I had a lot of money, I would give it away to everybody who needs it,” Daviana says.” My mom said as long as I have the spirit to give, then giving will be a part of my life.”
She’s not done: “I am going to try to start a network of kids who want to do good things in our community, even though we are young. I want to call it the Palm Coast Kids Network. The Flagler County Youth Center director, Cheryl Massaro, really inspired me, she was so positive and encouraged me every step of the way, along with my mother, who dragged me out of bed every morning to make the visits from one place to the next. It is a good thing I am homeschooled. I hope that I can lead this group as we grow up to be part of the youth center and follow in the steps of the high school students who help out at the Food Pantry several times each week.”
Daviana’s campaign in pictures (courtesy of the Campbell family):