Born and raised in the Philippines, I immigrated to Canada at the age of 10. Growing up in our diverse country, it was important for me to showcase my culture to others. I have collaborated with organizations such as the Surrey Philippine Independence Day Society (SPIDS) and Circulo Pampagueno Association of BC in celebrating Filipino traditions throughout the years. I serve as their muse and have helped in raising monetary aid for earthquake victims in the Philippines. I am proud to be the first Miss Canada of Filipino heritage.
I am passionate about serving others and I always try to give back to my community through volunteering. I have worked with several non-profits in different capacities throughout the years. I was an intern at Vancouver Brain Injury Association where I developed a curriculum for social work practicum students and implemented an outreach initiative for people living with a brain injury. I also helped lead health and wellness programs for youth and seniors at my local Neighbourhood House. I have facilitated conversation circles for seniors whose English are their second language to help them practice speaking English. I have also volunteered at a senior’s home, a daycare for refugee children, and the crisis line. Turning my passions into purpose, I pursued a career in the helping field.
While earning my Bachelor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia, I worked with children with special needs and high-risk behaviours as a residential child and youth worker. I helped children in care to develop life skills and healthy coping mechanisms and ensured their safety and wellbeing. This challenging work inspired me to continue working with individuals with diverse abilities upon graduation. Presently, I am a Facilitator at Community Living BC and work with adults with developmental disabilities, FASD and autism. I help individuals find housing, employment, community inclusion programs and other supports, as well as connecting them to their communities. I also support families undergoing transitions and/or changes in their lives. I am trained to perform counselling and have experience utilizing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing and suicide risk assessments. I hope to obtain a Masters of Social Work with a clinical specialization to help people with multiple diagnoses.
Outside of my career, I continue to be very active in my community. I have been granted over $10,000 worth of funding towards charities and non-profits that I liaise and work with. Currently I am the Ambassador of Ability for the BC Centre For Ability, and I help raise money for essential programs for children with special needs. I am also a Youth Leader with Special Olympics and recently launched my “Spread The Word: Inclusion” campaign, where I teach children and youth to use inclusive words and actions and promote respect and acceptance for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I have been nominated the award of “Top 25 under 25” in recognition of my efforts in building inclusive communities. As Miss Canada, I will bring this campaign nationwide and travel across the provinces using my platform to raise my advocacy of diversity and inclusion.