Pageantry isn't just about the tiaras. The Exceptional Pageant Long Island strives to provide this approach to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. This pageantry is a unique approach to empowerment and self-value!  Since 2012, The Exceptional Pageant has provided individuals from  Long Island, NY, with the opportunity to build life skills while creating valuable friendships. The Exceptional Pageant Experience was held this year on Saturday, October 1, at True North Community Church in Bohemia, NY.

In October, Katie, Class of 2023, had the pleasure of volunteering at the Exceptional Pageant Long Island. This pageant honors and empowers individuals with different abilities. At this pageant, special needs individuals can show who they are, their passions, and their special skills and talk about what makes them unique. She was a buddy, which meant she helped the contestants get ready and got to know them. Being a buddy at the Exceptional Pageant was a significant experience for her. She talked with and got to know the contestants and was assigned to help with some contestants. She was on toddler duty, so she helped the mothers and caretakers of the little girls to get their kids ready. 
The main contestant she was helping, Evie, was approximately four years old. She was so sweet and nonverbal that day, so Katie had to learn to anticipate what she needed and liked. She is an excellent dancer and especially loves to twirl! She also helped with two other children. All of them had amazing talents! And all three won at least one of the available awards for their age group! Katie loved working with the little contestants and would love to do more things like this in the future! Volunteering there was a fantastic experience; she shared that she would do it again in a flash!