BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A dazzling beauty who studies Mass Communication at Southern University has enough derring-do for the rest of us. Jessica Carter is Miss Black East Baton Rouge Parish. She will represent Baton Rouge Metro area in the upcoming Miss Black Louisiana pageant in November.
She was crowned, not on a stage, but at her church with her pastor praying that her time as local queen will be used as a blessing for others. Carter had inquired about competing for the parish crown only to learn there were not enough contestants, and the pageant had been canceled.
Jessica was disappointed for a couple of weeks, and then she received a call from the EBR Pageant. Someone there had checked Jessica's social media pages and told her that she was a role model because of the positivity she exudes in her community work and attitude.
Carter was asked to qualify and did all the questionnaires and paperwork. She literally paved her own way to the crown. So by the time Pastor Melvin R. Rushing Jr. placed the tiara on her head at Progressive Baptist Church, Carter was already on her way.
Jessica had committed to something that strikes every teenager at one time or another. She wants to help kids learn how to handle stress.
Carter wants adults to understand how to address the stress in the lives of their teens. Carter chose teenage mental health and wellness as her platform for her pageant campaign.
"It's very, very close to me. Just growing up and going through high school, I had a lot of friends who struggled, just with issues they were going through in their personal life and it affected their performance in school.," Jessica says.
Carter feels some parents are not even aware of the toll stress may be taking on their kids. She said communication, just talking with a young person, is so important.
She has organized an event at the Louisiana Leadership Institute on Hooper Road. The event, "Pretty Girls Rock 2015," will gather about 200 young girls for self-esteem building and empowerment workshops. Jessica said she's lining up mental health counselors in case some of the kids need someone to talk to on-the-spot. And she is calling girls from all over.
"I have two groups from Natchitoches, La. coming down. Others are bringing girls from different churches. Since I attend Southern, I'll get girls from the campus and place flyers in local schools."
She said physical health is a must for mental health. Her event will also feature some fitness trainers with tips and also advice on eating better. Pretty Girls Rock 2015 is being held on October 3 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m..
Jessica could know something about stress. Just look at her activities! She's involved in dancing and cheerleading. She was vice president of the Louisiana Leadership Institute for two years. She's currently a dance coach for the XLR8 program.
"I teach the Pearl competition team. The XLR8 program has about 14 teams. These are community-based dance teams. We competed in Chicago last year! We've also competed in San Antonio and this year, our first competition is WSA in November at the Baton Rouge River Center."
The children are ages 4 to 6.
So as she's coaching 16 little girls and attending Southern University this fall, she is raising money via crowd-funding on GoFundMe.com and every way she can for her run for Miss Black Louisiana.
Carter wants the world to know how wonderful Baton Rouge is, how important it is for kids to learn how to handle stress and is hoping she hasn't come this far to fail to raise what's needed for that run for the state-wide competition. We wish her the Best!
As a footnote, she interned in the WAFB newsroom in the spring of 2013. It seems apparent that didn't hinder her at all!