Manasquan, NJ… On Saturday July 19th, the Weston Gallery, very happy place to visit, will host a meet and greet event with Valentina Sanchez, Miss NJ Teen USA 2014 from 12 – 6pm with her official Miss NJ Teen USA 2014 Send-Off Party taking place from 4 – 6pm at the Gallery. Both events are open to the public. The Send-Off Partywill celebrate Valentina’s quest for the Crown representing New Jersey and her departure on July 29th for the Bahamas where the Miss Teen USA 2014 pageant will be held on August 2nd. Valentina, an artist and recipient of the 2014 Weston Gallery Art Scholarship, will sell her handmade bracelets and artwork to raise funds for her pageant expenses. Supporters will be able to meet Valentina and receive a signed photograph as well as have their photograph taken with her. “We want to host the Send-Off Party for Valentina, as she is a wonderful artist and her mental health platform is so very important. Please join us on Saturday and show your support for Valentina,” Kathy Weston said.
Valentina recently graduated from Manasquan High School and chose her mental health platform because it is an issue that is very personal to her. She has stated, “I want to show people that are struggling with depression, that they are not alone. There are many ways to stop their pain and suicide is not the answer. I hope that I will win the Miss Teen USA 2014 pageant so that I can continue to bring awareness to this very important issue. It’s about my story and helping others.”
Valentina has partnered with MHA to launch the “My Happy Place” social media campaign. Friends and fans from all over New Jersey are encouraged to share with MHA and Valentina a photo of a place that makes them happy. The campaign is active throughout the summer on MHA’s social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter.) It features fan interaction through follower postings with a common hashtag (#mynjhappyplace) and by tagging photos with @thementalhealthassociationofmonmouthcounty. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and wellness through a positive perspective on life.
Valentina was recently honored at MHA’s Annual Dinner with the Monarch Award. Each year this award is given to a young person who has persevered and overcome obstacles in his or her life. She is also a volunteer and teen spokesperson for MHA. “We are grateful and proud to have Valentina as an honoree, volunteer and teen spokesperson. Through her pageant platform and the “My Happy Place”social media campaign, she is creating awareness about mental health and wellness. There is a need to focus on prevention efforts when it comes to mental illness and this can be accomplished through early identification of symptoms and intervention of problems before they become unmanageable. Valentina’s efforts can help us in this regard,” said Wendy DePedro, Executive Director.
MHA will be accepting donations on behalf of Valentina to help her with pageant expenses. For more information about the Send-Off Party or to get involved, please visit www.mentalhealthmonmouth.orgor call 732-542-6422 x108.
Donations for Valentina can be made via the MHA website or by mail: The Mental Health Association of Monmouth County, 119 Avenue at the Common, Shrewsbury, NJ 07702.