Pageant celebrates lives of kids with special needs

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Shelley Mann at 770-963-9205 ext. 1305 or shelley.mann@gwinnettdailypost.com.

Thirteen-year-old Hayley Wilson's first special needs pageant was a rousing success.

More than 100 people attended the Special Mr. and Miss Gwinnett County Pageant on Dec. 10 in Lawrenceville, helping to raise $750 for the Gwinnett County Special Olympics. The pageant celebrated the lives of the 14 contestants - nine girls and five boys - all of whom have special needs. Hayley, reigning Miss Georgia Junior National Teenager, was frustrated by the small number of opportunities for her sister, Rachel, to compete in a pageant with her peers. Rachel has Down syndrome.

So Hayley decided to create her own pageant. She thought it would be unfair for Rachel to compete, but instead crowned her Special Gwinnett Ambassador and recognized her as the inspiration for the pageant. Each contestant left with no fewer than two trophies, and the new kings and queens will have opportunities during the year to ride in parades, lead parades at the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics and attend other pageants.

For more information, visit www.specialmrandmissgwinnettcounty.com.

Michaels' patrons donate afghans

Customers and staff at the Michael's store in Snellville recently donated afghans to the American Red Cross through its "Warm Up America" project.

Volunteers crocheted enough squares to make 11 large afghans, three baby afghans, a poncho and hats. For more information on the ongoing "Warm Up America" program, stop by Michael's and ask to speak with craft coordinator Marilyn Quick.

Cookbook to aid Ga. Junior League

The Junior League of Augusta, Georgia has released "Par 3 Tea-time at the Masters: Relaxed Entertaining Augusta, Georgia Style," the final in its cookbook series "Tea-Time at the Masters."

The newest book features 18 themed menus, complete with photographs, party tips and recipes for planning ahead. A foreword from Barbara Nicklaus and personal quotes from some golfing greats complete the package. The retail price is $21.95.

Proceeds from the sale of the cookbooks will fund the Junior League of Augusta, Georgia's, many projects, including the Arts Reading Program, Service Weekends and Week nights, Awards for Classroom Enrichment and Community Enabling Grants.

For more information or to purchase a copy of the book, call the Junior League office at 706-733-9098 or visit www.jlaugusta.org.