Friday, May 21, 2021

Arcadia Ewell Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Arcadia Ewell is passionate about the learning to love, a talented author, and the current 
Miss Worcester County. I was thrilled that she was willing to visit with us to discuss those topics, and a few more.

So, let's see what happens when Arcadia Ewell visits Section 36! 

How did you celebrate winning the Miss Worcester County crown?
The first thing I did was go out to a celebratory dinner with my mother. Afterwards it was pretty much straight to work though. The next few days included a meeting with my new director, a visit to the Miss Middlesex competition, the establishment of my new titleholder account (@missworcesterco) and the beginning of conversations with non-profits in Worcester County to start new partnerships. It definitely was a very busy few days after crowning!

After taking a break from competing, what made you decide to compete for the Miss Worcester County crown? 
I've known since I was a little girl that I wanted the opportunity to serve my state and the Miss America organization. After I graduated from undergrad though, it was important for me to focus on my career and preparing to apply for graduate school. That break was an important time for me to learn about MAO from a volunteers perspective and really think critically about the type of titleholder that I wanted to be. So, after taking three years off to continue developing my network and social impact initiative, and after successfully settling into my Ph.D. program, it was the perfect time to return to MAO for one last year of service before I age out.

Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Worcester County?
I have lots of goals I'd like to accomplish! I certainly have a lot of plans with my social impact initiative and plans for connecting with my community. One big goal is to grow my local organization though. The Miss Worcester County org has really welcomed me into the family and I truly believe part of the job description of a titleholder is to build up the program that has given you so much. I hope to start building a network and community in Worcester so that the next Miss Worcester County has a wealth of opportunity and resources at her disposal.

How did you select your social impact initiative, “Learning to Love”?
I like to say my social impact initiative really chose me. When I
was fourteen, I was asked out on a date by one of my classmates and I politely declined. Afterwards, he started disruptively giving me attention in class, following me throughout the hallways in class, and even followed me to my bus each day. He also was harassing my friends and I online. At the time I didn't think much of the behavior and brushed it off as a normal reaction to having hurt feelings. Luckily the behavior stopped after my mom contacted the school counselor, but as I started studying psychology as an adult I realized how problematic it was that at the time I didn't think there was anything wrong with his actions. In fact, that behavior was incredibly unhealthy and fits the definition of stalking, a form of dating violence.

I firmly believe that no one should be accepting unhealthy and abusive behavior because they haven't been properly educated to identify those warning signs and that became the motivation behind starting Learning to Love. Now, I try to prevent dating violence before it starts by providing children, teens, and adults with evidence-based educational information on healthy relationships, forms of abuse, ways to seek help, and so much more. Over quarantine, the Learning to Love website, instagram, and twitter were all launched and I'm thrilled to continue to grow them over the next year as Miss Worcester County. 

You’re the author of the book “Katie Kitty Wants a Hug”. What was the experience like to bring that to fruition?
Photo by Steve Smith Photography
I am so unbelievably proud of this book. I started working with my social impact initiative around six years ago and I often faced the critique that dating violence can't be talked about with children. As a developmental psychologist (in training), I couldn't disagree more! Kids are capable of understanding LOTS of intense topics if we as adults scaffold information down in a developmentally appropriate way. So, I set about creating this book as a tool in my kit when working with my social impact initiative.

"Katie Kitty Wants a Hug" tells the story of a little kitten out for a walk with her mom. She sees lots of fun things she wants to go and do but her mother constantly reminds her that she always needs to ask permission before playing with others or using their things. At the end of the book, Katie Kitty asks her mother for a hug before saying goodnight, demonstrating that she has learned an important lesson about bodily autonomy and consent.

Having this book has been very special. On my instagram I like to track Katie Kitty's travels. Katie Kitty has even made it all the way to China during some of my work as an ESL teacher.

You also wrote the one act play “Breathe”. What can you tell me about it?
"Breathe" is something very close to my heart. As a teen, I lost one of my friends to suicide, unfortunately. This was particularly challenging both because of that specific loss and also because it was my first real experience with suicide. I spent a while struggling through grief and anger, and as a writer I let those feelings out in the best way I knew how - through the creation of a one-act play. I had the honor of actually directing the play for a performance in which all proceeds were donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "Breathe" went on to win numerous awards from the International Thespian Festival, make headlines from multiple news channels, and be performed internationally by multiple different theatre programs. I am always amazed to see the impact the show has gone on to have.
Photo by Steve Smith Photography

At Miss Massachusetts I will actually be performing a monologue from the show for my talent. I've been working hard to really capture the grieving process within 90 seconds and am excited to get the chance to highlight my talents as both an author and an actress.

If you could be a Disney character for a week, who would you choose? Why?
Belle is probably the Disney character I relate to most! I'm a total bookworm myself and I love how independent and strong she is.

If you had an extra ticket to a WooSox game, who would you take with you? Why?
My best friend unfortunately lives in Maryland so we don't get to see each other too much but she's a HUGE baseball fan so a WooSox game would be the perfect reason to schedule a visit!

Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?
My director and I recently talked about potentially trying to sing the national anthem at a baseball game so that would definitely be something super cool to get to do! More simply though, I'm convinced that hot dogs just taste better at the ballpark. I haven't been able to get to a baseball since quarantine started so I'm definitely looking forward to my next chance to stock up on hot dogs and popcorn to munch on while I cheer on my team. 


That would definitely be a great opportunity!

As always, I want to thank Arcadia for visiting with us, and for sending along the pictures to go with the interview.

As Arcadia continues her time as Miss Worcester County, I encourage you to follow her on her Facebook and Instagram accounts. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on! 

I also absolutely want to wish her the best of luck when she competes for the Miss Massachusetts title. It would be wonderful to have another Section 36 visitor wear that crown!
Thanks again Arcadia, and good luck!

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