Woodhaven will be represented at the pageant by 21-year old Nalicia Ramdyal, who will be competing in her very first contest. The Miss New York USA organization has been scouting Ramdyal for a few years, but she hadn’t felt the time was right for her until now.
“I’m very proud to be representing Woodhaven as a state finalist for the Miss New York USA 2014 competition,” she said.
Indeed, Ramdyal is a true child of Woodhaven, having attended PS 97, PS 60, IS 210 and finally Franklin K. Lane. “Growing up in Woodhaven has always made me feel safe,” she said. “I love the area.”
Each contestant is required to have a platform, an area of interest that they can speak authoritatively on, and would be expected to be an advocate for should they reach the national pageant later this year. A thoughtful young woman, Ramdyal has chosen as her platform a very serious problem.
“I do have many other platforms I will be focusing on should I become the new Miss New York USA, but as of right now my main focus is on domestic violence,” she said.
“My passion for speaking out on domestic violence all started when I was a high school student at Franklin K. Lane,” continued Ramdyal. “It was very hurtful to see teenagers that were in my age group go through this. Many students had after-school activities such as playing basketball, dancing, and volleyball and so on, but mine was being with a social worker and a counselor who I had a very close relationship with and talking about domestic violence and relationship issues.
“Throughout my high school years, I gathered so much information about domestic violence,” she said. “I’m glad to say that my high school years have passed me by and I’m still interested in fighting domestic violence.”
Ramdyal has also visited shelters and spoken to hotline workers.
“My advice to anyone who has been affected by domestic violence is that you shouldn't be afraid to go out there and get help,” she says.
One of the reasons she felt this was an important platform to focus on was so that people who are experiencing it will not feel alone.
“To anyone out there who is experiencing domestic violence, you may think you’re alone, but you’re not,” Ramdyal said. “There are so many individuals who go through these issues. Not only are women victims of domestic violence, but men are also. And there are many types of domestic violence, such as physical, verbal, and financial. Sadly, it’s far too common.”
Ramdyal has a bright future - she plans to go into nursing and would love to serve as a midwife - and we wish her well on her journey. She has many friends and family that will be rooting for her, and now she has the entire community of Woodhaven at her back.
If you would like to learn more about her, and see how she fares in the pageant later this month, you can visit her on Facebook (search for “naliciaramdyal2014”).
On a final note, in future columns I would like to focus more attention on the people within our community that deserve it. Sometimes there are people out there that are doing something special that we’re not aware of. If you know someone that would make a good subject for a column, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.