Sims is originally from Ithaca and placed second runner up in the Miss America Pageant in September. With a platform centered on hunger and homelessness, Sims spoke to students about the impact they can make in their own community.
“If you see a friend or peer who is struggling, or suffering from hunger, try to invite them for dinner,” the 23-year-old said. “We all know what it feels like to be hungry.”
She also suggested volunteering at local soup kitchens. Students at Sacred Heart are quite giving and help the need through donations to the parish’s pantry.
“A lot of people don’t have a place to sleep or a meal to eat,” Sims said. “Kindness is also about understanding and recognizing that people matter in this world.”
With an interest in nutrition, the Cornell University graduate spoke to the various grades about the importance of fruits and vegetables, Sims further encouraged students to try cooking and sampling new foods.
Along with communities in Upstate New York and throughout Tompkins County, Sims has worked in low-income communities in Brazil, Turkey and Ecuador. She believes in the importance of celebrating indigenous farming practices. Currently, Sims serves on the Tompkins County Food Policy Council as a Food Justice chair.
During her visit, Sims spoke to students about overcoming shyness through music. Sims eventually won the Miss New York competition with a jazz vocal.
During a Q&A session with students, she also shared that she is a world traveller who previously worked at Head Start, a city program that provides free child development activities and educational programs in the community for children ages 3 and 4 and for their families.
One of her favorite things about being Miss New York is getting the opportunity to meet new people. As a native of Upstate New York, visiting New York City allows her to experience diversity and meet people from all walks of life, Sims said.
By the end of her reign, she hopes to have done everything she could to make other people happy.
Her last advice to students was to be kind to both their friends and themselves.
“Once a week, find a friend that you see is a little sad and give them a hug,” Sims said. “Every morning when you wake up, say ‘I believe in me.’”