By Jessica Pratt
Glitz. Glamour. Beauty.
That’s solely what pageants are all about, right?
Not for Elena Dreisbach.
For this Oak Ridge High School sophomore, the Miss Teen California 2012 Pageant is not just a place to showcase beauty and good looks — it is an opportunity to give back, show compassion and make a difference in the world.
Elena Dreisbach, 14, is currently running for the title to represent El Dorado Hills as Miss Teen California 2012. The event will take place during the weekend of Jan. 6-8, 2012, at McCallum Theater in Palm Desert.
Dreisbach is fairly new to the pageant scene, as this will be her first time participating in a competition of this sort.
The idea to enter the pageant was sparked by Dreisbach’s mother, Verna, who found the organization through online research.
“I’ve always been interested in modeling and singing, but I never really thought about pageants until my mom said, ‘Oh, by the way, I went online and looked this up,’” said Elena. “I thought about it for a bit, but then I sort of came around and thought that this could actually be a really cool way to support my cause.”
The cause that Dreisbach is referring to is called “Be Change,” a non-profit organization created by El Dorado Hills resident Jason Harper that provides healthcare for impoverished students at local elementary schools.
“In Sacramento there are a lot of schools that are deprived and underprivileged, and a lot of the kids don’t get food over the weekends or after they come home from school,” said Elena. “So what [Harper] has done is raise money so that a lot of doctors can come in and give the kids medical and dental care. He also raised money to put together food bags.”
Elena has already helped contribute to this cause through her leadership class at school. The group has held several fundraisers, including food, clothing and spare change drives. The students also organized a dance where all of the proceeds went to the charity.
Due to her previous work with the non-profit, Elena chose this organization when she was asked to pick a charity to support through the pageant.
Aside from wanting to bring recognition and aid to the charity “Be Change,” Elena said she also wanted to participate in the pageant because of the opportunities and benefits it could give to her future job plans.
Although Elena loves acting, singing, and modeling, she plans to pursue a career as a neurosurgeon.
Even though there is not really a strong correlation between pageantry and neurology the competition is “something to get my name out there, and who knows… maybe it will jumpstart the other path that I want to take, which is singing, acting and modeling,” Elena said.
But her interests don’t end there. Elena also enjoys writing and community service.
Elena has been a Girl Scout since she was in kindergarten. During that time, she has earned her Bronze and Silver awards through extensive community service work: 40 service hours to earn her Bronze Award and 60 hours for the Silver.
Elena also interns with Girl Scouts as a Marketing and Communications intern for the organization’s “Hear and Now” magazine. She is in charge of interviewing Girl Scouts, writing articles about these girls and designing covers that highlight them.
This experience has been enjoyable for Elena, as she said she has always loved to write and has been involved in various writer’s organizations due to her mother’s literary publishing business.
Adding to her work in the community, Elena will also participate in Sunday’s second annual “Burger Smack Down” at Relish Burger Bar as a celebrity guest judge, joining El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Manning and El Dorado Hills Fire District officials at the judge’s table.
The event will be held Sept. 11 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the restaurant, 1000 White Rock Road in El Dorado Hills.
Lynn Repstad, director of marketing of the Montano de El Dorado Shopping Center, thought Elena would be the perfect person to choose as a judge.
“She is an excellent example to judge and to show other youth how to give their time,” said Repstad.
Fifteen percent of the proceeds from the “Burger Smack Down” will go to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of the El Dorado County Western Slope.
The community service work for Elena doesn’t end there. She will also take part in the Concours de Serrano on Sunday, Oct. 2.
At the event, Elena will present car awards to winners, talk to youth and continue to give back through volunteerism.
In addition to keeping up with her school work, internship and extensive community service, Elena has begun the extensive preparations for the pageant coming up in January, writing speeches, practicing interview questions, searching for sponsors and working on her physical fitness in hopes that all of her efforts will put her in the best possible place she can be.
Even though Elena is a little nervous about being on national television, she said she’s excited for the overall experience and all that it will bring.
“I’m looking forward to meeting all the other girls,” said Elena. “I’ve heard that’s always the best part … they are all trying to achieve something more, and it’s just really inspirational to see all that they do.”
To learn more about Elena Dreisbach and the competition visit her Facebook Fan Page entitled “Elena Dreisbach for Miss Teen California 2012” or take a look at sponsorthanks.com.