September 30, 2010

NAM Miss California at Childhelp in Beaumont

Teen uses talent, fame to help out at Childhelp in Beaumont

By DIANE A. RHODES
SpeCial to The Press-Enterprise

Taylor Longbrake puts her fame to good use. The reigning Miss California Pre-Teen for the National American Miss organization became a Celebrity Youth Ambassador for the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village in Beaumont a few years ago.

"It means so much to the children here that Taylor comes to visit and donates her time to be with them," said Jennifer Celise-Reyes, the village's Outreach Manager-California Programs. "She makes them feel special and loved. They look forward to seeing her throughout the year."

Childhelp was founded in 1959 by Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson for the prevention and treatment of child abuse. A national organization, it offers many different services for children including the village's residential child care facility in Beaumont.

Taylor got involved with Childhelp as a result of her performances at Angels' games, where some of the organization's representatives heard her sing.

"I didn't know about Childhelp then but now I'm really into it and I haven't missed a Christmas in four years," said Taylor, 13. "It feels good to help other people and knowing you used your talents to help them out."

Taylor's mom, Melissa Longbrake, said her daughter loves working for the nonprofit organization any chance she can get.

NAM Miss California.jpg
Special to The Press-Enterprise
Taylor Longbrake, 13, is a Celebrity Youth Ambassador for Childhelp Merv Griffin Village in Beaumont and is also the reigning Miss California Pre-Teen for the National American Miss organization.

"She traveled to Washington with them to be part of Capitol Karaoke, which was a group of congressmen and other Washington big wigs who sang karaoke to raise money for Childhelp. It was awesome."

The city of Beaumont chose Taylor to be the first Jr. Grand Marshal at its annual Cherry Festival parade because of her involvement with Childhelp.

"It was a real honor and really fun," said Taylor, of Corona. "They let us ride on this cool fire truck."

She said one of her favorite things about being involved with the National American Miss pageant was her opportunity to have the organization sponsor a major fundraiser for Childhelp.

"The pageant focuses on what girls are like on the inside and what their hopes and dreams are," said Taylor. "They want to choose a good role model and a well-rounded person."

She said the pageant does not allow girls to wear make-up and doing charitable work contributes to a girl's chances of becoming queen.

"I started singing lessons at 4 because my mom said I sang all the time," said Taylor. "She said when I got time-outs I would sing about what I did that got me in trouble."

In the fall, Taylor will enter eighth grade at the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana to study musical theater.

"She has been with the Angels for six seasons now and sings about eight or nine games a season with them," said Longbrake. Her daughter also sings for the LA Kings and Lakers.

Taylor has decided to postpone recording and releasing a CD for a while.

"I just want to be a kid," she said.

To hear Taylor sing, visit www.taylorlongbrake.com.

Reach Diane A. Rhodes at 951-763-3461 or dianealease@hotmail.com.

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