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Step Forward Head Start Student to Compete in National American Miss Ohio Pageant

Ken'Nesha Foster, a student at Step Forward’s Carl B. Stokes Early Learning Center, will compete in her first National American Miss Ohio Pageant this summer. 

The competition is aimed at fostering confidence and imparting real skills to girls and young women. 

“When we arrived, they asked me to have a seat in the waiting area and she will be back shortly. I sat there on pins and needles waiting for her to finish her interview. Finally, she appeared, and I asked her how it went. She said, ‘I don't know,’” Tanisha, Ken’Nesha’s mother, remembered about the audition.  

The next day, the Foster family received a congratulatory email informing them that Ken’Nesha was moving on to the next level as one of the Ohio finalists. 

“That was one of the greatest feelings in the world for me,” Tanisha said.  

As newcomers to the pageant world, Tanisha knew they had a lot to learn. She quickly sought help from their community.  

“My heart was racing, and my brain was scrambling. What do we do next? I started to talk to people I know and that led us to our first sponsor,” Tanisha said. 

Their first sponsor, The Jordan House, paid Ken'Nesha's $650 entry fee, alleviating a significant financial burden. Tanisha then reached out to friends and acquaintances for donations, whether monetary or through time and skills. This support led them to a modeling coach. The connections also inspired Tanisha to organize a raffle to raise funds for Ken'Nesha's gowns, hair, makeup, and travel expenses.  

“Being in this pageant will give her confidence and skills she can take with her whole life,” Tanisha said. “And she'll make lifelong friendships.” 

Confidence is a crucial factor in children's success both inside and outside the classroom. In fact, Head Start considers confidence as one of several characteristics that best prepare children to thrive in school and into adulthood.   

As summer approaches, Ken’Nesha is gearing up to compete in the ‘Princess’ age group of the pageant in Columbus, Ohio. Even though Ken’Nesha has plenty of hobbies, she has chosen her talent to be ballet.   

"For us as a family, if she succeeds in this pageant, it will give us validation that we're doing the right thing by keeping her actively involved in her community,” Tanisha said.  


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Step Forward Head Start is hiring!

The agency is offering a sign-on bonus of $1,000 for full time employees and $500 for part-time employees.

Positions include teachers, family service workers, nutrition aides and more. Step Forward Head Start is looking for education staff passionate about preparing young students for the future and helping them develop a love for learning early. Take a step toward a new fulfilling career today! Learn more and apply to open positions here.

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