Miss America to attend Make-A-Wish benefit in Dickinson
Miss America Cara Mund has a passion for Make-a-Wish and it’s power to help children. She will share her experiences with the foundation when she participates in the 17th annual Make-A-Wish Benefit in Dickinson on Saturday, March 17.
“Anytime it’s for North Dakota Make-A-Wish, I try to make it happen,” Mund said while on tour.
During the benefit, she will sign autographs, pose for pictures, help with the live auction and talk about her experiences since becoming Miss America 2018.
Mund was introduced to Make-A-Wish at age of 14, when two of her classmates at Bismarck were ill -- one who died on her birthday. Her family requested that memorials go to Make-a-Wish, and that sparked her interest in the foundation. The other friend was in the process of getting her wish granted, but needed additional funds. Mund put on a fashion show with the goal of raising $1,000. The show generated $2,500; and because it was so successful, she agreed to continue it.
“We have raised nearly $80,000 and have impacted 23 kids in North Dakota,” she said. “In helping a friend, I didn’t realize the impact it would have as an annual event.”
She went on to become a Wish-granter -- arranging the details of granting wishes for children.
“Not only do wishes benefit kids, but they help the families as well,” she said. “Not only do we make wishes come true, which is remarkable, but I see families come back from a trip with a complete switch in morale -- it lifts them up.”
Over the years she has competed in numerous pageants, from Little Miss and Miss Pre-Teen to Miss ND Outstanding Teen. After winning the title of Miss North Dakota, it was time to enter the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City’s historic Boardwalk Hall.
Her work with Make-A-Wish caught the attention of the pageant judges. They asked how Make--A-Wish could fit with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals -- a charity in partnership with the Miss America Organization.
“They go hand-in-hand,” she said. “It’s amazing, as Miss America, I get to see miracles happen and wishes come true. One sustains a child’s life, and the other enhances it.”
She won the title of Miss America Sept. 20, 2017, and life hasn’t been the same since.
“I’m constantly learning. I’m a completely different person since I won,” she said. “I realize the impact I can make, and letting people know the only one who limits you is yourself. Back in school, I never expected to be Miss America, but it happened. The sky's the limit. I always tell kids to keep dreaming bigger.”
She encourages girls and women to consider pageant competitions because of the scholarship opportunities.
“Miss America is the largest scholarship provider for women,” she said. “Over my involvement of 4 or 5 years, I’ve earned $100,000 to help pay for my education. You can earn scholarship money even without a state title . It’s amazing how many scholarships are provided to young women.”
As Miss America, Mund is the national goodwill ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. She was recently in Florida to speak on behalf of kids being treated at the hospitals.
“North Dakota has one CMNH in Fargo. The passion I have for CMNH is the same as Make-A-Wish -- they’re making a true difference,” she said.
Mund continues to set goals for herself. She graduated from Brown University in 2016 with a major in business, entrepreneurship and organizations. After her year as Miss America is complete, she has been accepted into law school at the University of Notre Dame, and plans obtain a Juris Doctorate degree.