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Damácia with Jen Hale, Atlanta Community Liaison for Books for Africa.

Georgia Cyber Academy 8th grader Damácia Howard was crowned 2016 Miss Georgia Pre-Teen Queen in July.

Damácia has been putting her title to great use in her community, including collecting close to 3,000 more books for Books for Africa on the heels of collecting 5,000 books for the organization last year.

This Friday, Damácia and other volunteers will deliver the books to the Books for Africa warehouse in Atlanta. Books for Africa is the largest shipper of donated text and library books to Africa.

“I decided to work with Books for Africa when I was looking for a community service project for Junior BETA Club and National American Miss,” Damácia said.

Damácia has been an advocate for literacy ever since she was taught a lesson in her social studies class last year that stuck with her.

“My 7th grade teacher was teaching us about how low the literacy rate is in other countries, including many countries in Africa,” Damácia said. “As my Mom and I searched the Hands on Atlanta website for a volunteer opportunity, we came across Books for Africa and I knew that was the project I wanted to work on.”

This organization’s mission is to end the book famine in Africa and create a culture of literacy for the next generation.

“The book drive process entails people in the community, in our family and in our church donating as many books as they can,” said Damácia’s mother Regina. “We will pick them up, the donor will meet us, or they will drop them off to us.”

“To get the word out, my Mom uses social media and we send out text messages and emails,” Damácia said. “I partnered with an outreach ministry at my church and they did a weekly announcement on the big screen at our church,” Damácia said.

Damácia is thankful for GCA because it helps her set aside time to help her community and train for pageants.

“Online school helps me pursue my goals because of the flexibility,” Damácia said. “I am able to travel and still get my school work done, all while pursuing dreams.”

Next month, Damácia will prepare dinner for children and their families at the Ronald McDonald House. She will also participate in the National American Miss Pageant, held in Anaheim, California.

She is excited for the opportunity to compete for the title of National American Miss.

“Wow, it would mean so much,” Damácia said. “It would mean that the work I put into preparing for the National pageant wasn’t a waste of time.  It will also mean that doors will open for me with regards to my platform that otherwise may not open.  My voice would be heard on a greater level and I will have the opportunity to be a role model for young people across the US.”

Regina agrees that this title would would help her daughter have a larger platform for literacy awareness.

“For her it would be a goal reached,” Regina said. “She worked really hard for a year and for her it would prove that putting in the time to practice pays off.”

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