By Joseph Pratt
Schools are out for the summer and senior representatives from nearly each school are planning community service projects as part of their platform to take the crown of Miss River Days.
Each young lady is required to host a benefit for a special cause of their choosing and each contestant is asked to help each other and volunteer to promote goodwill and sisterhood.
This summer has been a very active one for all of the women, in which they have raised money for shelters, cancer patients, and more, all while raising awareness on poverty and other relevant topics that plague our community.
Miss Portsmouth is Lydia Cohen this year.
“I’m really excited and it has been a blessing to go all over town and view all these different viewpoints of the city that need help, such as underprivileged girls and breast cancer,” Cohen said. “I have really enjoyed giving back through all my volunteerism this summer.”
The young Trojan also said that she is also happy to have been chosen to represent her school through this entire process.
“I am so happy to have been chosen to be Miss Portsmouth,” Cohen said. “I am excited about representing my school and peers, because I am proud of what we stand for and to be a member of the Portsmouth High School legacy.”
Cohen has dedicated her high school life to tennis and decided that she should utilize her connections in the tennis scene to help her make a truly impacting service project. Her platform is being called Raising a Racquet for Cancer and consists of a tennis tournament as the main event.
“My event is going to be a tennis tournament in which all proceeds will benefit the SOMC Patient Compassion Fund,” Cohen explained. “My family has long a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer. I just want to make sure everyone knows how important it is to be genetically tested for cancer and to know that there are many prevention methods available, as well as raise funds for those suffering.”
According to SOMC, the Compassion Fund is utilized for patient assistance needs, such as utilities, medications, transportation and common necessities needed during cancer care. The social worker from the Cancer Center collaborates with the Cancer Center Director to determine the needs and allocations of the funds.
“What I really like about the SOMC Compassion Fund is that it isn’t some huge corporation that raises funds for people I don’t know,” Cohen said. “Money they receive goes to people in this community and I love that. I feel like the work that I do will benefit my home and the people from a community that has done so much for me. I just want to give back to the area the best way I know how.”
Cohen’s tennis tournament is July 11 on the tennis courts of Portsmouth City Schools and Shawnee State University at 10 a.m. The tournament is a round-robin style, which means every contestant will play each other.
Two age groups will play, a youth group with individuals 10 years to 20, and adult group with individuals 20 and up. Free food and drinks will also be provided for players with entertainment and music. Youth players can join in the game for $15 and adults can join for $20.
“Tennis is my thing, it is my niche. Tennis is what I would do every day, if I could. I train for the season and I play year-round. I have been number one singles on my team for two years and I have always been very dedicated,” Cohen said. “Tennis is how I know most of the people in the community and I knew it was the best route for my project so I could help the most people.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.