Community Builder: Miss SC Teen contestant honored for program for homeless youth

Updated: Jun. 21, 2017 at 7:16 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Wednesday night marks the second night of preliminary competition at the Township Auditorium for the Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen pageant.

However, one teen contestant already has another title to add to her name and that's WIS Community Builder in partnership w Homes.

At 17, Madison Dinkins has beauty, smarts, and talent, but those around her say she's best known for her heart.

"She is such an incredible role model, and I'm so happy that my girls have someone so incredible to look up," said Danielle Guidotti, who submitted the nomination for Dinkins.

Guidotti says her family has known Madison for the last six years.

"I've watched Madison grow and really kind of become passionate about her community, and when she created this birthday box I just knew how much it meant to her," said Dinkins.

In fact, here on WIS, we've covered Madison's efforts through her program "The Birthday Box." Now nearly a year-old, Madison's goal is to make sure that homeless children in Midlands shelters don't go without a birthday present.

"The passion that she gets about seeing these kids get a birthday present, no matter what else is going on in their life, they get to open this birthday present that is wrapped - that's just so special," added Guidotti.

While "The Birthday Box" is in 5 Midlands shelters, Madison wants to see the program grow statewide. It's a reason why she's competing for the title of Miss South Carolina Teen.

"I just really thought that it would help expand "The Birthday Box," and it would help me with my platform, and it would help everyone around South Carolina see it, and I could just expand throughout South Carolina," said Madison.

What Madison did not know is that Danielle nominated her as a WIS Community Builder in partnership with Mungo Homes, and the Miss South Carolina pageant let Matt Mungo surprise Madison, whose local title is Miss Inman Teen, while she was waiting to rehearse.

"I am here because of all of your work with the disadvantaged kids in our community, your Birthday Box program," said Mungo. "You have been nominated and chosen as our Community Builder by Mungo Homes and WIS-TV. Thank you very much for all that you have done, and you'll get $1000 check for the charity of your choice."

"Thank you so much," Madison told Mungo as her fellow contestants cheered her on. After the surprise, Madison said she was in shock.

While this week she says she's looking forward to competing for the crown, her mom, who got to witness the surprise, says in a beautiful way, she's already won.

"I think this morning she got the best crown that she could get which is the Community Builder hat because that goes farther I think than any crown that you can have on your head," said Rhonda Dinkins. "That you can go out and do for your community, I think she probably just won her crown for the community."

Madison and the other Miss and Teen contestants have two more nights of preliminary competition this Wednesday and Thursday. A Teen winner will be crowned on Friday, and Miss South Carolina will be crowned Saturday night at the Township Auditorium.

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