Finlay Coupland / Contributing Writer
While being stuck in quarantine inside her home in Trussville, Alabama, Madison Ward—also known as Miss Samford—has been busy with much more than just online classes. In between the due dates and online class meetings, Ward and her family pondered a way that she could positively impact the community during such a tough time in history.
The Ward family runs a local birthday party business called Royal Celebrations, where clients can have a Disney princess show up to their doorstep. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, parties that were booked had to be canceled. However, the Ward family decided it wouldn’t stop them from bringing magic, and that is when they decided to create “Facetime a Princess.” As part of the Miss America Organization, Ward decided to utilize her princess business to raise money for the Miss America Organization’s national platform The Children’s Miracle Network.
To Facetime a princess, clients can find Royal Celebrations on Facebook or Instagram (@royalcelebrations_), view their schedule of which princesses are available at certain days and times and send a direct message to sign up. Little princesses have the opportunity to have Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, Ariel, Jasmine or Belle sing, chat or read a book to them. Ward then sends everyone who signs up a link to donate however much money they wish to give. This donation opportunity is optional for those that sign up.
“100% of what they give us goes straight to The Children’s Miracle Network,” Ward said.
Ward said the most rewarding part of “Facetime a Princess” is seeing the kids’ initial reactions when they first see a princess on their screen. Not only is it a joy for the kids, but it also makes a positive impact on the parents as well.
“The parents are going through a lot, too, because they’re trying to entertain their children. They’re trying to be there for their kids while they may be struggling with their job. It makes the parents appear as heroes, and they truly are heroes,” Ward said, “It’s bringing a lot of joy.”
As Miss Samford, Ward is using her own social impact initiative called SHINE (Serving Him and Neighborhoods Everywhere) to create joy in such a time of worry. SHINE is all about using people’s own talents, resources and passions to serve their community, which is exactly what Ward is doing.
“How can I serve during this time of being in quarantine? You can use what you have, which in this case was my princess business, to make a difference,” Ward said.
In only two weeks, Ward has teamed up with her sister, Makenzie Ward to conduct nearly 200 facetime calls. Ward is an upcoming Samford University freshman and Miss Iron City 2020.Within that short time frame, they have raised over $1,200 for charity, and they hope to raise even more in the coming weeks.
“We will continue to do this for as long as we’re quarantined, so this is only the beginning,” Ward said. “I’m so excited about it.”