Every single one of the young women competing for Miss Nebraska has a voice, a message they want as many people as possible to listen to.
Today’s featured contestant is working extra hard, because the same people she is trying to help CANNOT always hear her.
Miss Metro, Kimberly Brennan
Kimberly is nearly deaf in her left ear. A virus, contracted when she was 14, stole her hearing. A virus that was not diagnosed for several weeks, despite Kimberly’s complaints about ringing in her ear and an inability to hear things clearly.
“It took an ENT five minutes to diagnose a virus in my ear. If I had only known weeks earlier, my hearing could have been saved,” said Kimberly in a recent interview. “I want to share my story and take the message of hearing loss prevention on a state and national level because I don’t want others to risk this same fate.”
Kimberly now travels to schools and other groups sharing her story. She also hands out earplugs and has plans to ‘take on’ companies that produce products like ear buds to make listening devices safer.
“With the ever growing prevalence of noise induced hearing loss, now is the perfect time to take on the issue,” said Kimberly. “The answer lies mainly in providing the knowledge.”
PASSIONATE, COMPASSIONATE, GENUINE
Kimberly’s explanation behind her personal platform is only a glimpse of the passion she has for her roles, not just as Miss Metro, but as ‘Miss Brennan’. Kimberly graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha and has been accepted into the CADRE Masters of Education program, where she plans to obtain her Master’s Degree in education WHILE teaching full-time.
“Student teaching was a high point in my educational career,” said Kimberly. “I loved and was energized by teaching students each day and dedicating myself to helping them learn and grow.”
Kimberly also spends about 21 hours a week teaching baton at Sue’s Stepperettes, where she became a national and world champion despite her hearing loss. She still trains there several hours a week.
“Imagine trying to throw a baton, jump, spin and balance, all while having the balance on one side of your body minimized,” said Kimberly. “It took a lot of hard work and perseverance to regain the balance that I had; winning [those titles] have been some of the proudest moments of my life so far, because I had to work so hard to get there.”
See if you can spot them in KETV’s story on Sue’s Stepperettes when they celebrated 40 years in May of 2013.
No matter where she’s teaching, speaking, or twirling, Kimberly says she tries to show every person and group she cares about them.
“I want them to do well, I want them to accomplish great things and I want them to feel cared for,” said Kimberly. “I try to talk to everyone I meet and I take a genuine interest in them. I am truly fascinated by the things you can learn simply by talking to people you come across.”
That passion fuels Kimberly’s desire to serve others.
“I never feel better than when I am volunteering my time with others,” said Kimberly. “I have had amazing opportunities to help by raising money, plunging in freezing cold water, reading to children at libraries and schools, speaking about hearing loss, passing out ear plugs, dancing, greeting people, running bid boards, doing arts and crafts, modeling, all while taking about a million photos to commemorate the life changing experiences! I’m always looking for more opportunities to serve others, so PLEASE feel free to contact me if you know of any place that could use volunteers!”
Need proof? I spotted Kimberly THREE TIMES in the April issue of Metro Magazine, volunteering or making appearances at events in the Omaha area. In every photo, she is flashing a warm, welcoming smile.
“What you see is what you get. I am proud of who I am and what I have accomplished so far in my life,” said Kimberly. “I am confident in the fact that I am compassionate, passionate, dedicated, loving, caring, hard working, reflective, helpful, confident and intelligent. But I also accept the face that I have lazy days sometimes, that I can procrastinate, that I over-schedule myself, that I have a sweet tooth and that I can be impatient. We all have our negative qualities, but we need to be willing to embrace them and to better ourselves each day by serving others and gaining knowledge about anything and everything that strikes our fancy.”
Kimberly says the Miss America Organization highlights the positive, making the pageant still relevant in 2014.
“Turn to mass media and I bet you can find multiple stories about violence, celebrity happenings, people with eating disorders, and tragedies that happen every day,” said Kimberly. “While there are some positive stories about people who are doing great things and fighting to make a change, they are far fewer than those that are disheartening and discouraging. That is where the Miss America and Miss Nebraska pageants shine. These contestants are women who are actually doing something about these problems. They are women who are willing to put themselves out there and work like crazy to have a positive impact on the world.”
Kimberly’s out there, alright. Trying to make people hear her story, on behalf of those who can’t.
She’s ready to make some noise at Miss Nebraska.
Connect with Miss Metro, Kimberly Brennan
by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Miss Nebraska pageant takes place June 5-7 in North Platte, Nebraska. For more information, visit the Miss Nebraska website.