Dedria Brunett – From Trash Bags to Tiaras
When 6-year-old Dedria went to live with her adopted parents, she dragged a trash bag filled with her belongings up the brick steps to her new home, a string of clothing trailing behind from a hole in the bag. Before she was adopted, Dedria lived for two years in the emergency shelter at Casa Pacifica, a residential treatment center in Camarillo for abused, severely neglected and emotionally disturbed children. After she found a permanent home and family, Dedria became committed to finding a way to convey a sense of hope to children who found themselves in situations similar to the one she left behind.
One day she came across a flier for a beauty pageant that required participants to be involved in a community service project. Dedria convinced her parents this was what she had been looking for. She decided that she would create an organization that would supply children in the foster care system with a travel bag for their belongings, and she would promote that cause through the pageant. She named her organization Luggage of Love.
Dedria went on to win not only the title of Miss Teen California International 2010, but also the title of Miss California International 2012, a competition based on community service. Whether she is wearing a crown or not, Dedria devotes herself to her true love – Luggage of Love, and to speaking to groups and organizations about the foster care system. Dedria’s mission in life is to advocate for child in foster and shelter care and to share her story in hopes of inspiring others to rise above their circumstances and have a successful life, rather than becoming a statistic. She is currently attending college, pursuing a degree in communications.