Going for Miss RI Twelve-year-old Destinee DelBonis was featured in the Cranston Herald in 2013 for her own nonprofit, Homeless Animal Helpers, a foundation for homeless and abused animals. Through her adolescent business, she raised over $5,000 for the
Twelve-year-old Destinee DelBonis was featured in the Cranston Herald in 2013 for her own nonprofit, Homeless Animal Helpers, a foundation for homeless and abused animals. Through her adolescent business, she raised over $5,000 for the Rhode Island SPCA.
Fast-forward eight years, and Destinee is 19 going on 20. She is a freshman biology major with an English communications minor at Salve Regina University, as well as a varsity equestrian athlete. And she is now on a new pursuit of advocacy.
As a candidate in Miss Rhode Island America 2021, participants are required to create a “social impact statement,” a plan for a cause they are passionate about. After working with animals for almost a decade, Destinee decided to change courses after her life changed in high school.
When she was barely 15, barely a hundred pounds, barely a woman, Destinee was assaulted.
Despite how unfortunate her situation was, she decided to turn her tragedy into a foundation. She ran for Miss Outstanding Teen RI America in 2019 and created her platform, “Our Destinee to Survive: Supporting Survivors & Ending Assault Stigma.” She placed second runner-up in her first ever pageant.
Now being enrolled in the “Miss” competition, Destinee is expanding her platform across the entire city of Cranston and the Ocean State.
Working with City Councilwoman Nicole Renzulli, and a plethora of other officials, faculty and organizations, she is determined to raise awareness of dating violence on high school and college campuses and help put an end to the stigma that surrounds domestic violence. Between her self-published, blog, Facebook group and novella, she has not stopped to make this goal a reality.
Destinee seeks to represent her hometown of Cranston, her university, and all of the survivors that share her story. Continue to follow her journey on Facebook and her blog, “Our Destinee to Survive.”
(Text by Meri R. Kennedy)