Reading wasn't one of her favorite pasttimes for a long time, but Josie Marro developed a love of books after finding one that piqued her interest.
That's why she would like to work with the Friends of the Sunnyside Library, if selected to serve as 2012-13 Miss Sunnyside, to organize a program that features high-profile community members reading to elementary school students.
Marro wants to help the group and believes adults in the community can further the group's mission, promoting reading.
"It reminds me of reading celebration nights that were featured at Pioneer Elementary School when I was a student there," said the Miss Sunnyside candidate. She said authors would make special appearances at the school, helping students learn about books.
Marro would like to inspire youngsters in the community and help them learn about the programs offered at the local library. She hopes community leaders like the deputy police chief, city council members and anyone else who believes in leading by example would participate in her proposed program.
"I literally read between five and 10 books each week," Marro said of the enjoyment she gets from reading.
She said that wasn't always the case because she struggled with reading when she was younger.
"Books are inspiring and can evoke emotions in a person, especially when the characters are people with whom the reader can relate," said Marro.
She said reading is an important skill and she doesn't want other youngsters to struggle with it as much as she did.
Marro said she believes the more exposure young children have to books, the more likely it is they will find one that keeps them interested in reading.
She said the Miss Sunnyside court plays a special role in the community and has the ability to influence the youngsters in many ways, including reading.
Marro said the court can also promote the library, teaching those in the community who are unaware of the programs available there about its services.
She said the community service project she is planning would also involve a book swap, exposing youngsters and their families to a variety of books.
"I found myself through reading," Marro said, stating she wants to help others discover the joy of reading.
Marro also believes in her community. She said Sunnyside can be fascinating when one looks at the community through the eyes of a visitor.
She said she is proud of the Sunnyside Lighted Farm Implement Parade and would like to expose more visitors to the experience of watching what she describes as a unique event.
"It originated here," said Marro, stating it is fascinating to see the floats decorated in Christmas lights because there is a great deal of imagination and creativity that is involved in the decorating process.
"There's community pride in the floats," Marro said, stating the annual event unites Sunnyside community members and has made Sunnyside famous.
She's also a fan of Taco King in Sunnyside and thinks anyone visiting the community would appreciate the authentic Mexican food served there.
Marro said tasting the food at the local taco truck is a cultural experience and provides others insight into the influence of the Hispanic community.
"Everything is made fresh...it's just so good," she said.
Marro also believes it is also beneficial for visitors to tour the Sunnyside Museum.
She said she first trekked to the museum last year and was "awed" by the number of historic artifacts and information that is preserved there.
"I most remember the wedding gown," Marro said of a historic gown donated to the museum, stating the community has kept a good account of its history through the preservation efforts of the museum and its volunteers.
"I believe there are bigger cities with a rich cultural background, but I am not certain of the diversity and richness of those cities," said Marro.
Because she is interested in how a person's mind works, Marro aspires to become a behaviorist with the FBI.
To accomplish her career goals, she plans to obtain a degree in psychology.
"I want to help the FBI find criminals, especially sociopaths and psychopaths," said Marro.
She is the daughter of Heather and Mark Marro, and her sponsors for the Miss Sunnyside Pageant are Argus Insurance, Hernandez Insurance and Harold's Repair.
Marro is one of 13 young hopefuls vying for the Miss Sunnyside title. The Miss Sunnyside Pageant will be staged on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Sunnyside High School auditorium.