Miss Georgia and Golden Isles native Alyssa Beasley shared her passion for her platform and her message to young girls during a meet-and-greet and send-off to the Miss America Pageant hosted by the city of Brunswick Saturday afternoon during which she was presented with a key to the city.

City staff prepared an inviting setting to welcome Beasley. Dark blue balloons were tied to light posts along Newcastle Street near the Old City Hall where the gathering was held. White chairs brightened the inside and a table of hors d’oeuvres finished off the aesthetics.

Beasley mingled with guests before fielding questions, thanking residents of the Golden Isles for the outpouring of love and support she received as she competed and won the Miss Georgia title in June.

“The support from the community has been incredible,” Beasley told guests. “Your love, prayers and support mean the world to me.”

An Isles native and Glynn Academy graduate who finished among the top of her class, Beasley provided an overview of her Miss Georgia platform, #RiseUp: Impact through the Arts scholarship program that provides dance opportunities to disadvantaged and disabled children.

After starting in dance at 2 years old, a serious injury sustained in high school left her unable to pursue dance on a professional level. Beasley however, was able to pursue her passion as a dance teacher at a Boys and Girls Club.

“I realized I could make a difference,” Beasley said. “Dance is a way to build relationships and connections. My mission is to make the arts available in our schools…there are many benefits to the arts.”

She is now a student at Kennesaw State University in Cobb County, where she is pursuing a double major in dance and health sciences and physical therapy. In addition to being named the 73rd Miss Georgia, Beasley, 19, also received $17,500 in scholarships and will compete in Miss America in Atlantic City in September.

Her message to young girls and young women, who would like to follow in her footsteps, is that, pageants have so much more to offer in terms of building confidence, friendships and not to mention the amount of scholarship money and exposure competitors gain.

Abby Henderson, 12, was one the girls in the audience, listening intently as Beasley spoke.

“I love everything about beauty pageants,” said Abby, who will be old enough to compete next year with the full support of her mother Becky Henderson.

“I’m a very firm believer in pageants,” Becky Henderson said. “It’s beautiful to see how they blossom and how their confidence builds.”

As Beasley continued to field questions, she was asked what she likes most about Brunswick. Beasley smiled and said, “Its home.” She added that Brunswick is an incredible community.

In preparation for the Miss America pageant, Beasley said she is keeping up with current events. From what she has seen, she said she would like to see more openness for other opinions and more communication.

Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey welcomed Beasley, saying how proud he is of her and that she is as a product of Brunswick as he presented her with a key to the city.

“It’s amazing the quality of people that come from this city,” Harvey said. “This key opens our hearts and love to let people know the compassion that is in Brunswick, Georgia. I will be rooting for her saying ‘yesss’ because she is from us … from this community.”

Bill Brunson, chairman of the Glynn County Commission presented Beasley with a proclamation.

Emmitt Nolan, extended well wishes to Beasley as she embarks on the Miss America pageant on behalf of U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter.

Beasley said she hopes she can make everybody proud.

Heather Whitestone, Miss America 1995, the first deaf woman to win the title, was also in attendance.