6 Yumans one stage

When I was first asked to be a part of this organization I thought to myself “ Ooooh pretty gowns and tiaras let’s do this!” 

Little did I know this sponsorship would turn into a passion. It’s truly fitting however considering my passion for empowering women. This program is THE EXAMPLE of that. 

It’s not only pretty dresses and tiaras… 

It is young women working towards a goal to better their future while empowering one another and their community. 

Each one of these young women is what empowerment should look like. They are representatives of the sisterhood that the Yuma Scholarship Organization embodies. 

Of course, we have to give credit where it’s due and that is to the Yuma Scholarship Organization. COMMUNITY over COMPETITION is an example they set! These girls all started in our local competition with an incredible team behind them helping them along the way. All of these Yuma ladies are an asset to our community, all of them stepped on the Miss Arizona stage and competed for the title to represent our state. All of them are winners in my book and I hope to see them on the Miss Arizona stage again someday! 

But first locals! 

Haley Wright, 26

Miss Yuma County & First runner up in Miss Arizona winning a full scholarship.

I was born in Yuma, I moved around a lot growing up because of my dad’s job, but Yuma was always my home base. I moved back in 2016 and have been here since! 

The most impactful thing I’ve received from competing with the Yuma Scholarship Program (aside from my scholarships!) would be coming to the realization that I deserve to be successful and accomplished. I spent so many years of my life after my brother passed away feeling like I didn’t deserve to live a happy life because he didn’t get to. I had made so much progress healing and growing by the time I became a candidate, but stepping into the role of Miss Yuma County really pushed me to be my best self. I know that sounds corny, but when you’re standing on a platform that so many young girls look up to, it sort of launches you into this superwoman mindset. I felt so empowered just by sharing my story and showing other young women like myself that we are all capable of achieving our wildest dreams. A strong woman knows where she came from, but more importantly, knows where she’s going. 

I chose to compete with MAO because former MYC Gabby Heinz inspired me! I was so intrigued by the Social Impact Initiatives that candidates have. My mom and I always talked about starting a nonprofit in memory of my brother, and I knew this would be a wonderful place to start. My Social Impact Initiative really was the easiest decision I made. 

Harrison Rose Dusek 16

Miss Yuma Country Outstanding Teen

I was born and raised in Yuma! As a young girl, I always looked up to our Miss Yuma County and Miss Yuma County Outstanding Teen. I wanted to be just like them! 

To get to do that is the greatest honor! I hope to be just that for some little girl in Yuma. Spreading my social impact initiative and seeing the support from Yuma this year has meant the world to me. It’s amazing to know I have such a close community behind me!

I heard about the MAO through Allie Van Dyne Hoven, she took me under her wing and told me what this organization was all about. I chose to compete because I wanted to further my social impact and also because it simply looked so much fun! This organization has given me so many opportunities! The opportunity to speak about my social impact, raising over $500 and giving out $300 of it in summer dance scholarships, the opportunity to go to Miss AZ, and being able to just give back to my amazing community! I’m very grateful that I get to be a part of such a giving organization.

Rylee Rich, 17

Miss Cactus Blossom OT & Top 11 at Miss Arizona winning ASU Scholarship

I am born and raised in Yuma, AZ

Not only did I form so many amazing friendships from this organization but I also learned so much. Public speaking has always been one of my biggest fears and I can now say that I’ve overcome that because of the Yuma scholarship program. Not only did I overcome it, just overcome it, I learned how to talk in public in a professional way that will help me throughout all my life. I love how you can do so much with your social impact and I saw an opportunity My nana being diagnosed with a very rare cancer ( stage 4 terminal angiosarcoma cancer ) is where I got my stronger than sarcoma cancer awareness. I wanted to be that change not just for my nana but in my community.

Ellie Evans, 18

Miss Desert Rose OT & Top 11 at Miss Arizona winning ASU Scholarship

I am born and raised in Yuma. Graduated with honors from Cibola High School 2022 and will be attending Arizona State University in the fall!!

The incredible network that I’ve been able to build with so many business within Yuma from YSP has allowed me to impact my community and raise over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society. 

When I was a freshman in high school I heard a radio commercial that truly changed the course of my life. It was a last call for any girls that wanted to compete for Miss Yuma County’s Outstanding Teen, and that night I was signed up and preparing to compete for my first local competition. I lost my first local, but it pushed me to become a better version of myself so that when I did win Miss Yuma County’s Outstanding Teen the next year, I was truly prepared for the full time commitment of serving my community while also receiving $1,300 in scholarships, which was a big reason I agreed to compete in the first place!!

Zulema Zavala, 15

Miss Chandler's OT

I have lived in Yuma for 10 years but I was originally born in Baja California, Mexico. I attend Yuma High School. The most impactful thing about competing in the Yuma Scholarship program is, how much support the community and program offer to the candidates and title holders and how many opportunities I will forever be grateful for thanks to the impact the Yuma Scholarship Program gave me. I choose to be part of MAO because there is no program, club, or system, like it. MAO offers opportunities and activities that nothing can even compare to for example scholarship, friendship, and offer self-improvement to grow as a person rather than just a pageant. 

Ayana Mendoza, 18

Miss Sonoran Desert OT

I have lived in Yuma for 14 years. MAO provides women with not only scholarships but life skills to carry with them through their life and career.


Shoutout to the sponsors who help make this all happen!

•Thousands of dollars in educational scholarships sponsored by @1stbankyuma & @pacesetterhomecenters 

•Photography Partnership with @gabimarshallphotography 

•Hair services by @chelsvcosmo at @blush.yuma 

•Wardrobe by @caliloveboutique 

•Gym membership with @4thavegym 

•Spray tanning with @elite_yuma 

•Partnership with @leoproductioncompany 

•Teeth whitening with @drbarrowsyuma 

•Skincare by Ronna Sue with @marykayus

•Anaisa with @desert.sunset.creations