Catriona Gray spent her first days as Miss Universe giving back to children

December 20, 2018 - 3:10 PM
Catriona Gray with children
Catriona Gray plays with children in her music video "We're In This Together" for Young Focus Foundation. (YouTube/Cat'elle)

Social media users lauded Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray for immediately attending to her advocacy upon arriving in the Philippines despite only staying in the country for two nights.

The beauty queen landed in Manila on Wednesday afternoon in a private jet accompanied by the Miss Universe staff and one of its judges, Richelle Singson Michael. Former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson was also part of the entourage.

Gray shared in her second day at the Philippines that she visited Gentle Hands Orphanages for a charity and gift-giving program.

Prior to her visit, she explained why she likes children:

“Giving is so important, especially (to) children who may have been dealt a poor hand in life.”

“I’m so happy to be here because I really do work with children. Why am I drawn to working with children specifically?”

“Because I’m an only child so growing up, I always wished for siblings, so I guess when I became an adult and reached out to charity, working with children just really touched my heart because they’re so pure. They come into this life and it’s the simple things that make them happy.”

Gentle Hands Orphanage provides rehabilitation for children’s medical, social, psychological and educational needs—particularly to those who are in physical danger, suffering severe illnesses and malnourishment and those who are abandoned and sexually abused.

It has been operating in the country for nearly two decades and has since reached different areas of the Philippines in the provinces and Smokey Mountain in Tondo, Manila.

The organization coordinates with members of local government units for their activities and to achieve their vision of improving the lives of the marginalized youth.

Gray’s sincerity to stick to her advocacy was met with praises from social media users who noted that it was one of the first things she prioritized upon her arrival.

It could be recalled that she mentioned the lack of child support during her opening statement at the coronation of Miss Universe.

“Working in some of the poorest areas of my country, I found that it was a lack of child support, not poverty, that killed their dreams,” Gray said.

For the children 

When Gray arrived in Manila, she was welcomed by another youth-oriented non-profit group, the Young Focus Foundation.

She has been volunteering as a teacher’s assistant in the Tondo-based organization since 2016. She wrote in an entry on her blog:

“I have been working closely with a foundation that works to provide free and accessible education to children of all ages up to college, along with school sponsorship programs for the youth of Smokey Mountain.”

Organization coordinator and spokesperson Mark Soriano shared that the beauty queen was surprised when she was welcomed by Young Focus Foundation.

In a previous report, Gray had a three-story building in Tondo renovated to serve as a child care center and a preschool. It is now a full-fledged school that was featured in her music video “We’re In This Together.”

Gray once mentioned in her Facebook page that working with children and spending time with them almost makes her feel like a “queen.”