THANKSGIVING PARTY Children and staff at Young Focus International Foundation in Tondo, Manila, cheer one of their benefactors, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, who told the world that helping kids in poverty was one of her causes. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ
Where her journey began: Catriona Gray to return to kids of Tondo
MANILA, Philippines — Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray is back in the country after her reign as queen and is set to return where her pageant journey began — the kids of Tondo.
“Yes, I definitely want to go back and visit. I think it’ll be very emotional for me because I really did in a way start my journey, this journey with them,” Gray said Thursday when asked if she plans to visit the kids of Tondo, Manila who inspired her answer during last year’s Miss Universe 2018 pageant.
Gray had been involved with non-government organization Young Focus Philippines, focused on children’s welfare, even before joining pageants.
“It was really volunteering with them that I opened up myself to pageantry. I don’t think if not for my volunteering with Young Focus, I wouldn’t have had this dream in my heart to elevate the cause in pageantry,” Gray said.
Last year, Gray highlighted the kids of Tondo when asked during the pageant on what is the most important lesson she has learned.
“I work a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila and the life there is very poor, sad and I’ve always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look in the beauty of the children and be grateful,” Gray said at the time.
“I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson,” she added.
Young Focus Philippines supports the education, nutrition, and social welfare of the kids from the community that are in their program.
Her debut single, “We’re In This Together,” was dedicated to the kids of Tondo and its proceeds went straight to Young Focus Philippines.