NEW HYDE PARK, NY -- Miss Universe Leila Lopes
, who took the crown in Sao Paulo, Brazil last year after impressing judges with her striking beauty and insightful intelligence, has been traveling the world to promote her main platform of issues, specifically empowering women and HIV/AIDS
Through the generous efforts of Project Sunshine
, a dynamic volunteer corps dedicated to bringing recreation, arts and social service programs to children living with medical challenges and their families, Miss Universe spoke to youngsters at Cohen Children’s Medical Center
of New York last Thursday about her “Sunshine Chefs” nutritional cooking program. Working with hospital and Project Sunshine staff, Miss Universe discussed the importance of preparing healthy recipes that can be easily replicated at home. After working with various types of healthy foods, Miss Universe and volunteers then decorated chef hats and aprons for her enthusiastic audience.
“Miss Universe is a stellar and caring volunteer,” said Project Sunshine’s Executive Director Beatrice Kernan. “She brings light into the lives of young patients at their most vulnerable time, bolstering the self esteem of young girls and serving as a role model to others in special, fun-filled nutritional cooking sessions.”
Miss Lopes hails from the African country of Angola
. Of its 18 million people, 38 percent lived in poverty in 2009. Life expectancy for men is 50 and for women 53, according to the United Nations’ most recent statistics. An estimated two percent of the country’s population suffers from HIV or AIDS, statistics reveal. As Miss Universe, Miss Lopes hopes to raise more awareness for her country.