By Candice Reed
When Annamarie Dean walked into the Intake & Access Center one Friday night in June, the tall blond beauty carried in platters of food she had prepared for that night’s dinner, but one little girl was more impressed by the sparkling crown on her head.
“She looks like a princess,” whispered the youngster.
In fact, Annamarie Dean is a beauty queen who was recently crowned Mrs. California, USA, but residents at Solutions for Change, a non-profit in Vista serving homeless families in North County, recognize her as the pretty lady who brings birthday cupcakes once a month for a celebration.
“Solutions for Change touched my heart a long time ago,” Dean said as she un-wrapped the home-made macaroni and cheese she had prepared for 40 hungry people. “Homelessness is more than not having a roof over your head; it’s about loss of identity, and everyone deserves respect and love.”
Born and raised in California, Dean lives in Encinitas, with her husband Pete Peterson, their four sons, ages 16, 14, 13 and 10, and their four rescue dogs. Her husband is a magazine editor, and enjoys staying active with Dean and their boys. Even with her busy household Dean finds time to make a difference in her community. She actively volunteers for Hospice as well as Solutions for Change. For Hospice she provides relief for the caregiver and companionship for the patient. For Solutions, she cooks dinners, bakes cupcakes to celebrate birthdays and shares information about the organization.The Mrs. United States Pageant was founded in 1986, and the pageant is about empowering women and promoting positive self-image. Dean will compete in the Mrs. USA pageant in early August, and her pageant platform will continue to spread the word about Solutions for Change.
“My motivation stems from my deep belief that everyone deserves compassion, kindness, equal opportunity, education and security,” Dean said. “I’m so full of gratitude that I am able to volunteer at Solutions for Change. Until someone spends time in these communities, that person may not realize what an honor it is to witness the resilience and love that exists, even in the face of the most egregious experiences and dire living conditions.”