Valerie Ahrens of Villa Park takes Miss Tall Chicago crown
|Valerie Ahrens of Villa Park will be crowned Miss Tall Chicago at the Paramount Tall Club of Chicago's annual Christmas party on Dec. 1.|
There’s royalty living in Villa Park, or at least there will be soon, when Valerie Ahrens is crowned Miss Tall Chicago on Dec. 1 at the Paramount Tall Club Chicago’s annual holiday party.
It was almost a year ago that Ahrens first joined the Paramount Tall Club, a social group exclusive to people of above average height, and this fall she decided to run for the position of Miss Tall Chicago and to represent the organization.
“I’m just so excited,” she said on Nov. 13, the day after she was selected at the club’s monthly meeting. “The opportunity to represent a club like Paramount, that’s a big thing and I don’t take it lightly.”
Ahrens grew up in Downers Grove and moved to Villa Park as an adult about five years ago. It was last December at a New Years Eve party where she met the former Miss Tall Chicago, who noticed Ahrens because of her height and invited her to join check out the club.
Standing at almost 5 feet 11 inches, Ahrens was eligible to join the club. Women are a minimum of 5 feet 10 inches and men must be at least 6 feet 2 inches.
The club meets monthly at the Elmhurst Public House on St. Charles Road, only a few blocks from Ahrens’s home, and after a few outings, she was hooked.
One of the first things she noticed about being in the group, was that, for once, she was one of the shorties.
“I’m looking up to the majority of people (in the club),” she said. “This is really cool to be looking people in the eye or looking up to them.”
Paramount Tall Club has about 70 active members who participate in a variety of social events throughout the year. Ahrens says there is something for every interest and the club’s calendar is packed with activities, parties and volunteer opportunities from month-to-month.
“I enjoy the camaraderie and friendships that I’m developing with them,” she said.
When it came time to select a Miss Tall Chicago for 2013, Ahrens stepped forward, despite not having been in the club for a year, yet.
Any single woman, over the age of 21 is invited to fill out an application for consideration, and the club votes to select someone.
In her position, Ahrens said she’s looking forward to representing the club and it’s members in public forums, to help increase awareness and membership in the club and to turn an increased focus on volunteering opportunities.
She is passionate about volunteering, herself.
“I feel very strongly about volunteering, very strongly,” she said. “There are not as many people going out in the community to volunteer.”
The Paramount Tall Club’s official charity is the National Marfan Foundation, which provides resources and conducts research on Marfan Syndrome, a disorder of connective tissue. Notably, Abraham Lincoln had the disorder, as do some members of the Paramount Tall Club.
Another passion for Ahrens is her involvement in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, where adults are partnered with local youths to help support and mentor them.
For more than four years, Ahrens has been paired with her “little sister” who lives nearby.
“Just spending time with her is cool,” she said. “They match you based on personality and it’s been a great opportunity for both of us. Volunteerism is one of the things I really want to instill in her.”
On Dec. 1, Ahrens will be crowned Miss Tall Chicago by the current Miss Tall International, Jenny Kosiec. In June, Ahrens will travel to Las Vegas to compete against the Miss Talls from other club’s chapters across the country for the position of Miss Tall International.
During her reign this year, Ahrens is looking forward to helping raise club awareness and membership, to encourage community volunteer activities and to represent the club.
“This is something I look at as a milestone in my life,” she said. “A year of volunteering. This stuff is going to take a precedent in my life."
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