​Berks County resident Emily Kenniston was just looking for a another way to give back.

​A Penn State Berks graduate, Kenniston returned to Berks County in 2020 following a six-year hiatus of living in first Philadelphia, then Doylestown.

“My husband and I loved Doylestown,” she said, “But our families are here. Now that we have a young child, it was important to us that she grows up close to her grandparents.”

​Kenniston is a former educator, a professionally represented model, and currently holds the title of Mrs. Reading International 2021 (she placed Third Runner up to Mrs. Pennsylvania International 2021 in April).

“Competing in a pageant–something I’d wanted to do since I was 17–started as a way for me to give back, not just to my community, but also to myself,” she said.

“I struggled with crippling Postpartum Depression and Anxiety–something that many mothers struggle with, and that, in my opinion, is not talked about enough.”

Kenniston shared that she decided to finally pursue pageantry in order to hopefully inspire her daughter to one day follow her dreams and power through whatever struggles she was facing in life.

​A devout Christian, Kenniston has been performing as a volunteer princess at various hospitals and events in Pennsylvania since 2015 with her own volunteer group, The Pennsylvania Princess Project.

This volunteerism led her to partner with an empowerment program for young girls called Princess for a Day (princessforadayoutreach.com) in 2017, and Kenniston was honored to officially represent PFAD as her pageant platform.

​Still, she wanted to do more. A passionate supporter of small business owners, Kenniston pitched the idea for a new show on BCTV.org called “Small Business Spotlight”.

“SBS was designed to promote, support, and encourage small business owners in and around Berks County,” said Kenniston.

The show, which airs from 12-12:30 PM on the second Friday of each month on BCTV, features Kenniston interviewing different small business owners and giving them a chance to promote their businesses for free.

“The pandemic has done irrevocable damage to many small business owners,” said Kenniston.

“I believe that everyone needs to step up and do our part to support the small business owners whose work is the lifeblood of our economy and our community. This is just my own small way of giving back.”

​To find out more about Small Business Spotlight, you can visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSpotlightBerks, or email Kenniston at smallbussinessberks@gmail.com .

This article is also available in: Español (Spanish)