Photos: ACT-SO at UNCF

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) San Diego hosted a gala where four deserving students received scholarships to further their education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Though our ACT-SO students were not eligible for the scholarships, we were able to send Eryn Bell as a VIP attendee thanks to the generosity of Ms. Senior California USA 2019, Mari Lewis!

Eryn’s Experience

Eryn is very thankful she was able to attend the UNCF Gala. She had the opportunity to meet District 4 Councilmember Monica Montgomery, received writing advice from Starla Lewis, and speak with other students who are just as driven to succeed as she is. This experience has offered her the chance to practice her elevator speech and learn more about how programs like UNCF and ACT-SO are funded. She was moved by the bonds exhibited from HBCU alumni and their families so much that she’s considering attending one herself.


Mari Lewis, the current Ms. Senior California USA 2019 is a 50-year veteran of the performing arts. In her teens, she performed in several theater and musical theater companies. In her 20s, she was principal soloist in 2 regional ballet companies and a showgirl with Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus where she learned the time-honored skills of trapeze and contortion. From then through her 40s, she performed and toured the United States and Japan with her own trapeze act (“Aerial Exotica”) and contortion act (“The Serpentine Feline”) in the 1st All-Black American Circus (“UniverSoul Circus”). Mari Lewis currently shares her skills and experience as a performance coach, choreographer, and lifestyle speaker and inspiration. ACT-SO is grateful to have such a talented person support our talented students. Thank you Mari!


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