Bettis Birenbaum: “I think being a part of the Little Miss North America organization was a huge part of my success”

I think being a part of the Little Miss North America organization was a huge part of my success. Sophia J. Thomas is a great leader. She has now started her own cooking brand and has social media to show how to make meals that are delicious, healthy, and easy for young people to make. […]

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I think being a part of the Little Miss North America organization was a huge part of my success. Sophia J. Thomas is a great leader. She has now started her own cooking brand and has social media to show how to make meals that are delicious, healthy, and easy for young people to make. I am fortunate to have met her when I won the title of Little Miss Pennsylvania a few years ago.


As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Little Miss North America 2021: Bettis Birenbaum.

Bettis is Little Miss North America 2021. She was selected on June 11, 2021, and was officially crowned on June 16, 2021.

Bettis is 10 years old and resides in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania with her parents, sister Layne, and brother Harris. She is a member of PYLAX Lacrosse team and one of two girls who plays on the local NFL Flag Football team. She enjoys swimming, golfing, and riding horses. She is currently learning to play the guitar.

Bettis has worked with several local charities to include: The Bus Stops Here Foundation, Best of the Batch Foundation, JMD Cancer Resource Center and Numerous Veteran’s Charities. She is now an advocate alongside the LMNA organization to focus on the No Kids Hungry non-profit.

Fun Fact: Bettis is named after Hall of Fame football great Jerome Bettis.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about you?

Hello, my name is Bettis Birenbaum and I am Little Miss North America 2021. I live in Pittsburgh, PA in a loving family with my sister, brother, parents, and pets. My parents support my goals and they both work hard to teach me the importance of service to the community. As a former Little Miss Pennsylvania, Little Miss North America 2019 and now Little Miss North America 2021 I have been lucky to travel to see my family and friends and put my title to great use. My sash and crown travel with me just like my iPhone.

Is there a particular organization that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

“The Bus Stops Here” is the foundation started by former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis. I am named after him so I pay close attention to all of the things he has done in his career and how he keeps working for others, especially kids. All year long TBSH works to support kids who are growing up at a disadvantage in their school system. During the holiday time there is a toy drive and then the rest of the year there are many events that help raise money for things the kids need. One big contribution that I have noticed is making sure that they have updated technology in all of their classrooms. It makes me happy that Jerome Bettis often goes to the school and delivers laptops himself. I know that would be as thrilling to me as having the new equipment.

How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I see making a difference in daily things, small simple things like placing a can in a recycling bin and making sure to smile at someone new, having the same impact as huge efforts that are often put forth.

Ok super. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. You are currently in an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?

Yes, I am in the Little Miss North America organization. Our organization celebrates and empowers girls between the ages of 7–12 years old. The Youth Director of the organization is Sophia J. Thomas, who is 12 years old and she is an entrepreneur! Our platform supports the No Kid Hungry non-profit and we help bring awareness to the daily nutritional needs of kids.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up, and do it? What was that final trigger?

I was nervous at first but then my mom pointed out that I was already doing a lot of the things that Little Miss North America does. I knew I liked going out into the community and making new friends and this was almost a formal way of doing so. I also can’t turn down a chance to give my voice to causes that need more visibility.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

I think being a part of the Little Miss North America organization was a huge part of my success. Sophia J. Thomas is a great leader. She has now started her own cooking brand and has social media to show how to make meals that are delicious, healthy, and easy for young people to make. I am fortunate to have met her when I won the title of Little Miss Pennsylvania a few years ago.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I say, “Go For It!” You will never know if you will have that chance again. If you meet someone talk about your focus, share with them what you are doing if you feel like they are interested too. This ends up leading to bigger and better conversations and outcomes.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Millie Bobby Brown and Jerome Bettis. Both of these influencers have been able to use their celebrity to close gaps we are facing in society today. They both have their own style and brands but their business goals are similar to mine and I always pay close attention to who they have partnered with and what they are going to do next.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram at @LittleMissNorthAmerica

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Note: Please contact [email protected] for more info on Bettis.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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