CARLSBAD — A family tragedy inspired a local woman to promote seat belt and driving safety.
Nadine Chopra, 43, lost two nephews in a car accident last year when they did not buckle up.
The pain led Chopra, a former life coach, toward a new path in life — serving her community. It’s now through beauty pageants that Chopra advocates for seat belts and driving safety.
“It’s very difficult to lose somebody you love, especially when it is kids,” she said. “Especially in this country, it’s amazing how many kids die because of that.”
The South African native’s daughter was already competing in beauty pageants, and together, as part of pageant rules, they began working on community service projects.
Singita Chopra, 5, meanwhile, was recently crowned Junior Miss San Diego County and competes for the state title in August.
Chopra recently won the America Super Mrs. Pageant, her second crown in as many tries.
And while pageants are not necessarily thought of as arenas of social consciousness to the public, it is what sparked Chopra to serve however she could. In addition, it allowed her to become more open, confident and speak publicly.
“When I got on that stage … it felt like I was supposed to be there,” she said. “It definitely changed me. Now, I can stand in front of a lot of people and give a speech and not be nervous.”
Chopra has been involved with other missions such has helping the homeless, the women’s shelter in Oceanside and the Humane Society.
Now, she has her sights set on expanding her commitment to Carlsbad. Just in its infancy, the married mother of two plans on creating a nonprofit and building a safe house for women and children of abuse.
She has done work to assist with the homeless and abuse victims, but Chopra sees a need for a new facility in North County.
Of course, she and her husband have just scratched the surface.
First, they must purchase land, then construct the building, while obtaining licensing and raising funds.
“I’ve always been interested in helping women and children,” Chopra said. “I want to design it for exactly what women and children need in their time of need.”
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.