Pageant queen Ella Collins-Godden has been recognised by the mayor of Florida for her community and charity service.
She won two international titles, plus many awards and accolades, at the Royal International Miss finals in Orlando.
Travelling to America to represent her country at an international pageant fulfilled a dream for the 17-year-old from Shoreham, who was named Royal International Miss UK Teen last July.
Ella said: “This has truly been an amazing experience, one I shall never forget.
“People are misinformed about pageants – they believe it is all about make up and bling, but the girls, women, men and boys who take part volunteer in their local communities, raise thousands of pounds for charities, become ambassadors for their platforms and go on to live fulfilled, happy lives.
“My platform is raising awareness of mental health among young people and I have launched my own mental health organisation called Friends of the People Organisation.”
Ella began competing in pageants five years ago to overcome bullying and always had the goal of competing internationally.
She was part of a team of five travelling from the UK to Florida and finished first runner-up in Royal Model, fourth runner-up in the main competition.
She said: “The whole experience in Orlando was incredible. I met some truly inspiring people.
“This particular system, Royal International Miss, is about being a positive role model and helping others.
“I will be sad to hand over my national title in August but I will continue to represent my title and support the new title holder to the best of my ability.
“It will be a really sad time for me but I’m excited to follow my successors journey.”
Ella raised the money to travel to Florida through sponsorship and crowdfunding. She said without help, should would not have been able to go to the pageant to fulfil her dream.
She will be crowning the new Royal International Miss UK Teen in Manchester on August 13.
Her latest project is the Summer of Service Challenge, launching on August 1, to encourage everyone to do one good deed per day throughout the month.
“It might be sending a happy text message to a friend or baking cakes for the local firefighters and other emergency services, clearing litter from a local park or donating to your local foodbank,” she explained.
Follow Friends of the People Organisation on Facebook for more information.