Isabel Ticlo’s reign as Miss Arizona 2018 may soon be over but the dedicated volunteer who is passionate about helping the visually impaired is getting warmed up for her next crowning achievement — serving as president of the Chandler Lions Club.
Ticlo, 25, of Chandler, will begin her one-year term as president on July 1, taking over from Ruth Jon Wick, who served in the position for three years.
Wick said everyone in the club encouraged Ticlo to step up as president and she was unanimously elected. She added she hopes Ticlo will want to be president for at least another year after that.
Ticlo had served as one of the organization’s vice-presidents last year and first got her feet wet with the Chandler Lions Club 10 years ago while a student at Hamilton High School.
She had been a member of the Leo Club for high school students who work with the Lions and learn about community service.
Her platform as Miss Arizona was to support people with vision impairment, which also is a big focus of the Lions Clubs International and its local chapters.
Ticlo, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing with minors in communications and dance from Arizona State University, works in marketing at Insight, a high technology solutions company in Tempe. She is working on her master’s degree in business administration at ASU.
Empowering the visually impaired is her passion.
“It’s something that we don’t think about every day because most of us are born with our sight,” she said. “There are 200,000 people in Arizona who are visually impaired. I can’t imagine what that would be like one day to lose that…to one day wake up and not be able to see your kids’ faces.
“I’ve met so many people who lost their vision later in life. Adapting to that is terrifying, it’s frustrating. The solutions we can provide; whether they’re prevention solutions or adaptive ones it helps to lessen that pain.”
Ticlo enjoys helping her fellow Lions provide vision tests and glasses for students in need in Chandler Unified.
Vision became a big part of the international Lions clubs’ philanthropy after Helen Keller, an author and activist who became deaf and blind at a young age urged them to champion vision as a cause in 1925.
Ticlo also loves the Chandler Lions Club’s “Blinded by De-Light” events which enable people to feel what it’s be like to be sightless. Last year at one such event, people sat in a movie theater and heard sounds and descriptions of a movie via earphones with no picture on the screen.
The Chandler Lions also sponsor vision forums, free events focusing on macular degeneration and diabetes on vision.
“We want to make sure everyone has the resources they need and be unafraid,” Ticlo said.
During her reign as Miss Arizona, Ticlo volunteered with the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Foundation for Blind Children, the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
She joined people making beaded bracelets at the Arizona Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and handing out medals to those who took part in a 5K run.
In that run, children who are blind would hold onto a pole and a runner with vision would guide them as they ran.
“I was there to hang out with kids and let them have fun,” Ticlo said. “I like to talk to the children.”
She is also excited to tell people about the Be My Eyes free app that links people with blindness or limited vision with sighted volunteers and company representatives who help them do things through live video calls.
Ticlo was thrilled to help a man in Scottsdale figure out how to cook his dinner as he could not see the directions on a bag of rice.
“It was amazing,” she said. “That’s something I would love more people to sign up for.”
When she spoke and met people who had brain injuries during a Rays of Hope 2019 conference in Phoenix, Ticlo was especially touched by a man who had suffered a brain injury when he was struck by lightning. He showed her a mask he painted to tell his story.
Sometimes people believe people who are blind or visually impaired can’t work, she said.
“That’s absolutely not true,” Ticlo said. “I spoke about my experience working with Chandler Lions Club and belief people who are blind or visually impaired aren’t limited by their disability. They are some of the most adaptive and resilient people I have ever met. Any qualified applicant should have the opportunity to pursue the career of their dreams.”
She received the coveted Melvin Jones Award from the Chandler Lions for outstanding contributions to the community.
“It was pretty amazing,” Ticlo said. “You do the work with the intention of just doing good in the world. You don’t expect to win any awards. It’s surreal.”
Wick said Ticlo is well-deserving of honors and is proud of her work in the club and as Miss Arizona.
“She’s been like a walking billboard for not only our Chandler Lions but all the Lions,” Wick said. “It’s been amazing what she has added to our organization…it’s been just a joy to watch her step up and take a leadership role with the high school Leo Club and then join our Lions Club while still attending college and working and still having time to volunteer. I think she’s done an amazing job.
“For the people that meet her, the thing with Isabel that stands out is she is so genuine. Her heart is as good as her beauty. People just find she’s so warm and welcoming and enthusiastic about anything she tackles. I know that all of the members in my club are so excited that she has decided to take on leadership.”
She said Ticlo will likely encourage more young adults to join the Chandler Lions.
“Her youth and enthusiasm will help to bring more youth into our aging Lions organization,” Wick said.
Ticlo said it is intimidating but she is excited to serve as the Chandler Lions president.
“It was intimidating at first because I had really big shoes to fill,” she said. “Ruth Jon Wick has been an amazing president. The Chandler Lions Club is like my second family. I feel inspired by all their stories. Blind people joined. One of my goals is to recruit younger, new members, bring them back and show them we’re still here; we could use their help.”
Ticlo was born in Iowa and moved around often as a child due to her father’s job.
Her father, Harvey, is from India, and her mother, Ganjana, is from Thailand, and she has two sisters. She has an older sister, Genevieve, 27, and a younger sister, Tiffany, 17, who is Miss Glendale’s Outstanding Teen.
As a nod to her heritage, Ticlo performed Bollywood dances while competing as Miss Arizona and at the Miss America competition. She started dancing at 13, doing jazz and hip-hop and then took classes in Bollywood dancing with her mother starting three years ago.
“I moved around a lot as a child and I needed a constant in my life,” Ticlo said. “Dance became my constant and my emotional outlet.”
She started competing in pageants at about 21 and was in the Miss Arizona competition twice previously before winning.
“Every candidate has the opportunity to win a scholarship just by competing on the stage,” Ticlo said. “That was a wonderful bonus. The sisterhood was great. You meet these amazing women.”
Serving as Miss Arizona 2018 also helped her, teaching her how to balance different activities and gave her a chance to make more contacts in the volunteer world.
Lions Clubs International has clubs in over 200 countries and geographic regions and started in 1917. Information: e-clubhouse.org/sites/chandlera