Kelsey Elizabeth Matthews is a first-generation college graduate, mental health provider, community and social activist, advocate, and four-time pageant titleholder across Connecticut and Nevada. Kelsey is described as a tenacious advocate and passionate leader who serves her community with boldness, assertiveness, and eagerness to create change. Originally from East Haven, Connecticut, she relocated to Las Vegas in 2016 to obtain Nevada residency to attend her dream school, the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She is the current reigning Miss Nevada Volunteer 2022 and will be the first from Nevada to compete at the national Miss Volunteer America Pageant in Jackson, TN.
Kelsey graduated with honors from the College of Southern Nevada, Class of 2021. A Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society alumni and current member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, her passion for higher education and service is evidenced in her high academic achievement. Kelsey currently studies Social Work at the UNLV, with a concentration in Service Learning in the Honors College. She also studies Christian Ministry at LEAD School of Ministry and Marketplace. Most notably, Kelsey is a nominee for the 2022 Hertog Political Studies Fellowship and was named a finalist for the 2022 Harry. S Truman National Scholarship, a highly competitive, merit-based award offered to students who intend to attend professional or graduate school to prepare for careers in public service. Kelsey was selected as one of 189 finalists out of 705 national applicants. Kelsey plans to go on to obtain her Master of Social Work and Juris Doctorate, ultimately to become an attorney and advocate for social justice, legislative change, and public interest, and hopes to one day run for public office.
Kelsey’s involvement within the community has been described as extraordinary. She has a heart for those touched by substance abuse, advocating passionately for recovery and dedicating her life’s work to this population both as a volunteer and an employed professional. As a National Ambassador for Shatterproof, Kelsey has been actively involved with the Nevada Senate, assisting in passing Assembly Bill 374 and Senate Bill 390 in 2021, both related to substance abuse. She is also a licensed volunteer for Clark Country Department of Family Services and Child Haven, sits on the Board of Directors for H.O.P.E Compassionate Healthcare and State Committee for the Nevada Recovery Advocacy Project, and is a member of the National Mobilize Recovery Conference.
Her activism and passion for serving her community don’t stop with Shatterproof’s plight to end addiction. As the former Miss Shoreline’s Outstanding Teen 2015, Miss Battle Born 2019, Miss Las Vegas Volunteer 2021, as well as her current state title, Kelsey can be seen speaking and volunteering throughout her community and state, using her crown to give back and her and platform, The Treasuring Tracey Project, to bring awareness to the opioid crisis that plagues our nation– the very crisis that took her mother’s life in 2016. Her ambitious nature has led to dozens of partnerships with local, state, and national organizations. Some of her partnerships local to Las Vegas include Foundation for Recovery, Horses4Heroes, Crossroads of Southern Nevada, Vegas Stronger, and Teen Challenge. Kelsey hopes to one day launch her platform into a full 501c3 non-profit organization.
Kelsey is an overcomer, someone who has survived the unthinkable and is determined to use her life experiences and God-given gifts and talents to make a difference in the lives of others and leave a positive impact on the world around her. If Kelsey could leave behind any legacy for herself, it would be one of strength, resilience, overcoming, and most of all, Jesus. It is her greatest hope and aspiration to create change for generations to come.