The academic scholarship award winner will be announced tonight, and I wanted to share my essay with you! I worked quite hard on it and I’m really pleased with how it turned out, so I thought it would be cool to post it in a blog post. Enjoy!

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What do you consider to be the single most important societal problem? Why?

Society has its fair share of issues, making it incredibly difficult to decide which is the most important. Childhood obesity, the treatment of other races, and the replacement of real conversation with technology are three very prevalent problems in society today. However, there is one problem that is quite possibly the most important and widespread, and that is poverty and the blind eye that the public turns towards it. Many people subscribe to the belief that because they cannot see the problem in person, it is not a huge issue and there is nothing that they can do about it. This belief is completely false – at least 80 percent of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day, meaning that a vast portion of the human population is living in poverty. In addition, poverty is a problem that not only exists in third-world areas, but is also something that is present in first-world society. The incredibly widespread nature of this issue makes it the most important, and biggest, societal problem today.

UNICEF states that 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. These children are living in some of the poorest, most secluded villages on earth, meaning that these deaths are away from the public eye. A major contributor to first-world society’s general lack of knowledge about poverty is due to the fact that a large portion of it is secluded, away from the media, the public, and the population’s thoughts. Poverty is extremely present in third world countries across the world, specifically Africa, South Asia, and parts of Latin America. A huge portion of the world is impoverished, and a majority of the world’s wealth is concentrated in a very small portion of the population. In fact, three-quarters of the world’s income is distributed within the wealthiest twenty percent of humans. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow larger, meaning that the wealthy are getting wealthier and the poor are getting poorer.

Though a large portion of the world’s poverty is located in third world countries, it is also an important issue within North American society. In 2012, over 870,000 Canadians used food banks each month, which is the highest recorded number ever. In addition, between 150,000 and 300,000 Canadians are “visibly” homeless, meaning they are living on the street or in drop-in centers. In 2010, 15 percent of Americans were classified as living in poverty. So while this issue may seem as though it is only concentrated in third world countries, this is not the case. Poverty is present everywhere, though the severity of it can vary country by country. A majority of people living in North America at first associate the concept of poverty with areas like Africa and South Asia, but all it takes is a quick trip to a homeless shelter to see that this is completely false. Homelessness due to poverty is an extremely important problem in societies around the world, especially in places like Calgary and Edmonton where winters can reach extremely low temperatures.

While the concept of poverty is the main issue at hand, the lack of public awareness regarding it is another problem in and of itself. Many believe that because they have not experienced poverty first-hand, they cannot do anything to help. However, there are numerous options available to anyone. Simply donating or volunteering at a local food bank or drop-in center requires very little time commitment and can be extremely beneficial to those in need. Many people benefitting from soup kitchens and charities are incredibly grateful for what they are receiving, and some have very intriguing stories to tell. Holding a fundraiser for a local or national charity, like Free the Children or World Vision, is also an option, both to raise awareness of this societal issue and to contribute funds towards it. If all else fails, there are numerous organizations today that bring groups of people from North America into countries suffering from extreme poverty, including Live Different and Me to We. While it may seem as though the problem is too vast to tackle, this is not the case. Any level of involvement can help, little by little, to reduce the impact of poverty on society.

Of all of the problems that are present in modern day society, there is one that is the most prevalent, and that is poverty. Its worldwide presence, its impact on such a large percentage of the human population, and the blind eye that first-world society in general has turned on it make it the most important societal issue at the moment. By recognizing the problem, becoming educated about it, and taking steps to eradicate it, such as volunteering locally and working internationally, society could drastically reduce the number of impoverished individuals and improve the future for those in need.

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I’d like to start this blog off by apologizing for missing yesterday – but I was exhausted before I got to bed and the day wasn’t incredibly exciting anyways! It was still busy, however – we started out by receiving breakfast in bed (Michelle, Christi and Courtney rock!) and then we headed upstairs of rehearsal. We rehearsed all of the choreography for finals night for a few hours, and then the ladies from Motives Cosmetics arrived to do our hair and makeup! I brought in pictures for what I wanted for both my hair and my makeup this time, and I was so happy with how it turned out. My makeup artist was especially amazing because she talked me through everything that she was doing, and she did a fantastic job! I absolutely loved the look that I got. When hair and makeup was finished, we were fitted for our bathing suits (which are BCBG brand! WHAT?!) and our shoes, which are really cute! Then we got an hour and a half or so to hang out in our rooms and get ready for preliminaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preliminaries began officially at 9 pm, and they were a blast! Of course, I feel that I could have done better because I was a little nervous once I went on stage, but I had a lot of fun. I have no idea whether or not I made top 20, but I know that I’ll be happy either way!

The next day, we slept in for a bit, which was awesome. We were brought upstairs at 10:30 and we rehearsed for about six hours. During this time, the gorgeous top four photogenic girls got their hair and makeup done, and did their photoshoots! We also got fitted for our opening number dresses, which are white lace and are really cute. After rehearsal, those performing a talent got a bit of time to practice, and then we had a little while to get ready for the gala.

The gala started at 8 pm ish and it was absolutely amazing. 25 of us performed talents, and the rest of the girls presented their platforms. I was really impressed with how well-spoken and eloquent everyone was when they presented their platforms! All of the talent people did fantastic as well – I know that the judges will have a very tough job ahead of them as to deciding who will win the talent prize. I played my flute, and though it wasn’t my best work, it was really fun to get up in front of everyone and share what I love with them. Of course, everyone looked stunning in their fancy gowns as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s almost 2 am so I’ll probably be pretty tired tomorrow – but I knew that I had to get a blog up before finals night! I’m so excited for tomorrow and I can’t wait to see what it brings. By this time tomorrow someone will be crowned Miss Teenage Canada 2014, and I can’t wait to see who it is. Thank you so much for following me along on this journey – I know I had a ton of fun. Here’s to tomorrow being a success!

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I’d have to say: today was probably my favourite so far! It started off pretty slow, but the end of the night was absolutely amazing.

We slept in a little bit longer today (7 am! Woo!) and then went to breakfast at the Grenadier Cafe again. Breakfast was delicious, just like last time, and I really appreciated the restaurant for having us back and serving us again! After we finished eating, we went back to the hotel and rehearsed for quite a while. We got lots of practice on both our swimwear and evening gown walks, which was much needed (especially for me), and then we spent a good two and a half hours choreographing the opening number for finals night. It is actually coming together really nicely and starting to look really cool! Sean always does such an amazing job with the choreography.

After a quick bite to eat and a couple minutes to get ready, we headed out to Medieval Times for dinner. I had no idea what to expect going into this and I have to admit, I was pretty nervous at the prospect of having to eat a chicken leg with just my hands. However, it turned out to be an absolutely amazing show. The food was delicious, though there was quite a bit of it, and the show was extremely entertaining and fun to watch. We had a blast screaming and cheering on our knight, and it’s the most fun I’ve had in quite a long time! I’m so happy that we went and I managed to keep an open mind about it, because it’s turned out to be one of my favourite events that we’ve done thus far. Thank you so much to Medieval Times for sponsoring and having us, and I’ll definitely back! It’s a show that I would love to see again!

We practiced our walks a little in our hotel room, and it’s about time for bed. We finally get to sleep in tomorrow, which I’m extremely excited for! I also heard rumours of pancakes for breakfast – so I just know that it’s going to be a good day. Preliminaries are also tomorrow night, so wish me luck! Expect an update about how everything went tomorrow night. :)

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What a fun day! We were up at 5 am this morning and we’re finally getting to bed now at 12 am – so it was long but very rewarding :)

When we woke up we had a bit of time to get ready and then we were off to be on Global News. We were on at 7:20 ish for the local Toronto news, and then at 9 something for the national news! The newscasters drew names and questions for certain delegates to answer, and though the questions were quite tough, everyone spoke incredibly eloquently. I was really impressed (and proud of us!).

After we finished at Global, we went directly to visit the CN Tower! Personally, it was my third time being up, but it was still incredibly fun nonetheless. It’s funny how no matter how many times you see that beautiful view, it’s still breathtaking! We took lots of pictures and before we left, we did a lot of camera work for the promo video next year, which was really fun. I love how we can have a chance to really have fun and be silly! I’m also really glad that we got the chance to visit the tower – I know a lot of girls really enjoyed seeing it for the first time and I’m really happy that they got the chance!

We left the tower and went back to the hotel for food around two, and we had an hour or so to relax. After an accidental nap (oops!), we went to the Eaton Centre, which just so happens to be my favourite mall in the whole world! The centre is three floors of glass and gorgeous architecture and there are more stores than one can even imagine. We got an hour and a half to shop and look around (and buy Starbucks) and then we received $10 gift cards courtesy of the Eaton Centre to get dinner! Thank you so much to the mall for sponsoring us – it’s so cool to have been sponsored by my favourite shopping establishment!

After the mall was rehearsal, and I finally feel like my swimsuit walk is improving. Everyone that I ask has such good advice and really knows what they’re talking about, so I really appreciate everyone that has helped me out! After rehearsal I finally got my eyelash extensions done by the lovely Queenie from Golden Glamour Goddesses, and I couldn’t be happier with them! She finished them pretty late, so I wasn’t able to take a picture of them tonight. But I can’t wait to not have to wear mascara :)

Lots of rehearsing and a trip to Medieval Times are both on the agenda for tomorrow, so stay tuned for a blog post update tomorrow night!

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The longest day I’ve had in a very long time was today. But I had so much fun! This morning, we all had to wake up around 4 am to be ready to go on air at 6:20 to be on Breakfast Television! We ended up being there for a while, but it was awesome to see everything behind the scenes, and, obviously, to be on TV! The hosts of the show were all hilarious and it was overall an amazing experience.

After we finished at Breakfast Television we headed to High Park in Toronto to eat breakfast at the Grenadier restaurant! Maybe it was just because I was so hungry, but the food was delicious and much needed. When we were finished we headed back to the hotel for a hair presentation by Schwarzkopf Canada, which was incredibly useful and informative! We also received two products that we could use in order to put their tips to good use. Keep track of my twitter and instagram to see some of the tips I learned from the Schwarzkopf ladies!

After the hair presentation we had an absolutely amazing lunch provided by Panera Bread. I’ve always been a huge fan of Panera Bread and had no idea that they existed in Canada!

At the end of lunch we headed out to the Yorkdale Mall to have a meet and greet at the Bench store. Lots of people were taking pictures with us, and we got to browse around the store and tweet and instagram all over the place! Thanks so much to Bench for having us! Before we left Yorkdale mall, we had to have dinner as well – and dinner was graciously provided by the people at Yorkdale. I was able to have Chipotle for the first time in my life, which is a food chain that I thought also only existed in America! It was DELICIOUS.

When we left Yorkdale mall we had about an hour of relaxation time and then we went upstairs to rehearsal. After two and a half hours of choreography and walking in heels, we received our amazingly comfortable Hi-Tec Canada sandals, and then it was time to turn in for bed! Today was a really fun and busy day and I can’t wait for tomorrow. We have another early call time, but we’ll be going on Global National which makes it all worth it!

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Today was a crazy busy day! We had a 7:50 am call time to get into hair and makeup (done by the amazing Motives Cosmetics ladies!) and then when all that was finished, we each had a video shoot, photoshoot and interview to do! I found the video shoot to be a little nerve wracking (just because it wasn’t something I was used to) but I had a lot of fun and it was nice to get out of my comfort zone. All of the girls looked absolutely stunning in their cocktail dresses!

Tonight, Golden Glamour Goddesses provided discounted spray tans and eyelash extensions for the girls. I’m going to be getting eyelash extensions, but it has to wait until Tuesday because they take so long to apply! It’ll be worth it, though – these ladies really know what they’re doing!

It was a long day and a bit of a crazy one, but of course, a lot of fun. Tomorrow we have lots in store, including meeting four new sponsors and being on Breakfast Television! (6:20 am Toronto time if you’re eager enough to tune in!) Thank you so much to our sponsors for today and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings :)

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Yesterday was our first day in Toronto for Miss Teenage Canada, and it was so much fun! I had to get up at 4 am to get to the airport for my 6 am flight, and ended up landing in Toronto at 12 pm. I had lots of time in my hotel room to relax, and then I met my roommate, Kyrie!

Around 6:30 pm we all headed up to the welcome party, where we met four of Miss Teenage Canada’s amazing sponsors! Golden Glamour Goddesses is offering on the go spray tans and eyelash extensions, Wright Salon was there giving ten minute massages, Hi-Tec Shoes offered us each a pair of super comfortable sandals, and Motives by Loren Ridinger will be providing hair and makeup for the entire week! It was really cool to meet all of the sponsors and get to talk to them about their brand and what they sell. We also got a chance to meet each other and talk, and it was awesome to finally be able to meet everyone in person! The welcome party was a great way to start off the week.

My first day here consisted of a lot of travelling and a lot of sitting, but in the end it was a lot of fun! I’m looking forward to the rest of the week even more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Because I will be leaving for Toronto TOMORROW, I wanted to post a final thank you to all of my sponsors, partners, and supporters throughout this journey. Each and every one of you has contributed towards this week and I am incredibly grateful for all that you have done for me!

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First, I wanted to thank my official sponsors for the Miss Teenage Canada pageant. If you are interested in checking out any of these companies, simply click on their link and you will be directed to their website.

Bridgehouse Asset Managers

Corey Low at Icon Orthodontics

Dave Severson at Time Music Studios

Frilly Lilly Aspen Landing

Laura at Sundrops Tanning

David Reinks at the Glossary Jewellery

Bev Parken at Park Lane Jewellery

Sharon at Splurge Flowers and Gifts

Dawn Kidd at Nucerity International

Chinese Laundry

Tony Chan (TinoPhoto)

Bradley Hartzler (Bradley Hartzler Photography)

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A huge thank you also goes out to those who helped me with my Free the Children fundraiser, both by attending as vendors and by donating prizes. The turnout for the fundraiser was amazing, and we were able to put together an awesome door prize comprised of donations from all of the vendors!

Beverly Parken and Chauntel Swann at Park Lane Jewellery, both for their donations as vendors and their outstanding help with organizing the fundraiser

Amy Lemieux at Scentsy

Deanna Jones at Jockey Clothing

Jan Massinon at Arbonne Cosmetics and Skincare

Kerri Forcier at Epicure Spices

Chantelle Smith at Jamberry Nails

Laurel Sopher and Carla Stebbings-Davila at It Works!

Kate Newburn

Paisley Newburn

SCA Community Association 

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Another important thank you goes out to everyone who purchased a bracelet off of my Etsy site, or who donated through me to Free the Children!

Beth Rushing

Bert Heembrock

Fadwa Khourieh

Graeme Newburn

Tom Newburn

Jordan May

Peggy Squires

Ellen Dockman

Kathy Ward

Natasha Brubaker Garrison

Bridey Connolly

Susan de Ridder

Kim Dejikhangsar

Patty Krier

Diana Bernier

Diane Warwick-MacDonald

Danielle Wahl

Jan Parent

Fiona Tower

Jill Thompson

Esther Jackson

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And one last huge thank you goes to the organization my platform is based on, Live Different. I contacted this organization a little while after I was crowned to ensure that it was okay that I represented them, and they had no problem with it! Because of them I am able to go back to Mexico at the end of August and experience building another house for a family, and I am incredibly excited for it. I’m very happy to be representing them, and even have them linked at the top of my Facebook page.

I cannot thank all of you enough for your contributions towards my goals, and I am so happy with what I accomplished so far as Miss Teenage West Calgary. I’m incredibly excited for this week to come – so thank you for making it all possible!

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So before I leave for Toronto, I wanted to write a blog post organizing each appearance that I have made thus far, and include a picture from each event! Thank you to everyone who supported me at these events – I had an amazing time at all of them.

Festivals/Runs/Misc. Events:

The Calgary Woman’s Show Day 1 (May 3rd)

The Calgary Woman’s Show Day 2 (May 4th)

The Kingsland Farmer’s Market Spring Fling Festival (May 19th)

St. Martin’s Spring Tea (May 19th)

The Calgary International Children’s Festival Day 1 (May 22nd)

The Calgary International Children’s Festival Day 2 (May 23rd)

The Lilac Festival (May 25th)

The Kingsland Farmer’s Market Street Food Festival (May 30th)

The Calgary Marathon (June 1st)

The Strathcona Community Association Stampede Breakfast (June 21st)

The Calgary Greek Festival (June 22nd)

The Bay Bridal Showcase and Fashion Show (June 22nd)

Color Me Rad (June 28th)

The Chinook Centre Stampede Breakfast (July 5th)

The Ten Thousand Villages Stampede Breakfast (July 5th)

The West Market Square Stampede Breakfast (July 5th)

The Stampede Road Race (July 6th)

My fundraiser for Free the Children at the Strathcona Community Centre (July 15th)

Photoshoots/Important People/Media:

Tinophoto Photoshoot

With the Keepin’ It Country Line Dance Club

On the GlobalFest Instagram page

 

On the OPA of Greece Facebook page

With Miss Teenage Calgary at Chinook Centre

With Virgin Radio

In the SCA Gazette

I have had so much fun representing West Calgary so far and I’m so thankful for all of the wonderful people organizing these events for having me. Unfortunately, due to me being in Victoria for school until the end of April, I wasn’t able to make as many appearances as I would have liked, particularly when I was initially crowned. However, I am extremely happy with the amount of community involvement I was able to have over these past three months and I’m really pleased with how everything worked out! Thank you so much to everyone who helped me out with these appearances and especially to my mom and sister for helping take pictures. Here’s to many more appearances, even after the pageant is over! :)

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So while I know that I definitely did not raise the most money of all the delegates for Free the Children, I successfully surpassed the goal of $400, and I wanted to share exactly how I did that! This time around, I didn’t want to just ask for donations – I wanted to ensure that everyone who donated towards Free the Children would get something in return.

My initial idea was to sell makeup brush holders, because I’ve been making my own out of pieces of sample fabric for quite a while (if you’re interested in having one, let me know!). However, I decided that the quality was not what I wanted it to be, and I scrapped the idea pretty quickly.

My mom had seen these types of wrap bracelets all over the web selling for hundreds of dollars, and she decided that she could give making one of them a go. The final product turned out really well, and we decided that we were onto something! I’m not very good with beads and making bracelets, but my mom has made dozens of these gorgeous wrap bracelets and we have sold almost all of them. We decided that one of the easiest ways to sell these bracelets would be on Etsy, so we created our own store (to check it out, click here!). However, we managed to sell a majority of the bracelets in person. Selling the bracelets alone fundraised about 80% of the monetary goal.

To conclude the fundraising, I wanted to have an event that made a little bit of money for Free the Children, but also gave back a little to those who have supported me throughout this entire journey. After planning it for about three weeks, I had managed to secure a venue in my community, seven vendors who generously would be donating a portion of their sales to Free the Children, and numerous silent auction prizes donated by businesses and individuals. Because of my crazy work schedule, my mom and I basically put the fundraiser together the day of (we both did a lot of running around!) and so I was quite nervous that it wasn’t going to go smoothly.

My worries were put to rest as soon as the fundraiser began. We had a decent turnout (between 20 and 30 people) and the door prize, which was comprised of items donated by each of the vendors, was a really good basket of items! People seemed to really be enjoying themselves, and were talking, browsing the vendors, and eating my homemade cookies :) We also managed to see almost all of our bracelets there as well! The night went by incredibly quickly, and before I knew it, it was already 9pm. We managed to sell all of the silent auction items, and each vendor made a decent profit as well. That night alone, we managed to fundraise over $400 for Free the Children, which is a total I never expected. I was hoping for $100-$150 max, and I never expected to make this much in one night! I can’t thank those who came out enough – you are all amazing. A HUGE thank you also goes out to my mom, for all of the running around and planning she helped me with.

I set out to reach the $400 goal for my fundraising, and I more than doubled that goal. I am so happy to have contributed this much for Free the Children, and I’m really excited to have done it in fun, unique ways! Thank you to everyone who bought something or donated – I couldn’t have done it without you.

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