Friday, February 18, 2011

Ana's Story

Everyday we hear stories of adults and children that have gone missing or were a victim of human trafficking.  However, it rarely seems that we hear of these missing people being found.  What exactly happened is left up to the imagination and the question of how to prevent this from happening to you or someone in your family is open for discussion. 

As Miss ND International 2011, my platform is on human trafficking, which is also known as the modern day practice of slavery.  The reason I got into researching human trafficking happened over five years ago when I was a freshman in college.  For one of my classes I was required to hear Patrick Atkinson, founder of The God’s Child Project, who was giving a presentation on modern day slavery.  I went, I listened, and I was hooked! I knew I wanted to find out more and see what I could do to help stop this ever increasing problem from growing.  It only took me a day to decide I was going to quit my job and volunteer for The God’s Child Project instead.  From that point forward, I have continued to research and present on the different topics surrounding human trafficking.

The truth is many people have heard of this term but do not fully understand what it means.  Just to give you a glimpse of how immense of a problem human trafficking is, here are a few basic statistics: human trafficking is the third largest criminal industry in world, 800,000 people are trafficked worldwide each year, and 50% of people trafficked into the U.S. each year are children (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Justice; Free the Slaves).

However, stats show us the problem by using numbers, but to fully understand what exactly is taking place it is important to hear the stories of people who have been saved. To do this I am going to share with you a story, provided by The God’s Child Project, about a girl named Ana.  One afternoon in a small village in El Salvador, Ana was outside playing when she noticed a car driving along the bumpy dirt road.  Ana noticed the car coming but did not recognize the driver or the passenger.  The car pulled over to the side of the road and as the passenger talked to Ana the driver grabbed her from behind.  Ana was trapped and the next thing she remembers is being taken to a Guatemalan town and led into a house. What happened next is hard to imagine but Ana was taken into a room where a man came in and raped her, and then other men entered the room and did the same.  Ana had been taken to a brothel and the only reason she was saved was because a neighbor had grown tired of hearing a small girl cry late into the night and called the police.

This is just one person’s story who was a victim of human trafficking. Nonetheless, it is so important for people to not forget what happened to Ana but also recognize that there are many untold stories out there of people who have not survived to share theirs.  Until next time I will leave you with this thought, “It can take only a moment to destroy a life, but it can take years to put it back together again.”     

Yours truly,

Stacy Schaffer
Miss North Dakota International 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Volunteering for a Good Cause

In today's fast pace society, it often seems that people rarely find time for extracurricular activities, let alone time to volunteer.  On the flip side, people may want to volunteer but do not always know who or what organization they would like to help or where to begin looking.  From a personal point of view, I have had the opportunity to volunteer for many organizations but the one I am going to tell you about today is the American Heart Association.

The first week of February is an exciting/busy time for the American Heart Association because they are gearing up for national wear red day, which was on February 4th this year.  To help spread the American Heart Association’s message, Emily (Miss Teen ND) and I were interviewed on the Country Morning show for KFYR, the Bismarck Tribune, and on national wear red day, we volunteered at North Dakota’s State Capitol to help inform others on how and why it is important to help fight against heart disease and sign people up for the “Go Red for Women” Campaign. 

I had the opportunity to meet many fascinating people and not only was I able to inform others, but in addition many people stopped by the booth at the Capitol to share stories of how they or a loved one had won/lost a battle to heart disease.  Needless to say it was a 50/50 trade-off and I am grateful that people were willing to take the time and share a part of there life story with me.

The week was full of many exciting activities and brand new experiences.  I feel proud that I got the opportunity to represent the American Heart Association as well as be part of the “Go Red for Women” Campaign. 

I encourage everyone to take the time and volunteer, even if it is just for a couple of hours.  It might not seem like much to you, but I can guarantee that for someone else it will make a world of difference! 

Yours truly,


Stacy Schaffer
Miss North Dakota International 2011 




Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Girl Scout Cookies, Ronald McDonald and Mrs. North Dakota Unite!!!

My tastebuds are cheering...and do you know why? 3 little words.....Girl Scout Cookies! They have arrived! This year, direct sales make it possible to get the cookies in your mouth the moment you purchase them! How great!
 
Why Girl Scout Cookies?
The activity of selling cookies is directly related to our purpose of helping all girls realize their full potential and become strong, confident, and resourceful citizens.
  • Girl Scouts learn life skills and are able to realize their goals—and they have fun!
  • Customers get a great product and get to support girls in their own community.
  • All of the proceeds support Girl Scouting in the local community.
On January 30th, I was part of an elite crew of taste testers at the West Acres Mall! Creations were made out of different Girl Scout Cookies...it was a fantastically filling event!
 



 
 
 
On Saturday February 12, at the Holiday Inn, Ronald McDonald and I joined together to raise dollars and smiles for the Ronald McDonald House of Fargo! Our evening began with the celebration with two special little "fighters" whose families have been supported and cheered on during their hospitalization.
 
Only through the generosity of volunteers and donors makes the services of the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley available to over 1,000 family members per year. Families are asked for a $15 per day donation toward their stay, however no family is turned away because of inability to pay. 

Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley
Many families travel far from home to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children. The treatment may last a day, a month, or even longer. It's a long time to be away from home, or to divide a family.
The Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley offers families a way to stay together, in proximity to the treatment hospital, and be comfortable and cared for during their stay.

Allow Families to Face the Weight of Illness Together
Families are stronger when they are together, which helps in the healing process. By staying at the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley, parents can also can better communicate with their child’s medical team and keep up with complicated treatment plans when needed.

Services for Families
At the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley, families can enjoy:
  • Home-cooked meals
  • Private bedrooms
  • Playrooms for children
Depending on the House and availability, these services may also be available:
  • Handicap accessibility
  • Special suites for larger families
  • Transportation to and from healthcare facilities
Ronald and I shared many laughs as we entertained guests of the event and were touched by the generous donations given for deserving families!
 

 
~Shelle Moran, Mrs. North Dakota International 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hi Everyone,
I am so eager to tell you about my exciting rodeo weekend!!! The Mosbrucker PRCA rodeo was in Bismarck the weekend, and many of  you may not know that I have held rodeo queen titles, and am a member of the North Dakota High School Rodeo Association. I have competed in barrel racing, pole bending and have even competed in bull riding where I won a championship buckle!  This weekend I had the honor of joining my rodeo friends for some great rodeo action. I participated in Mosbrucker Championship Rodeo performances Friday and Saturday night where I carried sponsor flags and chased the tie down stock.   I also had the wonderful opportunity to sign autographs at Hoffman's Tack and RCC Western Store. I had a fantastic weekend and can't thank everyone enough for a GREAT time.
Hope everyone has a Happy Valentines week!
Until next time,
Emily --  Miss Teen ND 2011
 
 




 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Women of the Year

YWCA Women of the Year Nomination:
It is with great honor to share the news that I have been nominated for YWCA Women of the Year in the business division.

What is this event?
The Women of the Year event honors special women and businesses whose lives, talents and passions shape the Cass-Clay community.  Proceeds from this special occasion financially support the mission and programs of the YWCA Cass Clay.  Women of the Year recipients will be named during the event on Monday, April 4, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. at the Fargo Holiday Inn
 
What exactly does the YWCA Cass Clay do?
The YWCA Cass Clay is a nonprofit organization serving women and children facing homelessness in our community.  Programs include emergency shelter, transitional and permanent supportive housing, shelter children’s services, education and employment programming, racial justice work and a nationally accredited public childcare center, A Child’s World.  It is through these programs the YWCA Cass Clay carries out its mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.  For more information, visit ywcacassclay.org or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/ywcacassclay
 
Can I come to the event?
Yes! You most certainly can! Individual tickets are $65 (includes dinner). Reserved tables are available also. (A portion of the ticket price is a tax-deductable donation to the YWCA Cass Clay). Contact the YWCA at (701) 232.2547 or email nellis@ywcacassclay.org.
Come and be inspired by all the great women who are striving to make a difference in our Cass-Clay community!
 
It would be a delight to enjoy this evening with you! So please "SAVE THE DATE".
 
All for HIM <><,
~Shelle Moran, Mrs. North Dakota International 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Protection of North Dakota Marriages

As an advocate of marriage tools and building stronger families, it has come as a delightful surprise to me that a marriage/divorce bill was recently proposed.  This bill has been issued by Senator Oley Larsen and the specifics are as listed.
 This bill would provide for a 12 month waiting period before a divorce would be granted, when children are a part of the family. Mandatory counseling would be required before the divorce would be granted after the 12 month period.
I have quickly jumped into action to join and support this mission to protect our children and encourage healthy resolutions.  Our Senators need support and your voices can and will make a difference. Families are a resource that has to be protected. 
We sure could use some help on this divorce bill. Do you have other people who could email our committee members and tell them to support this bill? We will be discussing it in committee next week and many people want to kill the bill. If you had divorced or nearly divorced people who could tell their stories, that would be great. They should send the stories to Sen. David Nething  dnething@nd.gov  Sen. Curt Olafson  colafson@nd.gov  Sen. Stan Lyson  slyson@nd.gov  Sen. Ron Sorvaag rsorvaag@nd.gov and Sen. Margaret Sitte msitte@nd.gov
The time has come to rally for our children!
Shelle M.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hello again everyone!  This past week I was able to go to the North Dakota State Capitol on Friday, February 4th for The American Heart Association's wear red day to show  support for the fight against heart disease.  Stacy (Miss ND) and I were able to play many mind teasing games, check out many cool exhibits, and help register women and men of all ages to join the “Go Red for Women” campaign. 





Stacy and I also had the opportunity to share our knowledge about Go Red For Women with the local media, KFYR TV and the Bismarck Tribune!




It was a great week and I look forward to many more visits with Joan and the Go Red crew!!!
Until next time,
Emily C. -- Miss Teen ND International

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Finding the Perfect Gown

Have you ever experienced a moment in your life where for ten seconds the world around you stopped and the only person present was you, you and yourself, and nothing else mattered?  I recently experienced this exact feeling when I found the perfect evening gown to wear while competing for the Miss International title. 
           
As I was searching for the perfect gown at The Pageant Shop, I tried on a variety of different styles, received plenty of different opinions, and yet still felt as if I had not found exactly what I was looking for.  I felt great in so many of the evening gowns and being able to play dress up, made my day.  I could have tried on dresses all day if it was up to me but I knew I had come with a mission and that mission was to find the perfect gown. 

Finally, the moment came…I found the perfect gown! Instantly as I stood in front of the mirror I was overwhelmed with emotion! I knew this was it, this was the one! Suddenly, the world stopped and it was just me standing in front of a mirror in a gown that made me feel like I was someone truly special! As the ten seconds passed and I came back to reality, I broke into tears, tears of joy!  I was speechless but the smile on my face described exactly how I was feeling! As Helen Keller once said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.”  It is this notion that is able to help people realize when they have made the right decision.

The day I found the perfect gown was a day compiled of shopping, with a photo shoot later to follow.  Needless to say, I was one excited, overwhelmed, lady!  The whole weekend turned into this one amazing experience that I have only ever dreamed about.  To say the least, it was perfect! 


Yours truly,

Stacy S.
Miss North Dakota International 2011

                                               Stacy with dress designer -- Gionni