Saturday, October 29, 2011

Taking A Risk

Sometimes in life there comes a time where you may be confused, not sure what your next move is going to be. It may be that an opportunity has arrived and you are contemplating moving to a different state, going back to school, or debating whether or not to open up a new business. Whatever the case is, it can leave you feeling confused, excited, anxious, a variety of different emotions that you might have never felt before. This in turn leads to you deciding whether or not you are going to act on these emotions and make a change or ignore them and continue on with your daily activities. The crazy thing about this entire notion is that this particular opportunity may have been before you for years, but yet you refuse to take the risk and accept what may lie ahead of you. 

The reason I bring up this particular topic is because I know people who are currently and have been in this situation before, specifically myself. The one thing I know for sure is that I am very passionate about combating human trafficking but yet I am not sure how to exactly get my point across and continue to make change. The other thing, I know is that I have a voice, a voice that allows me speak against modern day slavery. Now the question for me is how to continue to use these two elements and turn it into a lifelong career. 

These past couple of weeks have been filled with participating in events specifically regarding combating human trafficking such as a meeting with the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force, attending college events and speaking at high schools. All of these amazing opportunities have allowed me to connect with other abolitionists and hear what they have done and are doing regarding the issue of human trafficking. However, even though I have met a variety of different people that have given me some excellent ideas on how to move forward in the future, it was not until the other night that it truly clicked. I was conducting a meeting regarding the topic of public speaking and sharing some key elements to help the group when it comes to giving presentations. At the end of my teaching lesson, two people that I have worked with for the past couple of months pointed out that there are current human trafficking situations happening in an area that I am very familiar with, this would be my chance to step up, go to the area, face the chance of people not listening to me, but not giving up until I got my message across. 

To be honest I was slightly amazed at this comment simply because within five minutes I went from being the teacher to the student. All of these questions and thoughts I have had going into the future seemed to be answered so quickly by two other people, yet the answer never had appeared to be that simple to me. In short, I left the meeting thinking, have my future plans been in front of me this entire time but I seemed to not recognize them?  The answer to this question is …. I still am not sure. I know since that meeting my mind has been racing with many different thoughts; however I am pretty sure I know what I need to do. My point, in life there are going to be situations where we do not always know the answer, and sometimes it takes somebody you are just getting to know to tell you your answer and for you to finally see what you need to do. Regardless of the situation, follow your passion ask yourself what are you truly passionate about? If you could share one message what would it be? Next, follow that passion, if it means going back to school; try it, opening a business; look into it. We are often times so afraid of taking a risk that we refuse to step forward and try. My goal is to take the next step forward, continue to spread my message, and if I get stuck in a rut along the way, to never give up and take the approach that was said by T.S. Eliot, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”     
Yours truly,

Stacy Schaffer
Miss ND International 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tobacco Prevention Youth Summit

Hello again! October 1st,  I traveled to Fargo to meet several of the 2012 North Dakota International Pageant Contestants at the annual pageant power day. Contests learned everything form interview skills to maintaining the perfect walk. The girls were also able to check out a few collection dresses from the 2012 Tony Bowls line provided by Affairs By Brittany! I look forward to hearing more from each one of the girls and getting to know them at the pageant!

This past week I was able to go to Clear Channel Radio Stations to speak about tobacco prevention and my platform of Keeping Teens Tobacco Free.

The sixth annual Bismarck Tobacco Prevention Youth Summit was held Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Bismarck Civic Center. The summit gave teens the opportunity to reach out and educate their peers on the harms of secondhand smoke and the high costs of tobacco use.

Students attending the summit will write and produce television and radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs) targeted to their age group.

All Bismarck public high schools and middle schools, along with St. Mary`s High School and St. Mary`s seventh and eighth grade students will send student representatives and a faculty tobacco prevention coordinator to the Youth Summit.

The Bismarck Tobacco Prevention Youth Summit is organized by Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health to educate students about youth tobacco prevention activities, youth empowerment, and changing social norms. This summit was a huge success and commercials will be airing soon! So I hope again you learned to be smart and don’t start!

Until next time,
I’m Emily Carson
~Miss Teen ND International 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's Not All About You

In the hustle and bustle of today’s world, people often forget that not everything is about ourselves and it is good to make new acquaintances and ask other people questions. It is easy to complain about our own personal lives, whether it is school, our relationships, or the rude comment that somebody said about you, even though you know it is not true. Why is it so easy to get upset about our own life but yet so hard to appreciate what other people have done or are doing? Why is it so difficult to ask the person who is standing next to you in the checkout line at the grocery store how there day is going? Why is it that we spend so much time worrying about what we are going to wear to work that day when there are people that cannot even afford to eat? I bring up these questions because I want people to recognize that there is more to life than just you. In fact there are probably many people you run across everyday that would love to share a little bit about themselves if you are willing to take the time and ask.

Anybody who has ever had the chance to sit down and have a conversation with me knows that I love to ask questions. I have always felt that everyone has a story or has some random fact of knowledge that you could learn just by taking the time to ask. As Miss ND International, 2011, one of my favorite parts of this past year has been receiving the opportunity to meet so many different people, people of all ages. This past month as I have been traveling around North Dakota, there are two stories that come to mind I would like to share. The first one took place at the North Dakota American Heart Association’s Greater Grand Forks Heart Walk. I had the chance to participate in the event, and as I was standing next to the American Heart Association’s booth I noticed a family participating with bright green t-shirts on that said “4 Evan.” As I said earlier, I am a very curious person so of course I asked what the story was behind the t-shirt. There was a little boy, I believe around the age of three, who had severe heart problems and they were doing the walk on behalf of him. Shortly after that I got the opportunity to meet Evan and even though he did not talk much his smile offered more than words ever could. He was a happy baby boy, surrounded by love and support.

Last week I volunteered at the Strasburg Care Center with my Aunt Diane.  It was here that I got the chance to talk with an older gentleman named Bob. Even though Bob did not recognize me, I had remembered him from my young elementary years. My aunt and uncle use to mow his lawn and sometimes when I was visiting I would help out and that was when I first met Bob. He opened a store in Strasburg that is still up and running today by his son. More importantly he was on the committee many years ago that decided to build a care center in Strasburg. In fact, he watched it be built and today that is where he calls home. I sat down with Bob for about 15 minutes, in those 15 minutes I learned more about his life than some of the people I interact with everyday. As I was getting ready to say good bye, he said somewhat that struck me and put a smile on my face, he said something along the lines, “I know you have to get going, but I just love to talk.” I responded by saying, “You are not the only one!”    

Everyone has good days and bad days, but even taking ten seconds out of your day to say hello to a stranger you are passing by and asking them how they are doing could make a world of difference to them. We are not equipped to know what other people are going through, but we do have the ability to take the focus off ourselves and ask other people questions. For me personally, I make it a point whenever I am out and about, at an appearance, in class, or even shopping to say hello to someone new and simply ask, “How are you today?” In the end it is important to remember that life is not all about you, take the time to appreciate the little things.  More importantly, take time to seize the opportunity to listen to other people’s stories and ask questions, you never know when a person might come along and impact you so much that it changes your life forever. 

Yours truly,

Stacy Schaffer
Miss ND International 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Activities

Hello again!
I have had an amazing few days and I am so excited for Fall.  Last week  was  very busy and exciting.  My high school "BHS" had its homecoming! We had a week full of school festivities which ended with a pep rally, tailgate party and football game.  We totally dominated and won 43 to 0!!!  On Saturday I was able to participate in the annual Autumn fest Parade in my very own convertible!  I had a blast and saw many of my family, classmates and friends throughout the route! I was also invited to Fort Lincoln Elementary School to read books to children! I had the best time!!!! All the children were eager to hear about my travels, touch my “sparkly tiara”, and wear my sash! I enjoyed hearing their stories as well. I am very excited to continue my travels and share more stories with you!
Until next time,
I’m Emily Carson,