Sunday, September 30, 2012


I have had a great couple weekends! A couple of weekends ago, I had the amazing opportunity to be on the field at the Minnesota Twins game to help receive a check made out to the ALS Association! It was so much fun, and I felt very blessed to be a part of the check presentation. It was my first time at the Target Field and I really got to see it from such an amazing spot, right on home plate! My cousin drove down with me, and we were unable to stay for the entire game because we drove back the same night. The next day, I got to ride in my hometown Enderlin North Dakota’s Sunflower Days parade. My uncle has a Chevy Camaro convertible and he let me use it for the parade. My sister got to drive the car, but I had so much fun throwing out candy and seeing familiar faces in my hometown.

                Last weekend I was back in the cities for the Minneapolis Walk to Defeat ALS. My amazing roommate came with me and we got to also do a little shopping the night before. Saturday morning was freezing, and of course I was not thinking and didn’t have enough to keep me warm. I still had so much fun volunteering and seeing familiar faces from the Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota ALS Association office. I was interviewed by a local station and that was very fun as well! Before I knew it, my roommate and I were back on the road heading back to Grand Forks.

                This weekend has all been about studying for some difficult exams I have this week. Nursing school is keeping me very busy, but I love every minute of it! I miss my family lots and I can’t wait to see them over Thanksgiving! My mom is doing well, and I talk to her as often as I can. She is such a fighter and I know that I can make it through anything in my life because she has fought through more than I ever have or will.  I miss my pageant sisters Olivia and Ashley as well as my directors Kathy and Allison. They are my family as well, and I can’t wait to see them!

Love Always,
Miss North Dakota International
Erica Lemna




Inspiration Has No Boundaries

The Fargo Quota Fashion Show and Silent Auction has a history of worthy causes and inspirational messages. This year is no different. In its 58th year, the event will be held at the Ramada Plaza Suites Crystal Ballroom on October 11th, 2012 (Silent Auction beginning at 5:30pm and Fashion Show starting at 7pm). Quota means “we share” and it is a world-wide organization that links its members of all ages, occupations, and nationalities, in a sisterhood of service and friendship. It offers its members opportunities to help those in need within their community, grow personally and professionally and make a difference. Quota is proud to announce that Jayden and Wyatt Miller, who were nominated by Beyond Boundaries Therapy Services, have been selected as this year’s recipients for the funds raised!

Jayden and Wyatt are precious twin boys who were put into foster care by the Miller family when they were 9 months old. The boys arrived with a long list of appointments and health problems, but they were up for the challenge. At one time the doctors advised the family that the prognosis for one of the twins was that of a vegetable status; however, with miraculous recoveries and unconditional love, he has grown into a healthy and energetic little boy. His brother has also overcome difficult hardships in his young life. Among many other needs, he has a sensorinerual hearing loss with a condition so sensitive that he may completely loose his hearing, depending on the hit or fall he takes. The family attended about 430 appointments within their first year of fostering the boys. With the extra care, intensive therapies and constant support from the Miller family, the boys have overcome multiple obstacles.

The most incredible part of this story is this. Despite all of the adversity the Miller family has endured financially, emotionally and physically caring for these boys through foster care, they made the decision to adopt them to officially become a part of their family. How incredible is it to know that although there will be continued appointments and scares, their act of love outweighs any hardships that lies ahead. The Miller family reminds us of why we have been created on this planet in the first place…to love unconditionally. Thank you for being an inspiration to us all.

I will be there as the event’s MC. But this event is extra special for a personal reason. This family has blessed my life since the day I began providing speech-language therapy services for the twins over two years ago. They have been such a joy to all who meet them and I am honored to help in any way I can. Please consider supporting this family through a donation, both monetary donations and silent auction items are being accepted. Please email Dani at if you have a donation or would like to attend this evening packed full of fun (only $20!)!

Checks can be made out to Quota International of Fargo. Please mail donations to:

Beyond Boundaries Therapy Services
c/o Dani Helgeson
3001 11th St. S.
Fargo, ND 58103

Thank you for your time and generosity,
Ashley Voigt

Celebrate My Drive


Just this past weekend I was given the unique opportunity to #celebratemydrive at the local mall in Minnetonka, MN. There were drunk driving simulators, texting and driving simulators, roll-over simulators and lots of interactive booths and contests. State Farm puts on this event every year and it occurs in multiple states/cities. The experience was so fun and I was even given the chance to contribute my own personal driving views in a video that is being put together (link soon to come). It was great to see lots of local high schools coming out for the event, learning about driving safety and entering to win one of the many grants awarded to the schools.

This is a link showing a video of Scotty Mcreery thanking everyone for coming out to the celebrate my drive event and pumping everyone up for teen driver safety week (third week in October). Check it out for more info on the different events nationwide that State Farm put on September 15th!


Until next time,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

SLP Facts!

Last week I had the privilege of speaking about my wonderful job to a captivating audience made up of preschool teachers and daycare staff members. I presented information on the disorders Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) target, why early intervention is so important and of course, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library! There are many people who are aware that SLPs work with children who have difficulty producing a specific sound. However, our scope of practice encompasses much more than that! We provide assessment and treatment for individuals ranging from infants through geriatrics in a variety of settings. We offer services for those whose speech, language, cognition, fluency, hearing, voice or swallowing abilities are affected. 

While sharing this information in detail, I gave examples of specific developmental milestones adults should listen for. Because I primarily work with little ones, I wanted to share a few simple, yet valuable facts with you:
®    The sounds that children typically first develop are /p, m, h, n, w/. Children should be able to produce these sounds correctly in all positions in conversation by the age of three.
®    A one year old child should be using vocabulary up to 6 words (other than mama and dada) and by the age of two, their expressive vocabulary drastically increases to 200-300 words.
®    Children should be using 2-3 word utterances at two years old, communicating their wants and needs purposefully and more independently.
®    By age three years old, your child should be consistently using the pronouns your, she, he, we, my, me, I and it correctly in conversation.
®    At four years old, we should be able to understand at least 75% of their speech.
References: Lanza, J.R., & Flahive, L. K. (2008). Guide to Communication Milestones. East Moline, IL: LinguiSystems, Inc.

Another piece of information that is critical to a child’s development is literacy. Children develop literacy skills long before they are able to read (just as we develop language skills before we begin speaking). This is why the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is such a priceless tool families can use to facilitate growth and development.

The point of sharing a few specific facts is this. There are certain “red flags” that children can present where professionals can identify but may be overlooked by others; therefore, I would strongly encourage you to always ask questions. Speech, language and communication are the foundation to learning. Early signs of difficulties in these abilities are a very significant predictor of later literacy difficulties. Asking a professional about your concerns is extremely important because the earlier you address your child’s weakness the sooner progress can be made!

Happy first few weeks of school!
Ashley Voigt


Have you ever had that moment when you finally come to a realization of something? Whether it was something as simple as what you are going to make for supper, do for the weekend, or something as big as what you want to do in life? I bet you have, and when you do, it is such a great feeling because all of the sudden everything makes sense. Well, last week at the Larry Sing Golf Classic in Fargo to raise money for ALS, I had that type of moment.   

                I love helping out the ALS Association in any way I can, so when I was invited to come to the Larry Sing Golf Classic of course I said yes! My mom was going to be there, so I was even more excited to drive down to Fargo for the event. It is a day where people form golf teams, have supper, and then there is a huge silent and live auction to all raise money for ALS. Larry Sing lost his battle in 1997 from ALS, and his family has continued this event in his honor. When I arrived, I started to help sell raffle tickets and at the last minute I was told I was going to speak. I luckily was not nervous at all, because sharing my mom’s and my story is something I enjoy. I was sitting next to my mom waiting for them to call me up and I started thinking to myself. As I listened to ALS volunteers speak, I started thinking about what I was put here on this earth to do. Random, I know, but then it was my turn to speak. As I spoke and looked out over the crowd, I could tell that I really was connecting with everyone. As I finished, and walked off the stage, I right then and there had my AHA moment as I looked at my mom walking back to my table. You all know that I want to carry my platform throughout life, but it wasn’t until that moment that it really hit me. I finally realized that God has put me on this earth to not only become a nurse, but to carry out my platform with all my heart and for all my life. A rush of emotion swept over me, and I lit up with joy. I know it may sound funny because I have always had passion for my platform, but I always thought it was too simple, that I wasn’t making a big enough difference. But in that moment, I realized just how many lives I have touched and the many more lives that I can touch in the future. To me, that is by far nothing “too simple”. I have my mom to thank for it all, because she is my inspiration and it was looking into her eyes that I realized everything. I will never forget August 27th, 2012, the day I had my AHA moment.

Love always,
Miss North Dakota International
Erica Lemna