Farewell Note to My Successor

Farewell With Love ❤️

Farewell With Love ❤️

It’s so very hard to believe that a year has flown by as quickly as it did. Last March, as I was being crowned your inaugural Miss Junior Teen Illinois United States 2015, I remember wanting my reign to last forever. Now, one quick year later, I feel like it’s all been a dream; a magical, exciting, thrilling, learning experience, and fun dream. As a farewell to my successor, I say, enjoy every single second!

National Stage MUSO 2015

 

CLICK TO Learn More About Hashtag Lunchbag

Take it all in and then hold on for an amazing adventure. From being crowned, to rushing over to our coronation party by our sponsor Fiesta Mexicana, to sleeping in my new crown, to pinching myself in the morning, to my first photo shoot, to my very first appearance, to my first modeling booking, to my first time volunteering with my favorite humanitarian movement project to fight back against hunger at #HashtagLunchbagChicago, to my event with Miss Iowa World spreading awareness about the epidemic of Childhood Obesity, to my first speaking engagement in front of over 1000 students of the New Trier High School Class of 2019–I’ve been blessed and cherished it all.

And you can bet that as Miss Junior Teen Illinois United States 2016, you will too. Get ready sister queen!

Miss Jr Teen United States 2015 Top 5

Speaking of getting ready, then comes more fun. Before you know it, even though you’ve already spent hours in preparation of capturing your State crown, it will be time to get ready for the pageant’s National competition. That means more coaching with your sister queens, which was SO much fun and hard work. I know you can do it, with the help of your dedicated director, Ms. Susan. I was blessed to have great coaches in the industry like Sarah Glitzer of Spotlight Consulting, Nikki Huber, and even a workshop with Mr. Jorge Esteban Pageant Smart. Take advantage of all opportunities that your director sets up for you.

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After all that work and preparation we put in, I remember this–next to my awesome mother, my director was the loudest person clapping when I finished 2nd Runner Up in the Nation, thanks Mr. Derrick!!

I owe much appreciation to my interview and platform coaches Mrs. Kimberly Triani and Mrs. Sarah Glitzer! I was able to capture the award of Best Interview in all divisions of the Pageant!

I owe much appreciation to my interview and platform coaches Mrs. Kimberly Triani and Mrs. Sarah Glitzer! I was able to capture the award of Best Interview in all divisions of the Pageant!

You are sure to have the experience of a lifetime on the National stage. Pageant week at Miss United States will be beyond fun and exciting. Get to know your pageant sisters from all over the United States. We all share a bond and some of them I’m sure will be my sister queens forever. I’ll never forget the smile on Gracie Gipson from Tennessee after being crowned our Miss Junior Teen United States 2015 that night. Love you Gracie and congrats again on your accomplishment!

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Other special people to shout out to are Ms. Yadira and staff for keeping me Glammed up all year, Ms. Eva for capturing the year in photos, Mrs. Dawn, Ms. Summar, and the entire team behind #TeamIllinois 2015. Last but not least, thank you to my sister queens and pageant moms for all your love ❤️ and help.

 

Pageant sisters for life.

Pageant sisters for life.

I’ll leave you with this. Be yourself, have fun, remember how blessed you are, and do as much volunteer work with your platform as you can. My passions are ending hunger and working to spread awareness about the epidemic of Childhood Obesity. I pray that you are able to use your reign to work closely with organizations you are passionate about too.

ciara hashtag lunchbag chicago group shot

Farewell to my successor, as well as to all of the people who helped to make my year one of the best of my life. I love you all. ❤️

CLICK TO Learn More About Hashtag Lunchbag

hashtag lunchbag quote

Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago Volunteer

Come back to the blog to see who is next to wear the crown. Who knows, it could be you on May 8th, 2016!

 

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What is Food Insecurity?

The day I was crowned I signed on to be a champion of a cause that is near and dear to my heart, fighting to help end childhood obesity. I chose this epidemic as my platform because of what I have seen with my own eyes in my Community, and what I know is going on all over the world. Half of my reign is over, and I’ve already had the chance to meet some great people and organizations dedicated to ending hunger, food insecurity, and childhood obesity. Today I’m blogging about some ways that food insecurity causes more kids in my generation to become obese and deal with their hunger.

So, What is Food Insecurity? – the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food and the anxiety over these food shortages.

Think about it, if you don’t know where your next meal is coming from then you might overeat any chance you get to. Many kids that are homeless look forward to going to school because they know that they will get to eat. Those school lunches that many of us take for granted and even tease about how nasty they taste — well some kids are just happy to get to eat. I’m thinking that is a good reason to support organizations like Let’s Move, that are also pushing for healthier eating and healthy school lunches.

hashtag lunchbag quote

There are others who consistently help homeless and needy people get a healthier meal. The charity I am passionate about volunteering at is called HashtagLunchbagChicago. What I love most is that at least 1000 homeless and hungry people KNOW that they will get to eat lunch every last Saturday of the month. They can count on it! Volunteers get together and make 1000 or more lunches, put them into hand decorated lunch bags, include a hand written message of encouragement–then head into the streets of Chicago to pass out the lunches. We become family and the family grows larger each month as we share it with others. I’m just happy to be able to do something small for people in need. Young people, we can make a difference.

The fear over food shortages can also make people buy less expensive food that isn’t very good for them. They can tend to buy foods with higher calories to avoid dealing with hunger, for example. Also, it’s harder to find a variety of quality and healthy food in poorer neighborhoods. That could explain why poorer kids can become obese and still deal with hunger. I learned that in health class and it’s a huge problem that has more than doubled in the last 30 years. We have to do something about these things. Otherwise, mine will be the first generation to be out-lived by their parents.

What do you think that people of all ages can do in the fight against childhood obesity, hunger, and food insecurity? Please share and thanks for reading my blog. Love, Ciara 🙂

Prevent Lunch Bag Letdown – Let Kids Choose from Healthy Snacks!

I stumbled on this amazing blog about nutrition and how it effects the increasing epidemic of childhood obesity, among other things. I decided to Reblog this post because I know first hand how good it works! We have a drawer in the refrigerator called the lunch box. Snack sized baggies are always there; filled with fresh fruit, nuts and cheese, and cut up veggies. We also put juice boxes, apple sauce cups and other snacks in there. I just grab and go!

Learn more tips about helping to get a handle on childhood obesity at 80 Twenty Rule. 🙂

Dance Movement Towards Better Health

team illinois dance rehearsal fun

I’m really liking this blogging thing. It makes me sort out some of the best moments in my life and how my story might inspire others. I haven’t posted in a while since I’ve been so busy with my reign, community service projects, family, school, and trying to have a social life. But, now that I’ve learned a lot about time management, I want to continue blogging to spread awareness about ending childhood obesity and hunger too.

Today I’m sharing something that is a huge passion of mine. Dance! Ever since I could walk, I was a dancer. I kind of think it was my destiny. When it comes to ending childhood obesity, leading an active lifestyle is very important. What better way to get active than using dance movement towards better health. You can start out with simple moves and let the music inspire you. You can take classes to learn a variety of dances. Whatever you like to do, just do it. The Let’s Move initiative says that we teens and kids need at least one hour of activity each day. Our parents and other adults need at least 30 minutes. Dance is a great way to get this activity in.

Of course you can dance around your house and with your friends in the yard, but there are lots of ways to take classes if you love dance like I do. I was blessed to be accepted into the first public performing arts school of Chicago in my freshman year. Being able to dance there was incredible. Then, because of family challenges, I had to transfer to my local High School this year. It was devastating to me, but I refused to give up my passion and dreams. I now dance in one of the many After School Matters programs, designed to help expose teens to what life has to offer.

You can find free programs in your community too. If you need help let me know, leave a comment and I will get back to you. Remember to get at least 1 hour of activity in each day, 30 minutes for my adult readers. Together we can help end childhood obesity! Love, Ciara 🙂 

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Feeds America’s Hungry

The Letter Carriers’ 23rd annual food drive, Stamp Out Hunger, was held on Saturday, May 9. Letter carriers all over our nation collected non-perishable food donations as they delivered mail along their postal routes. That’s a whole lot of work! In my opinion these letter carriers are heros. Ending childhood obesity, including hunger awareness, is my platform. So, I decided to help the letter carriers this year. Thank goodness for my Miss Illinois United States sister queens, director, and official coaches. The whole team went into action to participate.

Take a look at what we did to help Stamp Out Hunger feed thousands of hungry Americans. 

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive 2015

Have you heard of Stamp Out Hunger? If not, here is what I learned about the community service project.

Fun Facts:

  • It is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, and is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
  • Letter carriers like Chevell Evans are honored to be able to help people in need. Mr Evans accepted our donations and helped us get them into his postal van. I loved the really cool and fun t-shirt he wore.

Ciara and Stamp Out Hunger Letter Carrier

  • Hunger affects about 49 million people around the country, including millions of children and senior citizens. And one in four households with a member currently serving in the U.S. military turns to a food bank for food assistance.
  • People are encouraged to leave a bag full of non-perishable foods such as canned soup; canned vegetables; canned meats and fish; pasta; peanut butter; rice or cereal next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday.
  • Carriers will bring the food to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with Feeding America, which is a national partner in the drive.

NOTE: If your donation was not picked up, contact your local post office or simply place your donation by your mailbox on Monday instead. – Director of Community Services

When I think about how many children and families will be able to eat because of the food drive, it makes me really happy. Being able to give back to my community is an honor. Have you ever participated in Stamp Out Hunger? If not, will you next year? 

Love, Ciara

Join Relay For Life Team Miss Illinois United States Organization

Did you know that Relay for Life has been in the fight against Cancer for 30 years? That’s a very long time. I learned that the fact that cancer survivors and the people that take care of them never rest, the movement doesn’t get to rest either. The Miss United States Organization is a Relay for Life National Partner and our team is proud and honored to be able to relay this year.

The Miss Illinois United States Class of 2015 Sashes

Join the Miss Illinois United States Class of 2015 Queens Team

Please help us celebrate the 30th year anniversary of Relay for Life by doing one or all of the following:

  • Spread awareness of Relay for Life by giving us a retweet below, share on your Facebook page, or use word of mouth.
  • Donate Now. Support our Team with a donation, dedicate a Luminaria, or join our team and relay with us!
  • Start your own team or locate an event near you to support.
  • Become one of the 1 in 100 people to participate or volunteer in Relay For Life events to fight back against cancer!

History of Relay For Life

In May 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington. $27,000 was raised to help the American Cancer Society fight the nation’s biggest health concern cancer. A year later, 340 supporters joined the overnight event. Since those first steps, the Relay For Life movement has grown into a worldwide movement, raising nearly $5 billion to fight cancer. There is still more work to be done.

Thank you very much for visiting my blog and learning more about Relay for Life and why I relay. Have you been touched by the disease of Cancer? I will relay in honor of cancer survivors, my step-father and young fighter Carolina. Please visit her page on Facebook called Carolina’s Cause. Why do you relay?  Love, Ciara

Five Easy Ways To Help End Childhood Obesity

Wearing my pretty crown and getting all dressed up is not all I do, as your Miss Jr. Teen Illinois United States. It’s about a lot more than that. I’m blessed because I belong to a pageant system that encourages each of us to be a champion for a cause that we are passionate about. My platform is about ending childhood obesity and also stopping hunger. The Miss United States Organization along with Miss World has a ‘Beauty With A Purpose‘ mission that gives us all the opportunity to make a difference in the world.

Because my peers are facing an epidemic that can cause some pretty scary diseases, I want to help STOP it. If we can end childhood obesity now, the next generation will have a better chance at life. Here are some facts from the Campaign to End Obesity that kind of scared me:

  • Obesity is linked to more than 60 chronic diseases.
  • According to the American Cancer Society, obese adults are at increased risk for all cancers.
  • Obesity contributes to two-thirds of all heart disease, according to the CDC.
  • 66 percent of American adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis are overweight or obese.
  • Over 75 percent of hypertension cases are directly related to obesity
  • More than 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

Sounds bad right? Well it doesn’t have to be. We can do some things that will eventually help end the epidemic of childhood obesity. I’m a pretty positive girl and I think we CAN do it!

Five Easy Ways To Help End Childhood Obesity

  1. Get Active! It doesn’t have to be a marathon race or basketball game, but just start moving. I dance and that helps to keep me in shape. But, I also have friends who skate, run, walk, do yoga, play tennis and other sports. Even just walking around the mall counts as activity! (just don’t stop for cookies or pizza) The Let’s Move organization recommends 30 minutes of activity a day for grown-ups and 1 hour for us kids. We’re young, we can do it.Dance is a great activity to help end childhood obesity.
  2. Eat Healthier! Now it isn’t easy for most kids to eat healthy without the help of our parents, schools, and programs. But we can make better choices. We can pick fresh fruit over junk food on most days. We can also help cook some of our meals to learn how fresh food is prepared. Then comes the hard part for me, we can pledge not to eat fast food so much. Sorry McDonalds, I said it.
  3. Drink Way More Water! Most of us don’t drink enough water. We stop by the water fountain a few times and call it a day. This one is an easy fix, just drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day.
  4. Learn About Nutrition Labels! We have to read labels and really know what we are putting into our bodies. My aunt told me that if I can’t pronounce it, I shouldn’t be eating it.Let's Move School Garden Checklist
  5. Plant a Garden! This actually sounds fun to me. If we all plant one garden we may even take more pride in eating fresh food. By the end of my reign, I would like to plant at least 1 school garden. Leading by example is the best way to get other kids helping to end childhood obesity.

Quick Water Tip: The health experts commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember. Drink up!

What do you think we should do to help reverse the obesity numbers?