After a late night in the U of M Homecoming parade
, I survived the early wake-up call to go to the Autism Speaks
walk at the Mall of America (with a little help from a friend called Starbucks). I met up with Michelle, our Pre-Teen queen, and her mom to walk for a very great cause. I got to catch up and hear all about how busy Michelle has been which has included modeling in a charity runway show and shooting her very first music video. How cool! We signed some shirts, did a lap around the bottom floor of MOA (which I now have pretty much memorized), and got to run under a giant parachute which was pretty much like reliving the BEST days of gym class in kindergarten. I'm always a little kid at heart.
Signing T-shirts for some girls
Giant parachute time!
Michelle & I
Love being active in the community
Kylie, Ava, and I
Then a quick change into some 2008 NAM Nationals hot pink gear and I was off to represent NAM at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk which I have been fortunate enough to attend multiple times. I met up with my two littlest queens, Kylie (Princess) and Ava (Jr. Pre Teen), and their families and friends to walk over 3 miles...which is a long way for little legs! We were also joined by the 2007 Miss Minnesota Teen, Samantha. Together we braved the weather which kept switching from misting to sprinkling just slightly which wouldn't have been a problem if you weren't wearing a crown that could tarnish! Hence why the crowns were taken off half way through and gloves and hats put on. Oh Minnesota weather.
I had such a blast at this event not just because I got to wear hot pink and show support for such an amazing cause, but I got to hang out with kids. Living in the city, I don't get to spend much time with kids and I had forgotten how insightful they are. Parker (Ava's little brother) and I talked about the airplanes flying overhead and how cool it was that we could hear them before we could see them because of all the fog in the sky. We explored an all too tempting weeping willow tree and agreed it should be in a Taylor Swift music video. I gave piggy back rides, talked about best friends in kindergarten, and got to pet the biggest dog Parker has ever seen, a Bernese Mountain Dog. Hanging out with two Kindergarteners and a third grader made me realize how precious life is at any stage in life and that there is no "too young" to start giving back. I'm so proud of my two youngest sister queens that show age is just a number. Even though I may be 19, spending the day with Kylie, Parker, and Ava reminded me it's okay to stop and explore, enjoy the little things of life, and support each other on what seems like a road that will never end. Because let's face it, all we really need to know we learned in Kindergarten.
My Princess, Kylie!
Our team of walkers
Parker and Ava, my dream team = ]
We made strides!
FINISHED! And I did the whole walk in sparkly tennis shoes
Hanging out and talking about dance class
We had to stop by this weeping willow which we all agreed was pretty awesome
Almost to the finish line as Parker chows down on some M&Ms
"When kids volunteer it tells others that they don't have to be perfect or famous or even grown up to make a difference."
- Kalynn Dobos, age 7