Thursday, September 30, 2010

Red Dress Gala Raises $48,000 to fight the #1 killer in women, heart disease

I had the most incredible opportunity to serve as guest speaker for the Alpha Phi Red Dress Gala at ASU! What an experience that I will never forget! The hospitality extended to me from the sisters of the Gamma Pi Chapter at Arizona State University was more than I could have ever dreamed of! You ladies will always have a special place in my HEART!

All proceeds (a whopping $48,000 raised in one evening) from the Red Dress Gala will benefit the Alpha Phi Foundation, the Heart Foundation. A nonprofit organization, the Foundation is the philanthropic partner of Alpha Phi International Fraternity, one of the oldest national sororities. The Foundation empowers women to give. Funds raised help to improve women’s heart health, support our sisters in need, and educate about the value of philanthropy with a priority to support programs that study heart disease and its treatments in women.
With Katelyn. What an amazing young woman. She took care of me the entire weekend. She was in charge of booking my travel arrangements, my hotel and made sure I was treated like a sister and a queen! Thank you Katelyn! AOE

With Alpha Phi Sister, Emily Johnson…also a former competitor in the Miss Teen International Pageant! Such a joy meeting this amazing young woman!

More about our sisterhood…Alpha Phi’s are leaders, scholars, contributors, lifetime members of a sisterhood that value these traits. Alpha Phi is a sisterhood of outstanding women supporting one another in lifelong achievement, a sisterhood that values the past but looks forward to the progress and promise of the future. We are dedicated to promoting sisterhood, cultivating leadership, encouraging intellectual curiosity and advocating service. Alpha Phi develops character for a lifetime!!!

I shared with the 400+ in attendance how Alpha Phi helped develop my character for a lifetime, instilled in me impeccable leadership abilities, loyalty, service, and love for others. It helped lay a foundation of service and a spark to help others and the world around me.

Today, the Alpha Phi spirit is alive and well in me…a pioneering spirit, a commitment to excellence, and the strong desire to help others…these are some of the qualities I gained as an Alpha Phi!

I’m so glad I never stopped living the Alpha Phi Mission! As Mrs. International, I am devoting my year of service to help others build their families through the miracle of Adoption…in hopes that my own adoption story will give them hope and inspire them to never give up on their dreams of building a family. I am also supporting the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Movement! Come to think of it, it’s a perfect fit…the Joy of Giving and still living the Alpha Phi Mission as Mrs. International 2010. Alpha Phi’s Foundation is the “Heart Foundation” fighting the #1 disease in women and the International Pageants has the national alliance with Go Red to do the exact same thing!

During my presentation, I shared with the ladies that heart disease remains the #1 killer of women taking 1 in 3 women each year…approximately one woman every minute!!!

I encouraged them and I encourage YOU to take a strong stance against heart disease. Make it your mission to stop the #1 killer by empowering other women to take care of their hearts. 80% of cardiac events in women can be prevented by making the right choices for their hearts! I challenge each one of you to lead by example! Use your voice, share your story, GO RED, make heart healthy choices and you can HELP SAVE LIVES!

Get Inspired, Take Action Today…Save Lives!



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

International Food Festival

Food, great weather, fun music… that’s right - I got to experience my first festival in DC – The Adam’s Morgan Day Festival! The weather was fantastic, and there was so much to see I only remembered to take ONE picture!

It’s great to be able to experience different cultures through food, & that’s just what this festival let me do. I even got a really cool handmade bracelet. It was a really great International experience!

Ashley Smith

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mrs. International is MARCHING to beat Breast Cancer!

Angela’s Army Update….Our goal of $11,000 has been replaced with the most recent total…. $13,020

I am so excited to be honoring the life of my sweet cousin, Angela Wike! Angela was a brave, intelligent, and beautiful woman who was passionate about this fight! Join me, Halle-Grace, Jason, and my entire family this Saturday as we honor Angela’s life at the Susan G. Komen Race in Charlotte, NC.

This is a personal invitation to join our team this Saturday, October 2, 2010! We are geared up and ready to MARCH in Angela’s Army! Every $1 counts. Help our team double our goal!!! After losing Angela and my grandmother this spring, I know firsthand that cancer does not discriminate nor does it care how old you are or who you are….Let’s BEAT this ugly disease!!!

Until next post, remain blessed!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon

This past Sunday, I volunteered at water stop number 7 at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge half marathon on behalf of the American Heart Association. It was a very early morning; we got up before 5 am and had to be at the event by 6:45 am to start filling up the water and power aide cups for the 5,000 marathon runners!

Miss DC International, Chelsey Rodgers, and I manned the water stop as a team. It started out pretty slowly with a few runners coming through, and of course the fastest, most competitive runners had no time for our water, but by 9:00 am we were in full swing and the runners were coming through fast and furious. We left our water station at 10 am to walk over to the ceremony where the winners were being acknowledged and the charitable donation checks resulting from the proceeds of the race were being presented.

Chelsey and I were presented the $5,000 ceremonial check by the President of Burke and Herbert Bank, who organized the event. The 6 top runners were all from Ethiopia and Kenya. They are all well known runners who travel around the world to compete in races like this one. Winning times were in the one hour and twelve minute range- wow! Running 3.1 miles in a little over an hour is truly an incredible feat!

Next was the presentation to the “American winners”- again, the top 6 Americans, 3 men and 3 women with completion times starting in the one hour and twenty three minute range.

It was a great event and inspired me to continue running, which I discovered my love for this summer while training for the International pageant. I hope that one day I will have the strength and endurance to run a race like this one, but for now, I’ll stick to less competitive runs around my neighborhood.

Juliana McKee

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Healthier You/Fit Kids Expo 2010

Recently, it was my honor to represent the American Heart Association at the “Healthier You/Fit Kids Expo” for the Washington Metropolitan Area.

On that day I was representing three missions of the American Heart Association: the Alliance for A Healthier Generation (educating and encouraging children to be able to make better decisions regarding their nutrition and fitness), The Power to End Stroke (encouraging people to fight stroke in the context of their own cultural and ethnic communities) and Go Red for Women (fighting heart disease and stroke amongst women).

This event afforded me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful families from differing backgrounds who had made the decision to come to the expo and look for ideas that might lead them and their loved ones to a healthier lifestyle.

Many women and children filled out pledge cards aimed at a healthier lifestyle, and I provided them with cookbooks and other materials designed to help people provide healthy, nutritious and tasty meals for their families.

There was a fashion show of amazing women who had made big changes in their lives, each of whom had lost 50 or 60 pounds through exercise and healthy diet choices. They are true role models for young women and girls who want to have happy, healthy lives.

I was so glad to see a group of healthy women being celebrated for their healthy beauty in a society that often celebrates unhealthy beauty.

I hope those watching realized that healthy is beautiful. I know that between people like me speaking out and events like this, we can continue to make a change in the perception of beauty and teach girls, boys, men, and women to love themselves for who they are and not for how they look compared to pictures in a magazine.

Juliana McKee

Friday, September 24, 2010

Miss Teen International & Redskins host DC children at "Recess by the River"

Earlier this year, it was my privilege to hold some fundraisers to underwrite my support for the American Heart Association’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation and our mission to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015. We are working to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices.

For the April event I was joined by the Beta Theta Pi fraternity on the campus of my school, the University of Maryland, College Park, for the ‘Tug of Warfare Tournament’ fundraiser. That event drew student teams from fraternities, sororities and other student groups to come together in fun for a good cause – and a great time was had by all!

In June I hosted my second annual dinner and silent auction to support the American Heart Association’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Thanks to the generosity of local restaurants and businesses and the kind people who attended, it was as successful as it was fun!

Last week, I had the opportunity to be a part of the fruit of those fundraisers: the proceeds of both of these events went to fund last week’s “Recess by the River” at which Washington Redskins Quarterback Donovan McNabb (the Redskin’s 2010 Health Ambassador) and I and others welcomed hundreds of Washington DC school children.

It was a wonderful time held at Northeast Washington DC’s Deanwood Recreation Center (great hospitality and a beautiful facility!) in which the children learned lessons about nutrition, exercise and healthy habits while having lots of fun and excitement. Due to Washington DC having one of the highest child obesity ratings, an event like Recess by the River can play an important part in giving kids a second chance at a long healthy life.

This was the third Recess by the River event, and I am proud to have been in at the ground floor and attended all of them.

It is wonderful to see such a beneficial program grow so quickly and successfully. I am grateful to the American Heart Association, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and most definitely the International pageant system for the opportunity this and other events have afforded me as I grow in my ability to provide support, leadership and service to youth.

Please keep watching my blogs – I’ve got a lot more good news and cheerful service to share with you!

Juliana McKee