Sunday, October 31, 2010

November is National Adoption Month

Mrs. International, a mother by the miracle of adoption, is celebrating National Adoption Month with NCFA

“The miracle of adoption allows me to hear the sweet word “mama” from the angelic voice of my daughter, Halle-Grace. I struggled for many years, suffered in pain and silence, and lost hope many times. I encourage you to NEVER give up on your dreams of building a family. Jason and I thank God that we allowed Him to build our family in His way and in His time.” Shannon Devine, Mrs. International 2010 and National Spokesperson for NCFA.

Every year in the U.S. millions of women face untended pregnancy, yet fewer than 22,000 infants are placed for adoption.  Nearly 115,000 children languish in U.S. foster care, waiting for a loving, permanent family.  Around the world, millions of orphans and abandoned children dream of belonging to a family.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and as the leading adoption advocacy organization in the United States, the National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is working to raise awareness of the positive option of adoption.

NCFA believes that every child deserves a loving, permanent family. For those mothers and fathers facing unintended pregnancy who are not ready or able to parent, adoption provides them with an opportunity to give their children loving families who can meet all of their needs.

In the United States, there are almost 500,000 children in foster care; of these, nearly 115,000 are waiting to be adopted. There are also millions of orphaned and abandoned children worldwide. For an institutionalized child, adoption can mean a life of permanency, stability, and opportunity with a forever family, yet in 2009 fewer than 13,000 children from other countries were made available for intercountry adoption.

Americans have clearly embraced adoption. In fact, a 2010 survey commissioned by NCFA found that 40% of Americans indicated their willingness to adopt a child. Millions of Americans – our friends, family members, and colleagues – have grown their families and enriched their lives through adoption.

NCFA provides information to prospective birthparents on its website, which includes Frequently Asked Questions about placing a child for adoption and testimonials from birthparents. Through its Families For All public awareness campaign, NCFA inspires Americans to consider adopting or becoming involved in the lives of children in foster care. And NCFA’s Intercountry Adoption Journey, an online training course to educate prospective adoptive parents and adoption agency professionals about the adoption process under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, has become the standard-bearer in its field.

“As a father by adoption, I know firsthand the joys that adoption can bring to both children and families,” said Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of NCFA. “If you are considering adoption, either as a birthparent or adoptive parent, make sure you do your homework and take advantage of all of the resources out there. The more educated you are about the process, the more you will come to appreciate adoption as a powerful, positive way to build a family.”

More about the National Council For Adoption

Founded in 1980, the National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is an adoption advocacy nonprofit that promotes a positive culture of adoption through education, research, and legislative action. Through its core areas of focus—infant adoption, adoption out of foster care, and intercountry adoption—NCFA serves children, birthparents, adoptive families, adoption agencies, U.S. and foreign governments, policymakers, media, and the general public as the authoritative voice for adoption.

To read more about Mrs. International’s Adoption Story visit

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Makeup Review: "Face" by Clay Spann

One of the many FABULOUS perks of being Miss Teen International 2010 is my very own set of Clay Spann cosmetics! That's right- the man who makes us look gorgeous in pictures has a makeup line that promises to make us look just as beautiful every day! So does it live up to that promise? I am pleased to say that it does!

Clay and Terri put together a full kit of makeup in shades for me to create both day and evening looks. I'll start with the Picture Perfect Foundation, which I received in "Lumiere Olive". First of all, let me say that I have combination skin that is prone to occasional acne, occurring in one or two big old, deep, not-going-anywhere, impossible-to-cover pimples, usually in my chin area. That being said, whether or not a cosmetic causes me to break out is always my biggest "make it or break it" factor for makeup, so I always read the ingredients to prepare myself for what is to come. The ingredients on the foundation include mineral oil- "uh oh!" I usually opt for oil-free makeup to avoid breakouts, however, having worn Clay's foundation twice before for photo shoots, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and tried it with an open mind.

The foundation itself is a crème foundation packaged in a sturdy (have I mentioned I'm clumsy?) glass-like plastic pot with an elegant black-rimmed lid which sports the Clay Spann "Face" logo. It applied very smoothly and evenly with a dewy, but not at all oily, finish. I tried applying it with a makeup sponge, a foundation brush, and my fingers and found that all three methods were effective and produced equally even results. However, I did find that it went on thicker with the makeup sponge for a more opaque coverage, while I had more control to "build" the coverage to be as sheer or opaque as I wanted when I applied with a foundation brush or my fingers. The color seamlessly balanced out my pink, blue, and yellow tones for a flawless look that I was very pleased with, while at the same time, not looking "cakey" or overly made-up.

After a period of use, I find that the foundation not only does not break me out, but my skin is almost clearer. The foundation gets an A for packaging, color, texture, finish, buildable coverage, blend-ability, and- most importantly- for not giving me breakouts!

On to the Under Cover Concealer! It is packaged in a clear tube with a wand attached to the black twist-off top, like a lip gloss tube. I got two shades- ivory and golden beige. The ivory shade is very, very light and I find myself really only using it on and around my eyes. That being said, it acts as a fabulous eye-shadow primer/base- evening out the eyelids' color tone and ensuring that shadow applies true to color and does not move around throughout the day.

For dark under-eye circles, I mix the ivory and golden-beige shades for a bright, but still natural look. I use the golden beige to cover any imperfections around the rest of my face- any pimples or redness that I may be experiencing. The colors are realistic in that they actually match my skin tone and blend in- the whole point of a concealer- unlike many other concealers on the market which tend to have weird pink or orange undertones.

I LOVE the consistency of Clay's concealers. Highly pigmented and nice and thick to provide full coverage, however still easy to spread and blend. I find that a little bit goes a long way so I use the wand to dab dots of the concealer on my problem areas, then use a concealer brush and/or my fingers to blend and spread it. They don't dry my skin out, but, like the foundation, they also don't cause me to break out and I have actually noticed clearer skin since using them. The Clay Spann Face Under Cover Concealers are a definite winner- I give them an A+++! If you only try one product in this cosmetic line, make it the concealer, you'll be hooked.

The last step in a flawless complexion is always powder. Clay's Translucent Loose Powder, which I have in No. 4 True Beige, comes in a clear plastic pot, similar to the foundation but larger. That's right, larger. This thing is huge! It contains one ounce of product, which is a lot for a nearly weightless powder. The powder is loose and is dispensed through the sifter in the top of the pot. I took an especially close look at the sifter because loose powders can become a pain in the neck if their sifters are susceptible to clogging, however the sifter has good-sized square-shaped holes, which are much less likely to clog than the little pin-pricks of holes that many loose powder sifters have. After using the powder for about a month, the sifter is still completely clear of blockage and clogs, making the powder still as easy to use as the day I received it. To apply it, simply dip a powder brush, complexion brush, or kabuki brush in the powder, then tap the excess powder into the cap and lightly brush onto your face.

I like this product because it is a truly translucent powder- thank goodness!- and doesn't turn my face white for that lovely "ghostly" glow that many other finishing powders that claim to be translucent often do. However, due to the stress that one-too-many mishaps with loose bronzers, foundations, blushes, and shadows staining uniforms in high school caused me, I'm not a huge fan of the loose powder/sifter packaging- though the translucent powder does not stain clothing, furniture, or carpets when spilled (I'm clumsy, remember?). This powder is great for at-home use and does provide a beautiful, flawless finish without depositing additional color or "weight" to your makeup , however it is not the kind of powder you can toss in your purse for mid-day touchups. I give the Translucent Loose Powder an A simply because, though I love it, I'm sure I would make a mess if I tried to take it along with me to class or appearances for touchups.

Clay Spann Face Tanning Powder in Matte Bronze is packaged in a black patent plastic compact with a mirror on the inside lid- good for on-the-go touchups, yay! Under the pressed-powder bronzer is a compartment with a small, flat brush in it (included) for application. I don't necessarily recommend using the included brush- except for in a pinch or for a quick, targeted T-zone only glow-because, though the bristles are very soft, they are packed firm and tight into the brush so it will pick up and deposit a lot of color, maybe too much, if you're not super careful.

The bronzer itself is matte which I like because, being 18 and not 12, I don't feel the need for my entire face to sparkle every day. It helps soak up and control oil so it could be tossed in your purse for touchups in place of the Translucent Loose Powder, just be careful to be light handed because it is a bronzer and no-one likes that fakey-too-tan look. That being said, it doesn't have pink or orange undertones so it won't make you look sun burnt or Oompa-Loompa-esque. I give the Clay Spann Tanning Powder an A+ for packaging, pigmentation, color, matte finish, and portability.

One of my favorite elements of Clay's makeup line is the palette. Talk about portability! It's thinner than my cell phone and about 3x4 inches (I'm estimating while looking at it) closed. On the inside, a huge mirror that I can view my whole face in at once occupies the lid, while two blushes and four eye shadows occupy generously sized, magnetic circular openings and a small tray holds a double-sided foam shadow applicator and a small blush brush (both included). As with the bronzer- and honestly just about all cosmetics that include applicators from any line- I don't recommend depending on the applicator and brush that come with the palette for flawless application, however, I keep them in the palette because they work fine for touchups or for situations (like a trip) where you may not have all of your makeup tools.

The four shadow slots are at least the size of a quarter, while the two blush slots are even larger (I'm guessing almost 2x the diameter of the shadows). Both sets of openings have magnets in the bottom to hold interchangeable blushes, bronzers, powders, and shadows all in place and they would accommodate most standard size pressed powder pots (the kind in metal pots without lids only such as MAC, Laura Mercier, etc- not the kind that come in little compacts or containers with a lid/top). I recommend filling the palette with shadows and powders from Clay's line for two reasons: 1. they will definitely fit into the compact's slots (no wasted money!) 2. they are very, very high quality products for prices that are directly comparable to other popular brands. I give the palette itself an A+++ because it has quickly become something that I cannot live without. I love its portability, convenience, practicality, and sleek look and I get compliments on it all the time!

The blushes and shadows themselves are fantastic! They are highly pigmented and adhere to the skin well so it doesn't take forever to build up the color that you want (like many drug store shadows do) and your makeup looks the same as it did when you first applied it hours later. This is important for me because I'm an active queen, I love to do events where I have to walk, run, dance, play, and otherwise interact with others and I need makeup that can stand up to all of that activity without wearing off- Clay's blushes and shadows do just that!

For my palette, Clay and Terri picked out colors to compliment my own coloring and personality, however the line includes a vast array of shades suitable for any complexion. I personally got a coral-pink blush and a mauve-pink blush, both of which I love! I use the darker mauve-pink blush on and under my cheekbones at an angle from just below my temples toward my mouth and I use the brighter coral-pink blush from the apples of my cheeks up to my temples to highlight the tops of my cheekbones. I blend both shades together with a bit of translucent powder or bronzer for a natural, healthy look.

I have 3 matte shadows and a shimmer shadow in my palette in cream, mauve, brown, and burgundy shades. The burgundy, which actually shows up on skin as a beautiful, deep, dark mauve, is the shimmer shade and, though I usually am not a fan of "shimmer" makeup, the shadows are so finely grated that the shimmer is extremely subtle and almost undetectable except for the fact that it catches light to make eyes appear wider. The four shades are all beautiful together and on their own and are very blend-able. The cream shade is THE perfect highlight shade- natural looking, not too white, and catches just enough light without being sparkly or shimmery. The mauve and brown shadows both have buildable color and are extremely versatile and wearable for every day as well as special occasions. The burgundy is a beautiful crease color for creating natural-looking smokey eyes without looking like you have a black eye. It is dark and extremely pigmented so I find that being light-handed and slowly building the color gives me the best result. Point blank, I love my palette and all of its contents. The shadows and blushes both get A++'s because they are versatile, blend-able, highly pigmented, and natural-looking.

I also received two individual eye shadow pots with lids and an eye shimmer. The shadows are Midnight and Mystic, a matte black and a shimmery black, respectively. They are both extremely pigmented and excellent for lining your eyes with a liner brush or for smudging and blending an eye-pencil line. As you may have picked up by now, I'm not in love with most shimmer makeup, however, Mystic, the shimmery black shadow, is gorgeous on the upper lash line and really helps open up my eyes.

As for the eye shimmer, my shade is Pink Opal, you may have read its name and said "its called eye shimmer so she definitely won't like it"- WRONG! I know I keep saying I don't like shimmer but Clay's line is starting to make me rethink my stance. I fell in love with this eye shimmer at both of my photo shoots with Clay- I had a whole conversation with Terri about how beautiful it was so I think she may have remembered that and made sure it made its way to me- thank you Terri! The name eye-shimmer is deceiving because it is so multifunctional and versatile! It can be used as a highlight on cheekbones, brow bones, in the inner corners of eyes to "open them up", and even on lips. Actually, when I was first introduced to it, it was on my lips. A little dab of it on top of lipstick or lip gloss creates a subtle, multidimensional iridescence that gives the lips a full-but-not-too-full, healthy look and really makes your smile stand out.

I give the individual shadows in Midnight and Mystic, as well as the Pink Opal eye shimmer, all A+'s because they are not only versatile, but they add that final finishing touch to makeup that really makes you stand out, without making you look "silly".

All in all, I love Clay Spann's "Face" makeup line. Its versatility allows me to look as natural or as glamorous as I need to for any occasion. To order some for yourself, go to or call 334-794-3423- I promise it is a purchase that you will not regret!

Juliana McKee

Friday, October 29, 2010

Capitol Area Food Bank

I’m trying to be more involved in my new community, & one of the volunteer opportunities I came across was with the Capital Area Food Bank. For my first time helping out, Mom was in town so she came along with me! We didn’t know what to expect – she thought we would be serving meals & I thought we would be packing food – but we went along anyway, & we were both wrong.

We were assigned to a location in Maryland, & when we arrived there was already a line formed of people waiting to get their food! We had a sort of assembly line going – goodie bag, onions (our station!), apples, & potatoes. All the food was donated or gotten through local food drives. It was a GREAT experience. Very eye opening for both of us!

One of the other girls at the “onion station” with me was studying food systems in school & was talking about the lack of nutritional value in the “goodie bag” that was given out. The food that was in the goodie bags was from the food drives, & it turned out that people gave a lot of food that had no real nutritional value. It was something that I had never really thought about, but I found it very interesting. It’s GREAT to give food, but remember to give food that is good for you & filling

Mom & I really impressed the Food Bank crew with our ability to lift the 50 lb onion bags! So much so that we did an interview for their website encouraging other people to volunteer their time with the Food Bank. I’ll link to the video as soon as it’s up!

Volunteering really could not have been easier! We just registered online, clicked on a day, time & place that we wanted to volunteer, and showed up! They provided gloves so our hands didn’t stink from the onions (& because it was rather cold) & showed us exactly what to do. The people receiving the food were so gracious & kind – mom even made a friend who shared a recipe for an apple dessert – yum!

Ashley Smith

Thursday, October 28, 2010

National Wear Red Day in New York City

Mrs International, Shannon Devine selected as event Emcee for National Wear Red Day in New York City!

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement celebrates American Heart Month in February each year, with National Wear Red Day the first Friday of February. AMA will host consumer event with several components, including a casting call at the Harold’s Square Macy’s location on February 4, 2011.

The consumer experience will offer several activities including a Zumba demonstration and the casting call where we will be searching for women who have chosen to make fighting heart disease their mission, as Make It Your Mission.

Sara Haines of the TODAY show will also be in attendance.

I'm incredibly honored and excited to have this amazing opportunity to continue the fight against the #1 killer in women!

Shannon Devine

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Baltimore, Maryland Annual Heart Walk

I was invited to join Deanna Linz, Mrs. Northeast International’s team for the Baltimore Maryland Annual Heart Walk event. It was a gorgeous crisp October morning when we arrived at the Baltimore Inner Harbor for the Annual Heart Walk. Both Deanna and I share the same platform, the American Heart Association, and we work as a perfect team promoting our platform as well as the International system together.

When I started working with the AHA, shortly after Erick’s death, I came to the realization of how unhealthy my lifestyle had been. I had struggled with eating disorders throughout high school, yoyo dieting and other general unhealthy eating habits. Through my journey of self discovery, I’ve learned to embrace daily exercise (I love to run) along with a healthy, balanced diet - I’ve even learned healthy ways to satisfy my insatiable sweet tooth with a scoop of fat-free ice cream after dinner each night. THANK GOODNESS Breyer’s makes a fat-free version of their chocolate fudge brownie ice cream!

We completed our five mile walk shortly before 11. I’ll have to tell you, that my daily runs and walking around the University of MD campus to my classes, prepared me well for the event.

After the walk, we spoke to different participants sharing our stories, telling them about the International Pageant System and its’ good works, taking some photos with participants, and of course letting some of the little girls try on the Teen International crown! It turned out to be a wonderful event for a great cause on a beautiful Baltimore day!

Juliana McKee

Monday, October 25, 2010

Family - My Mom’s side this time

Over the summer I told you about my summer vacation with my 16 cousins, 9 aunts and uncles and my Grandfather from my Dad’s side. Tonight I got together with my Grandmother along with the rest of my Mom’s side of the family for a mini reunion since 2 of my Nebraska second cousins were in town.

My Grandmother, also named Juliana, is 86 and loves to entertain. When the three of us are together, she loves to tell people that she is the “original Juliana.”

She had 5 children (my mom and 4 brothers) and all except for one reside within a 15 mile radius of her home. So tonight, my cousins Danny and Cory were in town. Danny, from Nebraska, took a year off from college to help build a baseball field in Bowie, MD.

His Dad’s company builds golf courses and baseball fields. He will be in the DC area until Thanksgiving. My cousin, Cory, also, from Nebraska, is taking a short 4 day break from med school to visit the DC area. My mom’s cousins, Marianne and Steve also originally from Nebraska, have settled in DC and are always at family gatherings at my Grandmother’s house.

I want to touch on what an inspirational woman my Grandmother is. My Grandfather was a naval Officer and aircraft carrier pilot. He was later the communications officer of the first crew of the nuclear powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise. Many times he was away for a year at a time and my Grandmother was left to raise the five children. She was a career nurse, who returned to nursing when her children were in college and late high school. She always proudly wore the traditional white cap and nurse’s uniform and her nursing peers called her “Super Nurse”. She would always volunteer to work on Christmas so that the younger nurses with young children could spend the day with their families. Her nursing skill came in very handy when my Grandfather fell ill with Parkinson’s disease. She took care of him for 17 years as the illness progressed until he passed away two years ago. She never wanted to put him in a nursing home, although she is only 110 pounds and struggled to care for him.

Five years ago, she was stricken with breast cancer. She found a lump during a routine monthly self exam. Her greatest concern was not herself, but rather who would be able to care for my Grandfather while she was recouping from her surgery. She opted for the radical double mastectomy, not wanting to risk a reoccurrence of the cancer. She is a breast cancer survivor now for 5 years now and I can tell you except for her surgery and three weeks following, she has never missed a beat. She is a true inspiration to me and I think it fitting to talk about her story during Breast Cancer awareness month

Juliana McKee

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Alexandria Walk for Breast Cancer

When I found out my mom was coming to visit me, I registered us both to be volunteers at a breast cancer walk while she was here! As many of you know, I moved to Washington, DC about 2 months ago. I thought I was getting to know the area pretty well, but it turns out I was WRONG! When I was looking up walks around my area, there were not any in DC, so I registered us for one that I thought was in Virginia about 1.5 hours away. I thought we could make a whole day out of it & explore a new city – Charlotte! Turns out I was thinking of Charlottesville, but I actually registered us for a walk in Charlotte, NC – about 10 hours away. Oops!

I realized my mistake as I was googling directions the afternoon before, so I quickly cancelled our registration & went to town on finding another walk to do. I found one about 20 minutes away in Alexandria, VA. YAY!

It was FREEZING, but we had a lot of fun!

Ashley Smith

Saturday, October 23, 2010

November is National Adoption Month - Nickelodeon is helping kick things off this Sunday

November is just around the corner and here at the Devine home, we are super excited about the month ahead. It’s going to be a busy month and we are going to continue spreading tons of awareness in hopes of finding special children, just like Halle-Grace, forever families.

Not only is November National Adoption Month… The National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is celebrating 30 years in our Nations Capital, and Little Miss Magic is turning 3!

To help kick off the month please tune in this coming Sunday, October 24th. Nick News with Linda Ellerbee will premier a new half-hour special, "Foster Care: A Reality Check," at 9:00pm EST on Nickelodeon.

With almost half a million children in U.S. foster care, this special will address tough questions such as: How did they wind up there? How do they cope with moving from home to home? And what happens when they're no longer kids? Hear stories from children like Isaiah and Solomon, twin brothers from upstate New York. "One thing (my mother) said that really bothered me was, um, she never meant to have me," Isaiah says. "They may not have chosen the path they travel," says Ellerbee, "but they have a lot to teach the rest of us about courage, strength and resilience."

PLEASE watch…"Foster Care: A Reality Check" premiers this Sunday at 9:00pm EST on Nickelodeon. For more information, visit NCFA website

Shannon Devine

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Light the Night

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society had their annual Light the Night Walk in DC this weekend. Last year these events raised over $1,497,000!! Amazing! I found out about the walk on Thursday with my amazing new googling skills, so it was a little late for me to be able to raise money by Saturday for the walk. Instead, I called the area director & asked about volunteer opportunities the morning of the event. I signed myself and my boyfriend up to help set up that morning. OMG.

I had never really thought about the work that goes into putting on an event like this! I was lucky enough to be assigned to the Balloon Tent. Fun, huh?? You bet! We spent the day organizing lights, blowing up balloons, and sticking those lights in the balloons. It was a lot of fun!

It was actually pretty hard work though – no breaks! I remembered to take a couple pictures, but that’s definitely something I have to get better at. Like I said, we didn’t participate in the walk, but I encourage all of you to check out the website & see if you can find a walk near you! And remember that if you don’t have money to give, you can always give of your time. It takes a lot of people & hard work to put on events, so help out!!

Me with a battery pack – we had to check them ALL to make sure they worked!

Sebastien helping out! He missed a day of watching football for this, but he wasn’t lacking in spirit!

Ashley Smith

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Picture is worth a thousand words…

If for some mysterious reason I was forbidden to ever speak on adoption again, I would simply carry my platform sheet and my ad page that Susan Botek created for me. She put into these pieces all that I have ever tried to say about adoption! She is incredibly talented and a joy to work with. All I had to do was simply supply the photos and communicated with Susan, “I want people to see and feel what Adoption looks like when they open the book to my page.”

Susan created this timeless piece…notice the window panes, as if you are looking into the picture of adoption! WOW! I literally cried for joy when I saw her creation and it made Jason & I beam with pride to display our joy in the Mrs. International Program Book.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to share my ad page with you tell you what adoption looks like. To me…it’s family, it’s love, it’s completeness, it’s dreams of tomorrow, and memories of yesterday…it’s absolute JOY, it’s the most amazing journey, and it is the way I became a mommy! I thank God everyday for Halle-Grace and the miracle of adoption.

Thank you Susan for your time, commitment, and incredibly talent! My paperwork presented to the judges, along with my ad page was truly everything I imagined and more! If you are reading this and preparing for Mrs. Miss or Miss Teen International, I highly recommend Susan’s expertise. Thank you again Susan, my fellow heart mom!

Shannon Devine

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I will be traveling across the country this weekend to Portland, Oregon to attend the 3rd Annual Pageant Training Workshop. I am thrilled to be a part of Lesley’s tradition and I hope to see you there! Below is the information, contact her today and join us for a “winning” experience!

Shannon Devine



Prepare for your next pageant by spending a great day with us getting all the knowledge and training you need from leading pageant experts.

Other speakers include:

~Deanna Bebeau--Mrs. Oregon Int'l 2010, Mrs. United America 2007

~Tamara Wissbaum--2010 National Beauties of America winner, Mrs. Oregon Int'l 2007 and former Miss Oregon USA

~Kimberly Takla--Mrs. Oregon America 2007, Mrs. Oregon Int'l 2003 and former Miss Oregon USA

~Cara Nardini--Miss Oregon Teen USA 2010


You will learn about the following:

*How to ACE your pageant interview

*Building the perfect pageant wardrobe

*Tips on hair and makeup for interview & stage

*How to find sponsors in tough economic times

*TRUE Beauty--how to have a winning experience no matter what the outcome

*How to get in "Pageant Shape"--advice from our pageant expert

*And so much more.

For more information, contact Lesley Nardini to reserve your spot today!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Erick's Hope Food Drive

After my 12 year old cousin, Erick, passed away 2 summers ago from congenital heart disease, my aunt, uncle, and I started Erick’s Hope Foundation to carry on his legacy and passion to serve underprivileged children. Erick’s Hope provides physical, emotional, and educational support to at risk children through a variety of programs.

I have personally helped conduct all of the Erick’s Hope food drives and conducted one on my own through the Key Club at my school in which we collected over 2,500 lbs of kid-friendly, nutritious food. We assembled over 700 “Smart Sacks”- boxes of kid friendly, nutritious food to be distributed to underprivileged children who receive subsidized meals at school so that they can also have nutritious meals in the evenings and on weekends.

Recently, I collected food from surrounding neighborhoods. It feels great to continue Erick’s legacy by keeping up with the semi-annual Erick’s Hope food drives, I know he would be so proud of all of the great things we have done in his memory.

Juliana McKee

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halle-Grace Devine

The Virginia International Pageant was my first experience getting to hang out with Shannon & her beautiful daughter, HalleGrace – and what an experience it was!! I just had to do a separate post about this little angel! She sat on my lap (and stood too!) for most of the pageant, and I loved every minute of it! She is just a bundle of happiness, sassiness, and love!

She is also a very curious little girl and seems to be enamored with cameras! Lucky for you, I let her borrow my camera and show us her photography skills. I have included the pictures here for your viewing pleasure! Some of them I took of her, but I think you’ll be able to tell which ones have her special touch on them! She hasn’t quite learned not to cover the lens with her finger, but that just makes it all the more entertaining. Enjoy!

Ashley Smith