Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A day of V.I.P. fun with the Redskins and my little friends from Recess by the River

About a week ago, the top twenty young participants from Recess By The River (as determined by officials from the DC Department of Recreation) were invited to attend a Washington Redskins football game as special guests of the Redskins and GlaxoSmithKline.

I attended the event as a chaperone (along with Mrs. Northeast International, Deanna Linz, and three chaperones from DC Dept of Rec). When we arrived, we were greeted by representatives from the Redskins and GlaxoSmithKline and invited to a private tailgate tent in the “Fan Zone” where GlaxoSmithKline had a buffet full of spiced shrimp, juicy barbecue, potato salad, warm rolls, steamed vegetables, caesar salad, grilled chicken, and gourmet brownies and cookies waiting for us. Our private tent was also all set with tables, chairs, and a heater, which was DEFINITELY appreciated by all on the cold, rainy day! After we had all had our fill of tailgate food and fun, we were led into the stadium and up an escalator to the club level, where our group occupied an entire row of seats.

At half time, we were invited as VIPs from our club level seats, complimentary of the Washington Redskins, down to the field for an awards presentation. Mrs. Northeast International and I accepted a Community Partnership Award on behalf of the American Heart Association and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation from the Redskins and GlaxoSmithKline for all of the work behind, as well as the successful production of, Recess By The River.

Though the award was given to the American Heart Association and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation as a whole, it really means a lot to me personally because, having fundraised to sponsor the most recent Recess By The River event, as well as having volunteered at every Recess By The River since the very first one, the award not only proves to me that my hard work paid off, but it also reminds me that everyone can have an impact on something bigger than themselves, which I believe is the most important concept that a titleholder can understand.

It’s so easy to get caught up in big, sparkly crowns, glitzy jewelry, V.I.P. treatment, expensive gowns, lavish prize packages, and fierce competition that many women lose sight of the bigger picture.

Though pageantry does facilitate great personal growth and can open many doors of opportunity, the point of having a crown and a sash, especially an International crown and sash, is not the potential personal gains, but rather the potential societal gains that they provide. As titleholders, we have a voice where so many do not, and we have the ability to use that voice to create  great changes in our communities, our states, our regions, our countries, and even world-wide!

The best part is, by each choosing a platform that appeals to us on a personal level, we are driven by our own personal passions to heavily pursue those large-scale changes and benefits.

I am so grateful to have experiences like this one to keep my feet planted firmly on the soil and to serve as constant reminders to me of the true meaning of the title “Miss Teen International”.

Juliana McKee

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's Finally Over!

Well, it’s been a long 4 months searching for a job, but it’s finally over! Starting in January I will be working as a bridal consultant at a shop down the street from my apartment. I am so excited! If you have ever seen “Say Yes to the Dress,” you will know why I’m excited – wedding gowns are so beautiful & working with women that are at such an amazing time in their lives (getting married) is going to be so wonderful!

It took a lot of soul searching & some courage to realize that I didn’t want to be an attorney after getting my law degree, but I think this job is going to be the perfect fit! Fingers crossed!

Ashley Smith

Friday, December 24, 2010

Year End Wrap-Up

As the year draws to a close, I want to update you on how my year as Miss Teen International 2010 is going so far and thank you all for support on my journey to this point and for fallowing my reign through my blog posts!

Since being crowned in July in Skokie, Illinois, I have worked with the American Heart Association, the Downs Syndrome Society, the Washington Redskins, the Korean Women International Network (KOWIN), and the National Council for Adoption. I have represented the International pageant system and served my platform at the Children’s Inn at NIH, the Pediatric Ward at Walter Reed National Medical Center, the Korean Ambassador’s residence, Boys and Girls Clubs, schools, and recreation centers in Ohio, Washington DC, Chicago, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. I have walked in the Baltimore Heart Walk, the Washington DC Heart Walk, and the Buddy Walk for Downs Syndrome. I have had the privilege of working with Redskins Quarterback Donovan McNabb, Redskin player Maake Kemoeatu, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Senator Mary Landrieu, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, Presidential Cabinet Member and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, my own Congresswoman Donna Edwards, former Editor and Chief of People Magazine Jeannie Park, and Project Runway’s Tim Gunn! I plan to travel to Florida, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and hopefully Asia and Europe in the coming six months.

During all of these exciting experiences, I have continued my work as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association and its Alliance for a Healthier Generation, as well as my pursuit of a degree in Communications and Public Relations at the University of Maryland College Park. I am looking forward to an internship next semester at the American Heart Association’s Greater Washington Region office as their Youth Volunteerism and Outreach Coordinator.

I want you to know I am thinking of you during this holiday season, and I am so thankful for all of your love and support. I feel so blessed to have become part of the International family. The family of individuals involved in the “Mrs”, “Miss”, and “Miss Teen” International pageants have shown me so much love and support throughout my year. Mary, Mel, Cristen, Susanne, Joey, Clay, Terri, Shannon, Ashley, and everyone else involved in the International family, thank you and I love you all!

Happy holidays and God bless you!

Juliana McKee

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Devine Decade

Jason & Shannon Devine married on December 23, 2000

December 23, 2010 marks our 10 year wedding anniversary! Yes, we were married two days before Christmas in the year 2000. I love everything about Christmas, the decorations, the holiday cheer, the weather…for me, it was the perfect time to marry my best friend!

Our lives have changed so much since that Icy Saturday night 10 years ago. Jason was an officer in the United States Air Force and I was working as a sales representative in the pharmaceutical industry. Our first home was located in Lillington, NC. Jason was stationed at Pope Air Force Base.

In 2004, we purchased our home and moved back to God’s Country (the western part of NC…we both LOVE the mountains).

In 2008, God blessed us with our daughter, Halle-Grace Khanh Devine. Miss Magic continues to bring so much JOY and she has completed our family!

Today, Jason works with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and is finishing his Masters in Divinity at Gardner Webb University. I’m a sales manager with Genzyme Biosurgery. We are both blessed with jobs we enjoy! Being parents to Halle-Grace obviously takes the cake and representing the International System as the “Mrs. International Family” has been an amazing adventure and a tremendous honor. We look forward to the coming year…and what the next decade holds in store for us.

In closing, I want to wish a very special couple a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Mary & Mel Richardson were also married on December 23!

Shannon Devine

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spreading Christmas Cheer and the Gift of Health

This past Sunday turned out to be a great day at Bank Of America stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Panthers pulled off a win in their last regular season game at home and I was joined by the lovely Mrs. NC International, Cynthia Griner, to share the gift of health with many football fans.

Cynthia and I were eager to brave the cold temperatures and spread the message of heart healthy living. We shared literature with thousands of fans to include: brochures, red American Heart Association bracelets, heart healthy recipes…just in time for the holidays, and of course red dress pins to continue sharing the GO RED message.

Every minute heart disease claims the life of a woman…

1 in 3 women will die from heart disease.

Dedicated Fans

Just like the Panthers are trying to turn their season around, Cynthia and I did our part to turn the tide in hopes of saving lives. For those of you who are stressed over buying last minute gifts for the sake of having something wrapped with a bow, seriously consider unwrapping the gift of love in your heart for someone close to you and share the Go Red message…don’t take a SINGLE day for granted.

God Bless & Merry Christmas,


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas at the Devine Home...a sneak peek

The 13 foot tree in our living room is Asian inspired. We stopped counting the lights years ago…

The tree is decorated with hand painted ornaments made by Deedie Springer.

The Candy Tree in our Kitchen:

I love this tree! It’s fun to decorate and it looks so yummy. What I love most about this tree is displaying ornaments made by Halle-Grace.

And of course, we must have a tree made for a PRINCESS! The pink tree is displayed in Miss Magic’s room. There are lots of crown ornaments, and even glass slippers! She loves her princess tree!

And the wreath that hangs on our door:

Wishing you and your families a Merry Christmas! Stay tuned for several more blog entries coming soon.

Remember the Reason for the Season!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Juliana McKee Featured in "Sweet Charity: Young Philanthropists"

Juliana McKee, featured in Capitol File Magazine as one of "the city's best and brightest women working the front lines of philanthropy."

"Sweet Charity: Wonder Women. Introducing the District's newest crop of female philanthropists". 
Juliana McKee, Miss Teen International 2010 is in the center.
According to their website, "Capitol File focuses its distribution on readers who frequent the finest establishments, including boutiques, coffeehouses, commercial and residential buildings, health clubs ... resorts, restaurants, salons, and spas, in addition to embassies, museums and private clubs." It is a large, beautiful, glossy magazine chock full of gorgeous images, fashion and interesting articles.

I first became aware of them when I appeared in their photo coverage of the Heart Ball in Washington.

At the Washington DC Heart Ball, appearing as Miss Teen District of Columbia International

Juliana McKee, then Miss Teen District of Columbia International, posing with some fellow American Heart Association volunteers

This is the picture of me at the Heart Ball that appeared in Capitol File

Because of my work on behalf of the American Heart Association they followed my progress and I was invited to join them for their 5th Anniversary Celebration at the Corcoran Museum of Art. That was a lot of fun and very interesting.

At Capitol File Magazine 5th Anniversary Celebration with other guests in front of their giant cake!

I'm always accompanied to these events with one of my parents, though my Dad is usually on the other side of the camera!

Miss Teen International gets her turn in front of the paparazzi!

Miss Teen International with Jason Binn, Publisher of Capitol File Magazine

Here I am with Tim Gunn: He told me "You're a knockout!"

Here I am with a former Miss DC America. She was very interested in the International Pageant System!

It was at about that time that they contacted us and told us they would like to feature me in their Holiday Edition as one of the up and coming young female philanthropists in the Washington area!

Juliana McKee, Miss Teen International 2010

"Meet nine of the city's best and brightest women working the front lines of philanthropy."
Juliana McKee, Miss Teen International 2010, is first, on the left.
Photo by David Peterson.

Capitol File Magazine's Holiday Edition Cover features Kerry Washington.

Juliana McKee, Miss Teen International 2010

Spokesperson for the American Heart Association and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
I have to tell you, the excitement of seeing myself in Capitol File Magazine's Holiday Edition in the company of eight other AMAZING young women is matched only by the experience of the photoshoot itself! That was so neat I'm going to dedicate a separate blog to it... coming soon!

I also have to say that while it is exciting to have this attention, it is also humbling. The only reason I have this opportunity is because of all the people who have generously and graciously responded to my pleas to help me support the work of the American Heart Association and its Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

In addition to the American Heart Association, I have to say "thank you" to my corporate sponsor Ricoh, my family and friends, the Redskins (especially Donovan McNabb!) and others who have banded together to make wonderful and critical events like "Recess by the River" possible.

I will always be grateful to Ricoh for their generous support of my efforts on behalf of children's health and the American Heart Association and their Alliance for a Healthier Generation!

It was rainy, but it was such an honor to be down on the field at halftime to receive an award on behalf of the American Heart Association!

The whole Redskins organization has made children's health a part of their mission, led by Donovan McNabb (on the right) who has been chosen as the 2010 Redskins Health Ambassador. Donovan teaches kids that adopting healthy habits early in life is the first step in showing that together we can beat heart disease.

Donovan McNabb has always been as kind and friendly as he is tirelessly generous in his efforts on behalf of the issue of children's health.

Finally, I would like to thank the International Pageant System for being the motivator behind young women like me who want to gain experience in how to be of service to society. It was the journey to becoming Miss Teen International that brought me to the attention of Capitol File Magazine -- and I will never forget that!
In keeping with International Pageant's platform-focus and dedication to highlighting young women's accomplishment through community service, Miss Juliana McKee will continue her work on behalf of the American Heart Association's Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which promotes heart health and healthy eating and exercise choices to children and teens.
Juliana McKee