Friday, September 30, 2011

Charlotte Fashion Week

A special thank you goes to Rita Miles for organizing the “MiLES of iMpact” charity fashion show during Charlotte Fashion Week.

WSOCTV Host Natalie Pasquarella & me

Myself along with over 20 other celebrities gathered together on Saturday night to walk the runway in Uptown Charlotte to showcase up-and-coming designers.  It was a heartwarming event and I had a wonderful time mingling with folks who are like me and don’t really have a lot of ‘down time’. 

Charles Grayson Spa Staff

Me & Jessica from Charles Grayson

Another thank you to Jordan from Coplan’s and the team from Charles Grayson European Spa for making me look spectacular. 

Me & Jordan from Coplan's

Jordan is very involved with the community and is working on a charity fundraiser scheduled for late February which he created to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Crossing paths with him was meant to be as The NASCAR Foundation will be partnering with him for his event.

Janet Bolin

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Licking Valley High School and Duncan Falls Elementary School

Born and raised in a small town, I enjoyed school assemblies where outsiders would come and share their experience and encourage students to dream big. This Friday, as Mrs. International, I have the opportunity to be one of those visitors at two schools in hopes my words of wisdom and experience can help an impressionable youngster to follow their dreams.   I’ll be speaking with two classes at Licking Valley High School, including a Women’s Health Class, and then speaking at the Pep Rally for Duncan Falls Elementary School.

I also look forward to sharing the information available from the American Heart Association so these students can be armed and prepared should they, or anyone in their family, encounter symptoms of a heart attack or other heart disease.  As a certified fitness professional, I always embrace the opportunity  to do my part to motivate our youth to find a fitness routine they enjoy so they can commit to be fit for life.  I appreciate the opportunities both of these schools have provided me and look to share many wonderful pictures with you all.  

Janet Bolin

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

National Book Festival

I, along with NFL star Chris Draft opened the 2nd day of the National Book Festival with reading and physical activities!  As part of Chris Draft’s Let’s Read, Let’s Move initiative, I read a story and then we all participated in physical activities modeled after NFL drills.

I even joined in on the action!

Afterwards, we autographed pictures and visited with our fans.  I am always humbled by the support that I receive.  I think kids have a bling radar and when they see a crown they go nuts!

Then it was off to the Press Tent to be interviewed.  I had a great time promoting First Book and Reach Out and Read, as well as sharing a little bit about my journey to becoming Miss International.

Lucky me!  I bumped into one of my favorite authors, Terry McMillian! She was very kind…until she asked for my crown!

Enjoying a quick chat with author Terry McMillian

Finally, I got a chance to explore the Festival and visit with the participants!

Two teachers that I met who were at the Festival to gather resources for their students.

There is always one little girl in the bunch who wants to be a pageant queen!

The Magic School Bus!! I loved reading these books when I was a child!  You can only imagine my excitement when I saw the bus!

I had a fantastic time at the National Book Festival!  This annual event is a great opportunity for people of all ages to explore the world of books.  It is definitely on my calendar for next year!  
Happy Reading!
Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dog Jog

From Labradors to Chihuahuas, dogs and puppies alike took over Winger Deer Park this weekend at the annual Tri-Cities Dog Jog! Barks filled the air as dogs ran a mile around the park to raise funds for the new Washington County Animal Shelter facility!

It was a joy to see so many pets and their owners jog together along the mile-long trail! My dog, Chi-Chi, was the smallest (and most spoiled) dog there, complete with her pink painted toenails! While I was leading her along during the Dog Jog, I felt a tug on the leash. I turned to see Chi-Chi sitting in the middle of the trail, staring at me as if to say, “My legs are too little. I just can’t walk another step! Please carry me.” So I picked her up and carried her the rest of the way as we finished the race together. What we do for our dogs!

Many other activities took place during the Dog Jog: the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of the jog were “crowned”, an award was given to the youngest and oldest dog, and a K-9 demonstration was held, reminding the crowd how important dogs are in humans’ lives. Special thanks to my good friend, Katie Edwards, who volunteered at the Jurnee’s Journey booth. We sold lots of Paws and Claws jewelry and t-shirts. We were happy to make a donation, on the spot, directly to the Washington County Animal Shelter! Executive Director, Debbie Dobbs, and I reminisced about my donation to the shelter in 2007.  The Washington Co. Animal Shelter was the first ever recipient of a donation from Jurnee’s Journey. We were happy to help them once again!

I had such a fun day with all the rescue dogs! Please adopt from a shelter, because every pet deserves a chance, or second chance at a loving, forever home!

Jurnee Carr

Monday, September 26, 2011


With Veronica Santos, Community Affairs Consultant for Comcast, after my interview

On Thursday morning I taped a segment on literacy for Comcast Newsmakers! I majored in journalism, specializing in broadcast media, so it was a bit nostalgic to be back in a newsroom.  It was also daunting sitting next to the anchor because there is a tremendous difference between interviewing someone and being interviewed. But, the team at Comcast did a fantastic job of prepping me. We went through talking points, they mic’d me up, powdered my nose and in 5 seconds we were taping!  We started with soft ball questions and then we got into the meat of the discussion. 

We discussed the current state of literacy in America, the ways that organizations such as First Book and Reach Out and Read lead the fight against illiteracy and small things that each of us can do to help eradicate illiteracy.

I am grateful for the opportunity to discuss my platform on a national stage.  One of my goals for this year was to bring literacy to the forefront of the national agenda.  As a titleholder, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to promote my platform and to reach as many people as possible.  Television is just one of those tools.  Companies such as Comcast play an integral role in making sure that the voices of everyday citizens are heard.  By lending valuable programming time to the cause of literacy, Comcast demonstrated its commitment to the community.   Thanks Comcast!

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Love of Donuts

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet all the General Managers of Krispy Kreme at their annual leadership meeting in Charlotte.  This was an honor to be able to personally thank them for all their love and support for Victory Junction.  Together, Krispy Kreme has raised almost $400,000 in three years to send children to Victory Junction Camp.

Mrs. International, Janet Bolin, and Steve Graves, Vice President of Retail Operations

Victory Junction Camp in Randleman, North Carolina was built in honor of Adam Petty, and provides life-changing experiences for kids with chronic medical conditions or serious illiness.  The cost for one child to attend camp is $2,500 but through the generosity of many sponsors, like Krispy Kreme, children don’t pay a dime.  Victory Junction is one of the over 150 charities whom The NASCAR Foundation helps raise funds, annually.

The annual fundraising effort of Krispy Kreme is their “Drive for 45” program which runs 45 days, starting April 5th with the goal of raising enough money to send at least 45 children to camp.  Each general manager rallies their staff, empowering them to share the stories of all the children who’ve benefitted from the camp and in turn rallying the Krispy Kreme customers to help support future children so they too can have that same experience. 

Kyle Petty and Krispy Kreme CEO, Jim Morgan, and I all were able to talk with the group and share our appreciation for their efforts.  I shared with them that you would find “donut lover” on my list of fun facts about Mrs. International and that my husband likes to call me the “Krispy Kreme Queen.”   While they call the camp experience “life-changing” I add to that by stating it is also “life-saving” in that the children who attend camp will always have the love of their family, but gain the admiration and support from the peers whom they meet, peers who are dealing with the same physical or medical challenges.  They ‘get them’ on a different level. 

I also had a chance to curb some myths about “beauty queens” in that I’ll roll up my sleeves to help - with the crown – because I am not just a smile and wave.  So, as they look to put the final touches on the Drive for 45 fundraiser for 2012, I look forward to helping do whatever I can to raise awareness of this fundraising drive. 

Be on the lookout for additional information on how you can join me and Krispy Kreme raise funds to send children to Victory Junction Camp. To learn more, I invite you to visit or

Janet Bolin

Friday, September 23, 2011

Shelter Shock

A few days ago I visited my local animal shelter. As I walked in, animal control pulled up with a trunk full of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. It absolutely broke my heart to see these poor creatures going into a place that is, quite frankly, more harsh than where they were on the streets. It took everything inside me to not take them all home.
When I passed the front desk I overheard the receptionist tell someone on the phone that a certain animal was on the “kill list”. A living, breathing being has its destiny laid out on a piece of paper. This jostled my stomach.

Animal control agencies and animal shelters receive approximately 10 MILLION animals a YEAR. The workers are forced to kill on dog or cat ever 6 SECONDS. Why? Simply because of overpopulation in the shelters.

If you are searching for a new furry friend, please visit your local animal shelter first. These animals deserve more than to live in a cage and die within days. It costs U.S. taxpayers an estimated $2 billion each year to round up, house, kill, and dispose of homeless animals. Rescue a pet from this horrible situation.

For most shelters, the cost to adopt a pet includes spay/neutering. To ensure that the pet population with not over exceed, please spay/neuter your pet as quickly as possible if you haven’t already.
Pets deserve a chance or second chance at a loving, forever home just as much as humans. Save a life and adopt!
Jurnee Carr
Miss Teen International 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Goodyear Support Our Troops®

Bid now through October 10th on authentic autographed memorabilia and race-used, special-edition Goodyear Support Our Troops® tires from the NASCAR and NHRA race events the weekend of September 16-18th signed by your favorite drivers!  Goodyear is the Official Tire of NASCAR and the NHRA, and is showing its continued support for the men and women of the United Stated Armed Forces.   Join us in showing our gratitude and recognizing their service to our country by raising funds to benefit them and their families through the Support Our Troops® charitable organization.

Fifty-nine different driver’s tires, including the race winner for the Chicagoland Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Tony Stewart, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Austin Dillon, are available to bid on now by visiting NASCAR.COM/foundation.  I also invite you to visit to watch the video of the Goodyear Boot Camp Challenge with your favorite NASCAR and NHRA drivers.  These brave competitors take on a tire obstacle course to drive donations for our troops.  You can pledge to support your favorite driver now through December 3, 2011.

Janet Bolin

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Books in Baltimore!

This past Friday I had the honor of working with Reach Out and Read to do a site visit at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center!  I was even featured on WBALTV NBC in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins Children’s Center has consistently been ranked one of the best in the nation and after visiting, I know why.  It is a one stop shop that is committed to making sure that children are not only physically healthy, but that they have the resources that they need to succeed.   A big part of that is Johns Hopkins’ partnership with Reach Out and Read.  The goal is to encourage early literacy and to make literacy a family affair. 
Although it was early in the morning, I had a very good audience.  We read a number of books, including one of my personal favorites, How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? by: Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

A very special thank you to Andrea Pyatt-Johnson (pictured here), Judith Forman and Deanna McCray James for making my visit possible.

I look forward to continuing my work with Reach Out and Read! Please check out Reach Out and Read’s Facebook Page to learn how to get involved or to just keep up to date.
Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to Fundraise

Are you looking for a way to raise money for your cause? I've got your answer! For the past 4 years I have been fund raising for my organization, Jurnee's Journey. I sell jewelry on my website, I also sell jewlery, do face painting, and have animals up for adoption from my local shelter at expos. A great new idea was to have a yard sale to raise money for my American Heart Association Heart Walk team. People donated items to us and we raised over $200 for the Heart Walk!

Other ways to fundraise and donate are:

*Have a car wash on a sunny day.

*Sell items according to your cause. For example, I sell animal themed jewelry and give the money raised directly back to rescue groups.

*Have a bake sell at your church. Who doesn't like homemade cookies?!

The possibilities are endless! Whether you sell candy at a game or have an online donation drive, any way you can give back to your cause helps. If you need any help formulating ideas to fundraise, I would love to help! Remember, it's not about how much money you raise, it's about getting the word out for your cause.

Jurnee Carr

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do you remember your first computer?

Our first computer was huge!  The printer was loud and you had to feed it sheets of connected paper with perforations on the edge that you had to tear off.  The screen was blurry and to operate it you basically had to be a rocket scientist.  Or a 6 year old who wasn’t afraid of pushing buttons! It was exciting and new and I spent hours playing games on it at home.  Then I went to school and we had a special computer class in which we learned to type, played Number Munchers and The Oregon Trail. To me, it was just play time but, it was actually my introduction to technology and the way that I became digitally literate.

In a world in which we can’t imagine our lives before Google and Facebook, it is hard to believe that a large number of Americans don’t have access to technology and more importantly, don’t have the necessary skills to utilize technology.  But that is the case.  Increasingly, what has been deemed the digital divide has compounded the problem of literacy.  Digital literacy, the ability to understand and use digital technology, plays almost an equal role in the success of an individual.  Technology is involved in every aspect of our lives.  As a result, children with access to technology and technology training have more opportunities

It is important to ensure that all people have access to technology.  If you’re interested in getting involved in the fight to close the digital divide and increase digital literacy across the board, check out


Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Launch Event - Go Red for Women Campaign

This past Tuesday night, the Go Red for Women campaign launched at Abe and Arthur’s in Manhattan.  I was there along with Mary and Mel Richardson to support the launch. 

Mary Richardson, Monica Flores (Go Red) and Me

Mel Richardson and Myself

We met the six (6) women who will serve as the face of the campaign and Star Jones, spokesperson for the Go Red for Women campaign, and actress, Elizabeth Banks. 

Star Jones and Me

Me & Elizabeth Banks - She's cracking on me for being some much taller than her, ha ha!

Mary, Me, Go Red for Women spokesperson, Jamie Napolitano, and her sister

Talking with Go Red for Women spokesperson,fitness instructor and heart attack survivor, Dianne

Dianne, Myself & Tamara

Many of you know Elizabeth from her big screen success, however she has now added “Director” to her resume.  Elizabeth wrote, directed, produced and starred in the new short film titled “A Little Heart Attack.”  We all know there is no humor in a heart attack, however we all agree humor helps in raising awareness.  So, I invite you all to view this short film (see link below) along with the Director’s Cut which gives you more insight into the thought process Elizabeth had in the-making-of this short film.  I believe you will agree, Elizabeth has provided a magnificent film which will span the globe to raise awareness for the #1 killer of women.

Janet Bolin

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Solving the Mystery of Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is an inherited brain disorder that results in the progressive loss of both mental and physical control. A fact about HD that shocked me is that everyone has the gene. Yes, everyone! But, only those who inherit the expansion of the gene will develop HD. Unfortunately, there is no present effective treatment or cure. Nonetheless, there are ways of raising awareness for this disease!

My good friend, Katie Edwards, invited me to join her team, HDI: Huntington’s Disease Investigators, to walk in the 1st annual Huntington’s Disease Society of America Team Hope Walk in Knoxville, TN.

Walking to cure HD!

We paraded around the park with American flags, in honor of 9/11. The weather was beautiful and we got a great work out!

Katie has been personally affected by HD. Her grandfather and uncle have both developed the gene, and her father is an "at-risk" individual. “Our family has grown closer together in an effort to support them and spend more time with them,” said Katie. She says it is hard to know that they will lose them, but it has given her family hope that other members of her family haven't developed the gene. “We pray everyday for a cure and that HD will end with us.”

My friend, Katie Edwards

Katie was inspired to make an imact in the HD community because God has given her this passion. She recently joined the National Youth Alliance, an HD association for youth affected by the disease, and started The Hunt for the Cure: the Search for a Miracle to fundraise for the HDSA. 

“My plans to improve HD awareness are to continue gaining support for my organization. We plan to attend more Team Hope walks, represent at expos and festivals, and attend the National Huntington's Disease convention. Our goal is to educate the public on the signs of HD and how to respond to knowing that a loved one has the disease while we fundraise for and support the HDSA. Hopefully, this will one day lead to a cure and the last generation with Huntington's Disease.” I could not be more proud of her and honored to be her friend.

HD affects both sexes and all races and ethnic groups around the world. Contact the HDSA Center of Excellence at or 1-800-345-HDSA if you or your loved one have these symptoms: personality changes, mood swings, depression, forgetfulness, impaired judgment, unsteady gait, involuntary movements, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing.

Research worldwide is working to unlock the mystery of HD and find a cure. With people as passionate as Katie and with Team Hope, there is hope for a cure for HD.

Jurnee Carr
Miss Teen International 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking for a way to get involved?

There are tons of ways to get involved in the fight against illiteracy. I have aligned myself with First Book and Reach Out and Read, but there are a variety of organizations that need volunteers, donations and advocates.  Reading Is Fundamental is one such organization.  RIF is one of the oldest and most expansive literacy programs in the country.   It has established itself as a classroom staple.  RIF has recently had its funding cut, so it is in dire need of assistance.

A great way to get involved is to become a Reading Is Fundamental Ambassador.  By becoming an Ambassador, you will become the face of RIF in your community.  You can organize events, visit schools, launch book drives and much more.  If you don’t have the time to volunteer, you can tailor your ambassadorship program to advocacy or fundraising.  It is all about supporting the cause and making literacy a priority.
If you would like to get involved or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Life Check

I had a few moments the other day and took advantage of the “My Life Check” feature online at  Three minutes is all it took for me to get a score of 8.7 out of 10.  Here is how I netted out. 

My “smoking status” was EXCELLENT because I don’t smoke and never have smoked.  My “healthy weight” was EXCELLENT as was my BMI.  I credit this to my passion for fitness as an indoor cycling instructor and my workouts with my personal trainer, Jeff Pettit, from Denver Health and Fitness.  I will share with you that while I was training for the Mrs. International Pageant, my beautiful mother was motivated by me and she too signed up for personal training sessions.  While our ages are different, she thoroughly enjoyed our healthy competition to see who could reach a lower BMI over the course of 3 months.  Needless to say, we both won and I am very proud of her.

As you may imagine, my “physical activity” was also EXCELLENT.  I feel so much better after a 30-minute walk on the treadmill or a 45-minute vigorous ride, or sometimes even just stretching makes me feel great.  Days when I don’t get to work out, I feel sluggish, tired and sometimes my muscles even ache, so I dive into a workout whenever I get a chance and always pack my Reebok Easy Tones. 

The final category was “healthy diet.”  I learned something new.  My daily protein comes from chicken, egg whites and soy beans, but what I didn’t realize is I should eat fresh fish twice a week.  Eating at least one fruit and one vegetable per meal is also a good way to score higher and help yourself maintain a healthy diet. 

The final tally sheet is available for you to save as a .pdf file or print out and post to your refrigerator.  For me, the first place I posted it was on my wall in my office.  Teamwork is a big deal where I work, so having my coworkers remind me to order vegetables when we are out to lunch or on the road is great for me.  As for my husband, I’ve already told him he too needs to take this quick test and then we both can post our results and keep tabs on one another.  After all, we are Team Chip and Janet!

Janet Bolin

Monday, September 12, 2011

Miss International visits North Carolina Children’s Hospital

I had a great time visiting North Carolina Children’s Hospital this past weekend!  Prior to my visit I had heard such wonderful things about the hospital that I couldn’t wait to see for myself.  When I walked into the lobby I was blown away! It was as though I wasn’t in a hospital at all, rather I felt like I was a children’s museum!  I wish I could have taken pictures, but due to the Hospital’s interest in patient confidentiality, I was not allowed to take any pictures inside of the building.

I was greeted with open arms as I met the volunteer coordinator and we headed to the pediatric playroom.  I was glad that I heeded the volunteer coordinator’s advice and wore casual comfortable clothes because before I knew it, I was playing basketball and strumming an electric guitar!  There were children of all sizes and  ages in the playroom. Despite their illnesses all they wanted to do was to just be kids and play.  It gave me a new appreciation for my health and made me realize just how blessed I am.
I concluded my visit by reading with a group of children and making a donation of 50 books to the pediatric playroom library.  It was an experience that I will never forget!
Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Take Heart!

Heart disease is the leading killer of women and men. This number one killer has affected me emotionally and both my grandfathers physically.  

My Papaw Allen has had a mild heart attack and has undergone angioplasty heart surgery; he also has a slow heart beat. His dad, sister, and two brothers also suffered from heart disease. My Papaw Tipton has had a 5 bypass surgery, a mild stroke, and being the trooper that he is, felt a heart attack coming and rushed himself to the hospital. Additionally, he has type 2 diabetes. Just a few days ago he underwent surgery to have part of his leg removed due to a life-threatening diabetes infection-gangrene.  

As you can see, heart disease is in my genetic makeup, but this killer doesn’t only affect genes. Everyone is at risk of a sudden heart attack or stroke, even if you cannot feel the symptoms. The best way to ensure that your heart health is in balance is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips:

My Papaw Allen suggests, “Be sure to take your prescribed medication and don’t smoke. Listen to your doctor. A lot of people will not follow the doctor’s orders and go back to their old habits of not taking medication, smoking, or not exercising. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are the easiest ways to keep your heart healthy.”

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you’re a busy person, like me, you can split up your workouts into 10 minute intervals throughout the day. 

The small things add up to extraordinary health benefits. Taking the stairs, parking far away from a store to take more steps, doing calf raises while cooking dinner, and stretching for a few minutes before you start your day are simple ways to stay fit and energized.  

Have a pet? Take your pet out for a walk! Walking with your pet can burn up to 30% more calories compared to walking alone! 

As a fitness and nutrition enthusiast, I have seen that eating non-processed, baked foods is the best way to maintain heart health. Greasy, artificial foods cause bad cholesterol and increased blood pressure.

Another great “step” (literally!) towards heart health is participating in your local American Heart Association Heart Walk! On October 30 I will be walking in the Tri-Cities Heart Walk with my team, “Jurnee’s Journey” in honor of my Papaw Tipton and Papaw Allen. I highly encourage you to come out and help us walk to beat heart disease! My goal is to rally at least 10 team members!  If you are unable to attend, you can still visit to make a contribution towards my fundraising goal of $1,500.

Papaw Tipton is recovering very well! He and I talked about NASCAR and school when I went to visit him in the hospital just yesterday. God has a reason for everything and we are relying on prayer for his full recovery.

Heart disease affects us all but we can fight this #1 killer and win the battle! The more people that rally around a cause, the more likely positive, effective change will occur.  


Jurnee Carr
Miss Teen International 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

Outlook Ahead

I will be heading to Richmond International Raceway this weekend followed by a quick trip to NYC for a special appearance with the American Heart Association, then on to Chicago for the Grand Opening of the new NASCAR Car Wash in Romeoville, Illinois with Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. We will be filming a “Ricky vs. Trevor Challenge” at the NASCAR Car Wash so look for that to be released at Also, a portion of the proceeds from car wash sales on Thursday 9/15 will be donated to The NASCAR Foundation.

After my Chicago adventure, I have the honor of being a guest speaker at the Krispy Kreme General Manager’s Leadership Meeting in Charlotte following by a guest tour guide for the group at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday 9/21. As if hot, fresh, melt-in-your-mouth delicious donuts aren’t enough, I am thrilled to have my sister queen, Mrs. South Carolina International, Elizabeth Malvasia, join me with the Krispy Kreme gang. Many might not know, but Krispy Kreme has championed the fundraiser called "Drive for 45" which raises funds to send at least 45 children to attend camp at Victory Junction. To date, thanks to the generosity of so many customers, they've raised over $700,000.

Later this month week, I’ll be volunteering at the Victory Junction half marathon-5k walk/run in Randleman, NC. If you are interested in participating, I invite you to sign up today at That same day, after my run (and shower) I'll be heading back down to Charlotte to walk the runway for Charlotte Fashion Week. Vitamins, daily workouts and prayers hopefully will keep me going. Stay tuned for some great photos!

Janet Bolin

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A 9/11 Story

NASCAR is a sport focused on the fans.  Time and time again, we have always made it our mission to serve the fans.  As we approach the anniversary of 9/11, I share with you a story of how one fan turned tragedy into triumph. 

Let me introduce you to Rob Quillen.  Rob’s story is unique and after 10 years, with permission from Captain Jason Dahl’s widow, he has inked his memories in a new book titled, Why Wait?  A 9/11 Story. 

"When we were getting ready to take off, the stewardess came over and told the two guys next to me they were in the wrong seats. They moved them and Jason (Dahl) came down and sat next to me," said Quillen, slowly choosing his words. "  He was in a suit.   He said, 'Hey, do you work for Jeff Gordon?' I was wearing a Jeff Gordon polo shirt.   I said, 'No, I'm just a big fan.'   He said, 'My son and I are, too.”

Captain Jason Dahl

During the four-hour flight from Denver to New York, Quillen and Captain Jason Dahl bonded deeply, discussing careers, goals, families and racing.  Dahl and his son, Matt, dreamed of going to a NASCAR race and meeting their hero, driver Jeff Gordon. Quillen had two extra tickets for the race at Kansas Speedway later that month. He couldn't arrange a meeting with Gordon, but promised to get the Dahls in to see that race.

When Captain Dahl died the next day, Quillen resolved to make good on his promise and take Matt to that race. With the help of many people, including NASCAR, ESPN and NBC television, he got Matt Dahl to the race as Gordon's special guest.

Quillen tells this story in Why Wait? A 9/11 Story.

"The book is about a simple life lesson for everyone:  Why do we wait to help dreams for other people come true before it is too late?" Quillen said. "All of us have the amazing power to help dreams come true for someone else - you just have to make the decision to do it. It's never too late for an act of kindness."

Proceeds from the sale of this book will be going to the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund which is a 501c3 non-profit program that provides aviation students a scholarship grant in Jason’s name.  To learn more, I invite you to visit

For those of you reading this who are planning on attending this weekend's NASCAR race events at Richmond International Raceway, I invite you to stop by and meet Rob Quillen.  Rob will be signing autographs at the Official NASCAR Trackside Merchandise Trailer on Friday and Saturday starting at 1:30 p.m.  Rob is also going to be interviewed by ESPN on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. 

Janet Bolin

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Extra, Extra!

Hey everyone!

I hope you are having a blessed day and are looking forward to the weekend! The International Pageants have incredible, interactive websites where you can see the current contestants, find former Mrs., Miss, and Miss Teen International titleholders, and navigate to the Go Red for Women website, which is also the national platform for the International Pageants. Another great attribute to the website is being able to vote for your favorite contestant for the Go Red online voting award. (Voting will be available April 1, 2012). With just a few clicks, you can find everything that you are looking for and more!

One of my favorite pages on the International Pageants websites is the home page! Clay Spann captures Mrs, Miss, and Miss Teen International’s best look and it is proudly displayed on the home page. I highly encourage you to go check out the websites; you’re in for a treat! Here are links for each site:

Mrs. International®:

Miss International®:

Miss Teen International®:

I am so blessed to share my year with Janet Bolin-Mrs. International 2011 and Ciji Dodds-Miss International 2011. They are incredible women and I also encourage you to check out their bio page in the website as well!


Jurnee Carr
Miss Teen International 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Illiteracy and Your Health

When most people think of the effects of illiteracy they think of the obvious- the inability to read a newspaper, fill out a job application or take a test. They don’t think of the health consequences of illiteracy. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine deemed illiteracy as the “Silent Epidemic.” Based on a numerous studies, there is a link between illiteracy and poor health. Specifically, individuals who function at the lowest levels of literacy are more likely to suffer from diabetes and heart failure.

The hallmark of illiteracy is shame and fear. People who are illiterate are ashamed of their condition and fearful that they will be found out. When they do visit the doctor, they are scared to ask questions because they are scared that the doctor will figure out that they can’t read. So they don’t ask important questions and because they can’t read written instructions, are more susceptible to making life threatening mistakes. As a result, they are more likely to visit the emergency room due to improper usage of medication or failure to follow doctor’s orders. This dramatically increases their health care costs and makes them more weary of going to the doctor altogether.

Hence the term the Silent Epidemic. Illiteracy is killing people. Let’s all do our part to make sure illiteracy doesn’t continue to deprive people of a healthy life.


Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011


I was a cheerleader throughout middle school, high school and for a short time in college and this was one of my favorite sideline chants.  Little did I know, it would become a personal mantra.  There are times in our lives when we all need a cheerleader and when we must be a cheerleader for someone else.

My best friend was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.  She is only 27.  I am writing this blog to encourage all of you to take an active role in your health, because if she did not have the knowledge and the courage to speak up and be her own greatest cheerleader, her breast cancer may have gone undetected for years.  

Her story is all too familiar.  She noticed a lump in her breast that over a short period of time began to increase in size.  She went to the doctor and the doctor told her not to worry.  Because of her age, the doctor dismissed breast cancer as a possibility.  But, she was adamant.  She knew that no one knew her body better than she did and she insisted that the doctor take a closer look.  Upon further tests and evaluations her greatest fears were confirmed, she has breast cancer. 

 I think that as women and girls sometimes we are so concerned with being nice and not hurting feelings that we choose not to be assertive or when the situation calls for it, aggressive.  We don’t speak up because we don’t want to be perceived as being rude or disrespectful. We treat the words assertive and aggressive like they are curse words.  But, there are times when speaking up will save your life.  Don’t be afraid to speak up.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Don’t be afraid to be assertive.  And above all else, don’t be afraid to Be Aggressive when it comes to taking control of your health.

Empowering women to take control of their health is the mission of Go Red for Women and although their message focuses on heart health, it applies to women’s health in general.  This past year I volunteered at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and in speaking with survivors and women living with the disease there was a common message; The only way to beat breast cancer is to Be Aggressive.  Aggressive in breast cancer prevention; Aggressive in treatment; Aggressive in healing; and Aggressive in supporting friends and family members battling with the disease.

At such a young age I never imagined that I would be watching a friend go through this.  But, the cheerleader in me is ready to bust out as many back handsprings and back tucks as necessary to cheer her though the process. 

Race for the Cure 2011- Washington D.C.

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011