Saturday, March 31, 2012

Second Annual Cuties for a Cure Pageant

One of the greatest things I love about pageantry is the ability to rally girls together to serve others. This past weekend I hosted the 2nd Annual Cuties for a Cure pageant in Norton, Virginia! This pageant was in honor of cancer victim Kadesha Baker, a catalyst for change in her community.



There were close to 70 young ladies competing!

Toddlers to pre-teens competed in 2 categories: the super fun outfit of choice and the very elegant evening gown!

I interviewed the Little Miss contestants, aged 5-6 and the Pre-Teens, aged 9-10. They were the best! I asked them about their favorite television shows and favorite foods! So fun!
It was such an honor to host this pageant last year as Miss Teen Virginia International, and an even bigger honor to host it for the second year in a row as Miss Teen International! I know that Kadesha would be very proud of our efforts!
Jurnee Carr

Friday, March 30, 2012

Prep Work for the BRC

My husband, Chip, and I are preparing for an eventful “appearance” at the upcoming, invitation-only event at Fort Benning – the BRC.  BRC stands for Best Ranger Competition.  The competition is preceded by a sponsor-day of events known as the BRC Challenge. This is our event.

As I look at the itinerary and continue to work on improving my strength with the help of my personal trainer, I realized the other night that for us, this will be like a version of the Newlyweds, or the Amazing Race.  Teaming up for something like this was not in our sights when we got married.  Regardless, Team Chip and Janet are in it to win it!  (Or, at least be successful and hopefully walk away without injury.)

Paperwork is complete including a Waiver of Liability and Medical Questionnaire.  Sizes have been submitted for our ACU, a.k.a. duty uniforms.  And, special thanks to Rocky Boots for outfitting us with a pair of extremely comfortable boots! 

The full day of fun events and challenges are designed to help each participant identify with, and better understand, the life of a Ranger.  We’ll be participating in a Grenade Assault, Climbing/Repelling and a Tomahawk Throw.  Then, we’ll move on to the M4 Range where we will suit up in body armor and experience life fire. The icing on the cake will be the Malvesti Obstacle Course which involves Pull Ups, the Worm Pit, a Vertical ladder (only two rungs), Cargo net, Logs and Walls.  (Did I mention we might get dirty?  I may need to bring my own hair and make-up artist for retouches.)

You are probably reading this wondering, “Why on earth is Janet doing this?”  Chip and I are attending the BRC to help raise awareness for The NASCAR Foundation and 2012 NASCAR Unites Campaign.  We continue to support our military by raising funds for a variety of military charities who partner with The NASCAR Foundation.  Your donation will make a difference.  The 2012 NASCAR Unites blue armband is available online for a $5.00 donation at the link below.  Thank you in advance for your support.


Chip and Janet Bolin

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Donating to Tri-County Humane Society

In 2010 at the International Animal Care Expo, I sat at a lunch table with strangers. By the time we finished lunch, we had made friends with everyone at the table, and one woman bought 10 of the paw pins I was selling at the time. She took them and gave to all the staff at Tri-County Humane Society. I mailed a donation to them thanking them for purchasing the pins and for the work they do to help animals.
 
Little did I know that 2 years later our paths would cross again when I got the opportunity to visit St. Cloud, MN, where Tri-County Humane is located!

Here with Marit Ortega and volunteer Rachel at the 2010 at the International Animal Care Expo sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States!


It was a beautiful shelter with super cute puppies, precious kittens, and even a huge rabbit! The shelter is strictly no-kill, meaning they do not euthanize when there is not enough space to hold animals. They simply give them to a foster parent to wait!


At the end of the tour I presented them with a donation, my second one to them! It warms my heart to be able to reach out to these animals in Minnesota.


To learn how you can help and to participate in their awesome events, check out www.tricountyhumanesociety.org and follow them on Facebook!

Jurnee Carr

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Levine Children’s Hospital Visit


The NASCAR Sprint Cup season is underway and the first seven race events have been pretty spectacular!  While all the on-track excitement has been making headlines, it’s what is off-track that truly matters.  Hundreds of volunteers, from coast-to-coast, have come together to help raise funds and volunteer to help children lead happier, healthier lives.


Earlier this month, I had a chance to make a difference in the lives of children who were patients at Levine Children’s Hospital.  If I can paint a silver lining on the situation, it would be that each child I visited was surrounded by their entire family – mother, father, aunts, uncles along with their friends and neighbors.  You could just feel the love from all of them helping to heal these fragile little ones. 

My appearance was due in part to many from within the sport of NASCAR, generously donating $25 so a child could receive a Speediatrics Teddy Bear.  Speediatrics is the branding given to child care units within hospitals created by Betty Jane France.  The first child I encountered was in a pedal car and her father was pushing her around the hallways.  She was recovering from a surgery earlier in the week.  Tucked inside her seatbelt was her favorite doll sitting right beside her.  She gladly accepted my gift of the teddy bear and then proceeded to make room so she could fit the teddy bear on the other side of her - also protected by the seatbelt.  So precious! 

At the conclusion of my visit, the coordinator shared with me they usually only allow special guests make 1-visit per year.  But, since the children and staff enjoyed my visit so much they would make an exception.  So, I look forward to returning to Levine’s before I give up the crown!

Janet Bolin

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fundraising for Haiti

I have a confession.  I’m the kid in school who sold the bare minimum number of candy bars.  If you wanted to  win the class pizza party for most candy bars sold…you had better hope you weren’t in my class.  I’ve always struggled with fundraising for two reasons.  The first one being, I don’t like to feel like I’m bugging people. The second one being, I don’t like hearing the word no.   I guess you could say I have a fundraising phobia.  

Well, as a titleholder I’ve had to get over that quick.  As I continue to seek donations for my trip to Haiti, I’ve heard the word no more than I can count.  But, I have also heard the word yes just enough times to keep me motivated.   So…I’m still seeking donations of books and school supplies.  If you are interested you can mail them to  P.O. Box 421,  Laurel, Maryland, 20725-0421;  c/o Madison Donovan Group.  I will also be holding an in-person collection where you can drop off donations on Saturday, April 22 from 11 a.m.– 1 p.m. at 401 Main Street Laurel, Maryland 20707.  Companies or individuals who are interested in donating towards or sponsoring costs associated with shipping and preparation should contact the Madison Donovan Group at- http://www.madisondonovangroup.com/#!contact

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Best,

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pre-Teen and Teen Maryland International Pageant

This weekend I had the honor of judging the Miss Pre-teen and Teen Maryland International Pageant.  All of the contestants were amazing.  Judging is never easy, but this was by far the hardest pageant that I’ve ever had to judge.   The contestants were passionate about their platforms and dedicated to serving their communities.   This made the task at hand seem overwhelming.  After an electric onstage performance, Layilah Nasser was crowned Miss Teen Maryland International.  Indeya Campbell captured the audience’s hearts and the title of Miss Pre-Teen Maryland International. 

I also want to take a moment to say Thank You & Job Well-Done  to the outgoing titleholders, Margo Huffman and Lexi  Wakefield.  I have watched as Lexi has blossomed into a confident and engaging young lady.  Margo never ceases to impress me with her elegance and graciousness.  They have done an incredible job serving the state of Maryland and are true role M.O.D.E.L.S.  

Congratulations to the newest members of the International family!   Get excited, you all have an awesome year ahead! 




Best,

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Minnesota International Pageant

The weather was cold but the competition was hot at the Minnesota International pageant! I boarded on the plane and headed off to the Land of 10,000 Lakes!

Yes, my crown was my carry-on.

That weekend was such a whirlwind! Preliminary competition started Saturday night. Then Sunday afternoon was the contestant luncheon, and I was the keynote speaker!

Here I am on the official schedule!


I spoke about my platform and gave each of the contestants a Go Red dress pin to either keep or distribute. I also got to catch up with Paula Preston, the official pageant photographer!

Look, we match!

Saturday night was finals! Every contestant looked beautiful and rocked the stage!

Signing autographs!


Congrats to the new 2012 Minnesota International queens!

Jurnee Carr

Friday, March 23, 2012

Family Track Walks


On Sunday, March 25, fans attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway will have a chance to walk on the track before the race!  Starting at 9:00 a.m., in Turn 4, you can walk alongside Coca-Cola Racing Family members, Ryan Newman and Bobby Labonte! 

Bring your family and friends to Turn 4 and walk on the same track where your favorite NASCAR drivers will reach speeds of more than 200 mph!  The whole morning will be filled with fun activities and is free to all Auto Club 400 ticket holders.  You’ll enjoy a group warm up before the walk, some of your favorite Coke products at the hydration stations located along the walk route, and a 15-minute question-and-answer session with members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family Drivers –  truly an unforgettable experience for the whole family!  So head on over to Turn 4 on race morning to get up close and personal with some of your favorite drivers while enjoying some active family fun. 

Race fans can visit www.MyCokeRewards throughout the year for more information on upcoming events and tips, sweepstakes and exclusive content featuring their favorite Coca-Cola Racing Family
drivers. 

Janet Bolin

Thursday, March 22, 2012

100 Years of Girl Scouts

It’s hard to believe that 100 years ago our organization, the Girl Scouts of America, was founded by one courageous woman-Juliette Gordan Lowe.


In order to celebrate the feats of this amazing woman, 50,000 Girl Scouts gathered at the Mall of America to celebrate 100 years of this organization, including myself! As a fellow Girl Scout working on her Gold Award (the highest award possible for a G.S.), it was a true honor to be a special host at the Courageous and Strong Girl court.

Getting my mic on!

Signing some autographs before going on stage!

Thousands of girls tuned in as I shared my Girl Scout story and gave them advice on how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Guest speakers showed how to create happiness through “laughing yoga”, how to prepare a delicious, healthy meal, how to use manners, and tips on hairstyles that best reflect your bold personality.



Here with Mary Anderson of YogaStudio. She taught us a new form of yoga that increases brain health-laughing and having fun!

Signing more autographs!

This troop had their troop number in the form of a crown! Too cute!

Doing the Girl Scout handshake with a fellow scout!

I met up with Justine Magazine and am excited to begin working on a project with them!

Girl Scout outfits from every decade were displayed around the mall!

100 years of Girl Scouting equal over 3 million girls internationally making a difference. It’s astounding how 1 woman sparked a movement that has lasted throughout a century. It is an honor to be a part of this great organization and being able to reach out to my fellow Girl Scouts all around the world.

Jurnee Carr

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Auto Club Speedway

I’ll be heading to Fontana, California this weekend.  There is a lot of excitement planned for everyone attending this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series event.  The multi-platinum-selling rock band, All American Rejects, will be playing a pre-race concert this Sunday.   And, Jo Jo, the youngest artist to ever reach No. 1 at the Top 40 Radio Format (and the youngest solo artist to have a No. 1 song on the Billboard charts) is singing the National Anthem prior to Sunday’s, Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

All American Rejects scheduled to perform a pre-race concert on Sunday, March 25 prior to the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

: JoJo scheduled to sing the National Anthem before the green flag on Sunday, March 25 for the Auto Club 400.

One new event added to this weekend is a celebrity FundRacing qualifying event called the DRIVE4COPD Pro-Am Celebrity Racing Challenge which will feature well known faces in entertainment, music and business who will take the wheel of a NASCAR stock car to support awareness, screenings and research for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The star-studded race is created in partnership with COPD Foundation in support of DRIVE4COPD, the Official Health Initiative of NASCAR®.

On Friday, March 23, celebrities will compete in the Drive4COPD Celebrity Racing Challenge at Auto Club Speedway.

Pro-Am participants will attend Rusty Wallace Racing School and then tackle 4 laps around Southern California’s premier motorsports oval behind the wheel of a stock car. The celebrity race will be held at 6 p.m. PST on Friday, March 23, following the DRIVE4COPD NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying.


Auto Club Speedway will make a donation to COPD Foundation on behalf of the participants. Fans will be encouraged to text donations from the track.  All donations for the event and COPD Foundation are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Janet Bolin

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Power to End Stroke Campaign

The Power to End Stroke Campaign is an education and awareness campaign launched by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.  Its goal is to educate the public on stroke prevention and treatment.  A major goal of the campaign is to dramatically reduce the risk of stroke throughout the nation.   I, like many Americans, have family members who have been personally affected by strokes.  It is a scary thing, but education is the one thing that can transform fear into empowerment.  
 
Stroke is the no. 3 cause of death in the United States.  It is a cardiovascular disease that occurs when a blood vessel that is carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts.   Warning signs include:
· Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
· Confusion
· Trouble speaking or understanding
· Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
· Difficulty walking
· Dizziness
· Loss of balance or coordination
· Severe headache with no known cause 

Every second counts and it is imperative that if these symptoms occur you immediately seek medical help.  Because Stroke is a form of cardiovascular disease, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risks.   

To find out more and to take a personal risk assessment, go to http://www.powertoendstroke.org/index.html

Best,

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Monday, March 19, 2012

Miss International Goes to Haiti!


When the opportunity of a lifetime presents itself, you owe it to yourself to go for it!  When I was told that there was a chance for me to go on a philanthropic trip to Haiti, I knew immediately that this was one of those life changing moments.  Needless to say, without any hesitation at all, I went for it.  From April 25 through May 2, I will be traveling throughout the country of Haiti.    The trip is in connection with Peace Love International- R.E.S.T.O.R.E. Haiti. 

Haiti is a country with a rich history and a resilient spirit like no other.  I feel so privileged to be afforded the opportunity to meet the people of Haiti and explore their culture.  I hope to share a bit of myself and leave my Bookprint.  Prior to my departure, I will be collecting French and English children’s books as well as school supplies.  These books will be donated to children at various orphanages and schools throughout Haiti.  I’ve kicked off my drive and am currently working with several churches and charities to make my dream a reality.  My title has opened this door for me, and I fully intend to walk through and make an impact the best way that I know how- service.  The adage is true, "People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."               

Anyone who is interested in donating can ship items to  P.O. Box 421,  Laurel, Maryland, 20725-0421;  c/o Madison Donovan Group.  I will also be holding an in-person collection where you can drop off donations on Saturday, April 22 from 11 a.m.– 1 p.m. at 401 Main Street Laurel, Maryland 20707.  Companies or individuals who are  interested in donating towards or sponsoring costs associated with shipping and preparation should contact the Madison Donovan Group at- http://www.madisondonovangroup.com/#!contact 

I can’t wait to share the journey of a lifetime with all of you!

Best,

Ciji Dodds
Miss International 2011

Saturday, March 17, 2012

NASCAR Foundation Spotlight

The NASCAR Foundation is happy to announce, alongside the 2011 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Finalist, Jake Bernstein, that Volunteen Nation has launched their website!   Volunteen Nation was dreamed up by youngsters including Jake whose mission is to “Spread the spirit of volunteerism for youth and families throughout the nation.” Check out this new website and find ways you can get involved in your community! The NASCAR Foundation is excited to see the way’s Jake has continued his passion for helping others! 

http://www.volunteennation.org/blog/categories/latest-news/74-volunteen-nation-launches


Berstein, Finalist for the 2011 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.


Applications for the 2012 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award are now available. From the pool of applicants, four (4) finalists will be selected. The mobile and online vote campaign will narrow the pool to a single award-winner. Prizes are as follows: 

Three (3) Finalists will receive: A $25,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation to a children’s charity of their choice (must be a registered, public, 501c3 tax-exempt organization in the United States). An all-expense-paid trip* to a NASCAR race weekend (TBD) in 2012 as part of the award recognition process and in recognition of the person as a finalist for the award. An all-expense-paid trip* to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week in Las Vegas in December 2012 (finalists may each bring one guest), as well as a child (and child’s parent/guardian) that benefit from the finalist’s designated charity. 

One (1) Winner will receive: An all-expense-paid trip* to a NASCAR race weekend (TBD) in 2012 as part of the award recognition process and in recognition of the person as a finalist for the award. A $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation to a children’s charity of their choice (must be a registered, public, 501c3 tax-exempt organization in the United States). An all-expense-paid trip* to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week in Las Vegas in December 2012 for the Winner and one guest to receive the award, as well as a child (and child’s parent/guardian) that benefit from the Winner’s designated charity. Winner and child from the designated charity will be presented a trophy and an acknowledgment of a $100,000 donation to be made to their designated charity. 

Follow this link to learn more and to nominate someone today. The deadline for entries is THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012. Thank you in advance for your support.

www.nascar.com/unites

Janet Bolin

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hungry for The Hunger Games

It was on The New York Times list for over 100 consecutive weeks as of September 2010. It has sold almost 3 million copies. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s The Hunger Games!!

The countdown begins for the premier!

This is probably the best series that I have read since the Twilight Saga. The action is crazy the romance is softening, but above all, the characters rock! And I got to see them!!

On their tour around the United States promoting the premier of The Hunger Games movie, the cast stopped by the Mall of America the same weekend I went! Wow! There were at least 5,000 people packed around the central square of the mall, with fans on each of the 4 levels of the mall!

Josh Hutcherson was definitely looking at me! ..or at least in my direction!


And yes, my friend Courtney Woolwine and I will be front and center at the midnight premier next week! Who’s with me?!

Jurnee Carr


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mall of America

What an incredible weekend I had in Minnesota! I will have to write multiple blogs to describe all my adventures so stay tuned for more!

First, I would like to begin with my first trip to the Mall of America!


My mother and I shopped all day and checked out every store over the course of 2 days!


A proud owner of the entire book collection of American Girls, I had a lot of fun exploring this store!

We watched The Vow in the theater in the mall to relax our tired feet! We also ate at the Rainforest Café, which was in the mall!

We sat next to the waterfall wall! The mist was refreshing!

We picked up some great bargains for my little brother and sister, and maybe a few (or more) for ourselves!

Princess Diana’s clothing collection was in a special display room in the mall. Her crown fits perfectly on me!..sorta..

That weekend celebrated the 100 year anniversary of Girl Scouts. We stopped by the Girl Scout store and picked up some cool items for my little sisters troop!

We also grabbed a box of thin mints!

The troops sold so many cookies that they turned into cookies!

The Peep had a Girl Scout banner on!

It was very difficult to stuff all of our new items in our already overstuffed luggage, but we did it! 

I can’t wait to return to the “mother ship” soon!

Jurnee Carr

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

North Carolina International Pageant

I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the North Carolina International Pageant which was held at the Garner Performing Arts Center in Garner, North Carolina.  The contestants were all treated to a delightful weekend hosted by the new Executive Director and Mrs. North Carolina International 2009, LaDaria Richardson.  I continue to be inspired by the extensive charitable efforts of women across the world, including our past queens.  This past weekend was nothing short of amazing.  Below are some great photos from my weekend.  I look forward to seeing these new queens at Nationals in Chicago!


Social party on Friday night.


LaDaria Richardson, an outstanding leader and Executive Director for the NC Intl Pageants.


This was right before we dove into the cupcakes on Friday night during rehearsals.


All the Mrs. NC Intl contestants after interview.


Bright-eyed and ready to cheer on the contestants for their interviews!


Backstage with the contestants before their final rehearsal.


Final rehearsals went really great!


One last photo with Brittney, backstage, before crowning the new Miss NC Intl.


One last photo with Morgan before she crowned the new Miss Teen NC Intl.


In preparation for the crowning, this is our “I can’t believe I won” face. 


The new NC Queens in their first “extended arm” photo with me!  (Be prepared for many more unless I find a photographer to follow me around everywhere.)

A much more professional glamour shot of all of us compliments of Morgan’s Mom. 

Janet Bolin