Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gold Guys

Help Krista’s Cause without Opening your Wallet!

As my blog readers may already know, I am continually raising money to provide healing arts to children who have been abused or neglected.  I have already raised a 25% of my goal amount with the help of Wal-mart and several private donations.  Here’s a way that you can help without opening your wallet. 
The “Gold Guys” will provide me with a 10% commission for everyone who mentions my name when selling their old gold or silver jewelry.  The commission I earn, does not reduce the amount of money that your earn!  It’s a win-win for everyone - a little cha-ching in your pocket and a donation for the kids!
To find out where you can find a Gold Guys in your area click here:
Check your old purses and dresser drawers for old class rings, broken chains and “lost-the-other-one” earrings. Throw them in a zip lock baggie and head to the Gold Guys.  If you are not sure whether something is gold or costume jewelry, try placing it near a magnet.  If it adheres to the magnet, it does not have any value at the Gold Guys.  The representatives will be happy to let you know the value of your offer, which you can accept, or reject.  If you accept the offer, they will give you a check on the spot.
They also buy unwanted sterling silver; flatware, candlestick, or tea sets. Even silver foreign coins. Don’t forget to tell them that Krista Wanous sent you!

Krista Wanous

Monday, October 29, 2012


On Monday, I celebrated my 17th birthday! I can’t believe another year has passed already. From winning the title of Miss Teen International to beginning my Senior year of high school, my 16th year was packed with memorable moments. I had the most amazing birthday! I began my celebration over the weekend. One of my friends surprised me with tickets to see Jake Owen and Florida Georgia Line. Then, I had a birthday celebration with my friends and family…complete with GiGi’s cupcakes of course!

Madyson always brings the fun!

What birthday would be complete without GiGi’s cupcakes?!

I am so lucky to have the most amazing mom in the world. She made sure my day was absolutely perfect, as always!

Caroline Crowley

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Free Arts – Art Heals Breakfast!

Every year Free Arts Minnesota has a breakfast fundraiser. Unlike Art Incognito, our fundraiser last week, the Art Heals Breakfast is a gathering of Free Arts supporters to learn about our mentor programs and to hear about the benefits from children who have experienced it first hand. It is a fun filled morning of pancakes, entertainment, testimonials, and inspirational stories. I will be hosting my own table this year and am so excited to be able to show my friends and supporters just exactly what Free Arts does and how beneficial it is to the children.
Registration is required to attend!

Please sign up by contacting me @, online or call the office to register - 612.824.2787 

Attend our free fundraising breakfast and join 400 individuals and business representatives from your community. You will see a portion of our programs showcasing the healing effects of the creative arts for the children that we serve.  Throughout our program, Free Arts informs and inspires you, our community, to support our efforts in transforming young lives through artistic expression. 
While this is a fundraiser, there is no minimum or maximum gift expected.

Art Heals! Breakfast 2012

Thursday, November 8
Metropolitan Ballroom
418 Wayzata Blvd

Minneapolis, MN 55416 

8 - 9 am
See you there!

Love always,

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Celebrating Life!

If you have ever had a life changing event, good or bad, you most likely know what it is to wake up on the anniversary of that particular day…and simply know deep down today is the day. For me, the day is October 26th…and on this day 18 years ago, I was 28, engaged to be married, owned a growing construction materials company, was on the ice daily coaching some talented figure skaters, lived in a loft in downtown Minneapolis, and shared my home with my Bichon Frise puppy named Rockwell.

On that fateful day, I chose to charter a helicopter to fly over a construction project with the hope of giving the workers a unique perspective of a significant project on which they had worked so hard. The rides were well received and everyone was enjoying the views from above…until the last ride of the day, when there was room for one more to fill the five passenger Bell Jet Ranger. The guys waved me over and I climbed into the rear center seat, put on my headset, and felt the excitement that only a helicopter can galvanize.

As we flew over a newly constructed bridge, the pilot saw the power lines that had just been strung. He made a decision to fly under versus over the lines, which I credit for keeping us alive, regardless we became entangled. The lines wrapped around the post and cables connecting our rotor. Unfortunately, the cables broke causing our rotor to disconnect from the helicopter. The turbulence was immediate and violent. With an obstructed view looking forward, I had no idea what had happened, but the pilot instructed us “hold on, we’re going down!”

Our momentum carried us another quarter mile with extreme jarring and shaking and I knew this was going to hurt…and hurt bad. I never thought I was going to die. We were seated upright, and to me that somehow meant survival. Microphones were connected to each headset, and I can hear the nearly unanimous “Oh my Gods” as clear today as if I were still seated in the cabin.

We came down hard on the brand new concrete pavement, skidded into the ditch and crashed into the temporary concrete median barrier. All four men were out of the wreckage instantly, however, I remained inside unable to get my leather work gloves under the buckle to release the lap constraint. I looked up and saw the bright blue sky…thinking where did the roof go? In that very moment, the helicopter exploded…with me right in the center…where it was completely quiet and eerily serene. I was blown backward and found my legs coming up over my head in the bench seat to which I was still confined. I could see the red flames and black smoke with a towering plume climbing into the sky…in an instant, I realized the flames were coming around the bench seat from both sides just as I was able to free my seat belt and somersault out of the seat. The flames caught the back of my jet fuel soaked turtle neck, and I knew my clothing was on fire. It never dawned on me…that in fact, I was on fire.

The Stop, Drop, and Roll message ran through my head, therefore, I stayed on the ground rolling…only to look back at the dry vegetation igniting behind me. I screamed for help with all that I had, knowing at this point that I was in real trouble. The pilot jumped on my back, causing severe burns to himself, and put out the flames. I recall this entire event in slow-motion detail and could share with you the acts of kindness and heroism that I witnessed on that afternoon, but I do not want to lose sight of the meaning of this message.

When I wake up on this day, October 26th, I have felt a range of emotions. I have been filled with sadness, I have felt guilt, I have been consumed with anger for my loss, but mostly…I celebrate…I celebrate the fact that I am alive, I celebrate that God gave me choice…and I fought to survive. I celebrate all of the loved ones who were there for me, supported me, and love me even with my flaws. It is important to share with you that I don’t judge those feelings or consider them to be unhealthy; I simply feel them, acknowledge them, and accept to the best of my ability.

As I sit here writing this blog…I can’t help but thank God and those that mean so very much to me for being there every step of the way, for helping me fight, and for encouraging me to share my life’s journey with so many of you…


With unimaginable gratitude and love to you all,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Around Town

What happens when you are 17 years old and become Miss Teen of Minnesota, judge a local pageant for younger girls, select the talented 16 year old baton twirler as a winner, who later attends Augsburg College (where you are a student), and then you both find yourself on the stage competing for the same title in yet another pageant? Well, this is exactly the path that the talented and successful Carla Jean Beaurline and I took to lead us to the interview you are about to watch!

Carla is the owner and host of “Around Town” TV, which is a very popular cable television show on MCN Channel 6, here in the Twin Cities. Carla has been nominated to the Pavek Museum Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame, is a two time Twin Cities Media Network Diamond Awards for Television Personality of the Year, TV Sales Person of the Year, won a National award for 25 Women who Rule in Sales and Marketing, Upper Midwest Emmy Award Nominee and 10th Annual Better Business Bureau Integrity Award Nominee. She is a driven entrepreneur, devoted daughter, and we have remained friends for nearly 30 years. I often say that the best part about aging is the wisdom, experience, and friendships that come with it!

Thank you to my dear friend for asking me to do this interview, as it gave me an opportunity to promote the International system, share the message of “Go Red,” and of course talk about the Phoenix Society for burn survivors. Again, I hope you can sit back, relax, and enjoy this complete edition of “Around Town” TV (for your information the interview is the final segment and lasts approximately 6 minutes):
Note - For any readers in the Twin Cities area, this starts airing Thursday October 25th at 5:30 PM and runs through Thursday morning November 22, 2012, which means it can be viewed 80 times in 4 weeks.

With love and appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You Can Make a Difference

Saturday, October 27 is Make A Difference Day!  According to Usatoday.weekend, “more than 3 million people help 20 million others on this annual day of volunteering.”  What will you do this Saturday?

If you are have never volunteered or if you are still trying to find an organization that you feel passionate about, use this day to experience the joy of volunteering or explore your options.  Many young people feel nervous about how to start or have false beliefs that their only option is working in a soup kitchen, but volunteers are needed for many kinds of projects.   Organizations need compassionate people with a variety of talents.  Within every community there are people who could use a hand.  A quick internet search should help you get started or check out

Pageant contestants are sometimes labeled as shallow and materialistic. But I know that is a false stereotype, especially for contestants in the International Pageant system.  Their emphasis on volunteerism is part of what differentiates this organization.  In fact I choose this pageant specifically because it gave me a venue for sharing my passion of healing with art. 

During the pageant in July, I had the pleasure of meeting contestants who volunteered for a variety of non-profits and charities; from large national organizations to individual projects launched when a need was identified in the community.  If every contestant in the Miss division spent 8 hours volunteering, we would have provided 400 hours of service to others.  That kind of dedication can make a difference!

Krista Wanous

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rock the Beat

Football season is by far my favorite time of the school year! Not only is it a great way to spend a Friday night, but it is also a great way to get your community and student body involved in a great cause. This year, the American Heart Association has challenged high schools across the nation to participate in their campaign, “Rock the Beat”. Along with other teachers and students, I have helped organize a “Red Out” football game to raise money for this very important cause. I encourage you all to organize events at your school and become involved in the “Rock the Beat” campaign. We decided to organize our plan to raise money by assigning different fundraisers to various student organizations. Listed below are a few of Ashford High School’s ideas to help you begin.

The first step is to decide what your school’s monetary goal will be. Together, we decided on the amount of $3,000.00. The American Heart Association provides “Rock the Beat” t-shirts for students to sell. A huge portion of our goal is being achieved by selling the shirts for $10.00 per shirt.

Cheerleaders, football players, volleyball players, and band members: Wear red ribbons to the “Red Out” game, any fan wearing their “Rock the Beat” t-shirt to the game on Friday will receive admission for half price

Senior Science Club: sell 100 “Rock the Beat” t-shirts

Junior Civitan: host a bake sale during break

Key Club: sell red balloons to release at the “Red Out” game

Senior Beta Club: sell hearts for the “HeartLine Wall” at the “Red Out” game (fans will be able to purchase a heart in honor or in memory of a loved with that has battled a heart disease)

Our principals have even agreed to dye their hair red if we reach our goal of $3,000.00! All proceeds will go to the American Heart Association.

The first ten queens that e-mail a photo of them involving their school in the “Rock the Beat” campaign or any American Heart Association fundraiser will receive a rhinestone red dress logo pin for their banner and will be featured on one of my blog posts! Please send your photo(s) to I look forward to seeing your photos!

Hearts and Hugs,

Caroline Crowley

Monday, October 22, 2012

Video Release - Regions Hospital Burn Center

When someone is severely burned, they are often cared for initially by a community hospital or medical center that would then refer them to the nearest “Burn Center,” which specializes in the care of burns. Fortunately, because of the location of my accident I was taken directly by ambulance to Regions Hospital Burn Center located in St. Paul, Minnesota, on the afternoon of October 26, 1994.

Prior to that day I had never been hospitalized, broken a bone, or known what it was to experience real pain. Even without previous experience, I knew that I was being given the best care available. The burn team, which is comprised of; doctors, nurses, therapists, social worker, psychiatrist, and even the hospital Chaplin where with me every step of the painful journey. Unfortunately, they often had to inflict more pain on my body than a person should ever have to endure, but they did it with the best of intensions. I often think this is the cruelest part of being burned, as if the event itself is not enough, the road to recovery is comprised of torturous surgeries, therapies, and an emotional roller coaster ride that challenges the strongest of individuals.

Regardless, I want you to know there is a positive and amazing message to be shared, as a burn center is filled with dedicated angels, who do what many could not do, and I will be eternally grateful to each and every member of my burn team for their role in saving my life. Therefore, it was my privilege to be asked to participate in a video for promotion of the burn center, encouraging community care facilities to send their patients to Regions.

If you would like to view the video, here is the link…and it is my pleasure to share with you that it opens on a current bridge project for which my company is supplying materials to Lunda Construction Company of Black River Falls, Wisconsin:

Best Wishes,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tiara Magazine

Back in August, I shared with you a few details about the wonderful experience of sitting down with Sherrie Gearheart, Editor-in-Chief of Tiara Magazine for an interview. Sherrie recently announced the publication of that interview with a posting as it appears below.

Before you read her words, allow me to say that it is with sincere gratitude that I share this message with you, and hope those of you reading this blog understand that I am humbled and accept this honor on behalf of every burn survivor who has struggled to hide their scars.
Sherrie wrote:

"Share the good news! Sarah Bazey, Mrs. International 2012, is featured on Tiara Magazine's website which is read in over 140 countries!!

An interview with Sarah Bazey, Mrs. International 2012, also named Tiara Magazine's Most Beautiful Titleholder of the year! Read her inspiring story."

Tiara Magazine has nominated Sarah Bazey, Mrs. International 2012, as the Most Beautiful Titleholder of the year! Each year we choose one woman that we feel exemplifies beauty, grace, and integrity. Look for Sarah in our upcoming fall/winter issue of Tiara Magazine. I had the beautiful opportunity as founder and editor of Tiara Magazine to sit down and interview this phenomenal lady.

She is a true survivor with a strong will that defied all odds. She was once a burn victim of a terrible tragedy and she took her experience and overcame it by becoming Mrs. International 2012. More importantly, she has shared her light with others. She is a beacon of hope for those that have become burn victims and helps those suffering turn their sadness into a new found hope to live, love, and laugh. Sarah Bazey is a true story of grace, from a victim to a victor, and we are proud to introduce to you Mrs. International 2012.


Sherrie Gearheart
Editor in Chief
Tiara Magazine

With deep appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Board of Education Meeting

This week I was recognized by the Houston County Board of Education at their monthly meeting as an “Outstanding Student” of our school system for my accomplishments at the Miss Teen International pageant. I had the opportunity to share information about my platform with our superintendent and school board members.  I am forever indebted to the Houston County Board of Education because they are the very reason that I became involved with helping children with special needs.

My mom began teaching children with Autism when I was a toddler. When I did not have school, our principal would allow me to come into her classroom and play with her students. She taught me that no matter what our differences, we are all put on this Earth for a special purpose and God created each person for a very special reason. Throughout my years as a student in the Houston County school system, our board members have embraced every opportunity for students to serve others.

Through clubs such as Junior Civitan, high school students in our school system are allowed to go on field trips with our “Victory Class,” which includes children with both physical and mental handicaps. We are assigned a buddy when school begins, and we remain with that student throughout the remainder of the year. We attend the annual Fishing with Angels Day, Special Citizens Day at our local fair, Special Olympics, bowling field trips, and we host parties for the class on special occasions and holidays. My school system has played a major role in helping me develop into the young lady that I am today and showing students that the most important characteristic to have is a servant’s heart. I am forever grateful!

Posing in Mr. Pitchford’s chair…I’m sure he wouldn’t mind trading places with me for the day!
Being silly, as always, with my little brother, Grayson.
Our superintendent, Mr. Tim Pitchford

My principal, Mr. Odom, said he thought I should wear my crown to school every day. I definitely would not mind!

Caroline Crowley

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sponsor a Child – Free Arts Minnesota

Free Arts Minnesota needs donations! Help provide training to mentors, supplies for projects, background checks, and faculty to children’s mentoring programs. The children that Free Arts works with have experienced a wide range of emotional trauma or life changing expenses such as abuse, neglect, poverty, homelessness, and natural disaster.

They need an opportunity to express difficult emotions while rebuilding trusting relationships with adults in their community. The Pohlad Family Foundation has graciously provided a matching grant for all new donors. Please help by donating funds, art supplies, or your time as a volunteer. Only $10 a month will make a significant difference in a child’s life.

Click here to donate.

This week donated funds that were matched to provide four children Free Arts mentoring every single week for a year. I have also worked with the Wal-Mart Foundation to provide Free Arts Minnesota with a $1,500 Grant for programming and over $1000.00 for Free Arts office and supply needs. I will continue to help raise funds to keep arts mentoring available to children in need. I challenge you to do the same!


Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bastyr Family Benefit at Brainerd International Raceway

Thank you to Kristi and Jed Copham, owners of Brainerd International Raceway (BIR), for inviting me to participate in a benefit for the Bastyr Family on October 6, 2012. Lisa Bastyr is fighting for her life, as she is hospitalized in the burn unit at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN, after enduring severe burns to 65% of her body.

Lisa’s husband John, his sister Linda, and her step-daughter Desiree were in attendance at the event, along with BIR racers and their family members who wanted to share their support and well wishes with the Bastyrs.

Bastyr Family

Having spent a few hours with John and Desiree prior to the fundraiser, it was my privilege to address those in attendance with a message about the mission of the International system and my personal platform, as well as, experience as it related to the Bastyr family.

Autographing Headshot
Specifically, I shared with them the message of a burn injury having not only a devastating effect on the victim, but also on the whole family. It was important for them to know that their presence at the event is an act of kindness that is simply priceless to the family.

Ingman Family
Kristi Copham

Further, I was able to offer my willingness to answer questions or concerns anyone had regarding the burn experience, as this is often too much for a family to handle when they are still enduring the trauma.

Alyssa Copham with Panda
Halloween Costume Contestants
More Halloween Fun

Please join me in keeping Lisa and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

With sincere appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Buddy Walk

Over the weekend, I attended the annual Wiregrass Area Buddy Walk at Landmark Park in my hometown. This year over 1500 people attended the walk. The Buddy Walk is designed to raise money and, more importantly, awareness for the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Organization (Families Reaching, Influencing, Educating, and Networking for Down’s Syndrome). The organization’s mission is to foster a bias-free world for children with Down’s Syndrome.  Through fundraising events such as the Buddy Walk, the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. organization is able to teach the public about those living with Down’s Syndrome, bring families that are affected by Down’s Syndrome together, and to develop a community-wide support group.

Our day was filled with fun! We began opening ceremonies by gathering in a huge circle and singing “Happy Birthday” to everyone whose birthday falls during the month of October, which included me! Then, our local F.R.I.E.N.D.S. choir sang the National Anthem. After each team was introduced, we began the mile-long walk, which was followed by carnival games and lunch. I had such a blast watching families and “buddies” interact with one another. I am so fortunate to live in such an accepting and loving community!

This year, I was on Peyton’s Team. He is five years old and has Down’s Syndrome. Peyton is definitely a “social butterfly” and one of the sweetest little boys I know. Before the walk began, he walked around our circle and hugged every member of our team.
Parker is Peyton’s younger brother. When I babysit for their family, Parker is always so helpful! I love to watch Parker and Peyton play together. They love to watch Curious George and play with their puppies.
Caroline Crowley

Art Incognito

Free Arts Minnesota held their annual Art Incognito event last Thursday. It was a fantastic night of elusive elegance and stunning pieces of artwork. Over 70 pieces of donated artwork was auctioned off to provide children with art mentoring programs. Attending this fun filled night was so exciting for me. One year ago I attended as Miss Saint Cloud with absolutely no idea what was in store for me. It was great being able to network and mingle during the evening and reunite with Free Arts Minnesota supporters I met last year. They were very excited to hear about my success!

In the historic Ford Centre in Minneapolis Minnesota, partygoers fiercely bid over beautiful pieces of work from small child made work to large technically mastered pieces. I was surprised when I met a very young lady who was an artist in the show. She couldn’t have been more than six years old but was already a successful artist. Below is a picture of Brena and I, although she was more interested in showing me her teeth than smiling for the camera!

Brena & I
Brena & her Dad, Zach
Artwork by Brena
A good friend of mine was the lucky bidder who got to take number Brena’s piece home!
The rest of the evening was occupied by a live auction, testimonial and an opportunity to sponsor a child. Overall, the night was a huge success and I was honored to be able to support a cause so near and dear to my heart. I have no hear any official number as to how successful the night was but I know Free Arts Minnesota loves and appreciates their donors, supporters, ad volunteers very much. Without these people Free Arts would not be bale to help child in need of loving mentors and creative outlets.
Dan, the Executive Director of Free Arts Minnesota and I
Art Heals!!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tonka Times

To the Dakotah Sioux Indians, the word “Tonka” means; big or great. If you are familiar with the Twin Cities area, you would most likely know that one of our most treasured lakes, which covers more than 14,500 acres, is called Lake Minnetonka. To the Sioux, this meant “water-big.” The shores of this lake have been home to many of Minnesota’s elite for decades; like the Pillsburys, Daytons, and Burnetts. Though I have never lived on this lake, it is a special place for me personally inclusive of vivid memories of learning to water ski on this gorgeous body of water.

This also happens to be the name sake of the locally founded Tonka Toys, which happens to be near and dear to my husband’s heart. Also, the first time Joe and I held our Maltese puppy in our hands, we agreed he needed a tough name for such a little guy, therefore, as we drove to a birthday party near Lake Minnetonka that evening and turned onto Tonkawood Lane the name reached Joe in an epiphany…Tonka!

All this leads me to the topic of today’s blog…the Tonka Times and a very special lady named Michelle Koch, who took the time to write a touching article that brought me to tears, which is the feature story of the current edition of this wonderful community publication. Besides the pageant photos supplied to Michelle, she decided to include a couple photos taken just inside and outside our home, as well as, the last church directory photo taken of me with my parents the year before my father passed away.

If you would like to read the article, you can find it here:

With love and appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Neiman Marcus Fashion Show to Benefit Children's Hospital Association

This one is for the Fashionistas who love the “the list” by Neiman Marcus! The event was hosted by Catherine Loose, who is the Public Relations Manager for the Minneapolis Neiman Marcus store in Gaviidae Commons, and it was called “The Art of Style” fall 2012 trends!

With Models and Hostess

What made this event even more spectacular was its purpose of supporting a worthy charitable cause. On behalf of the North Oaks Lunch Bunch Guild, the entire proceeds from this event were raised to benefit the Children’s Hospital Association in St. Paul, MN.

Drawing the Fabulous NM Gifts

It was my pleasure to mingle with guests as they sipped on champagne and nibbled on delicacies, all leading up to a display of this seasons fashion trends. For those of you who weren’t with us…here is a rundown of “the list”:

Mixed Greens – Solo or in combination, greens spruce up any wardrobe.
The Jacket – Goes over everything-keep it top of mind.
The Smoking Slipper – The luxury loafer is flat-out chic.
The Leather Leg – Second-skin light or cut like trouser, leather has legs.
Navy: The New Neutral – Pair it up with black or brights.
The Statement Handbag – Size, shape, and details speak volumes.
Borrowed From the Boys – Menswear influences tailor-made for her.
Digital Prints – Patterns made modern.
Brooches – One adds newness, a cluster adds drama.
The Fall Face – Get juiced with the cherry lip.

I have to say my personal favorites this season are; Navy with black, a Leather Leg, and Brooches. Since I was a young girl, I have loved the brooches in my Mother’s jewelry box. They are fantastic to add to a wrap, sweater or lapel.

I want to send out a big “thank you” to the wonderful Holly Ernst (Mrs. Minnesota International 2003) and her mother-in-law Kathryn Ernst and sister-in-law Caroline Fortmeyer for inviting me to this lovely event, which was followed by an unforgettable dinner at the new location of Oceanaire!

Also my appreciation goes to the many devoted organizers who were so welcoming, the stunning models, and Neiman Marcus for its generosity. And finally, it was a pleasure to meet the beautiful ladies who showed up to share in the fun and support a good cause, including a local broadcast talent, who may have posed in a photo with me (Vineeta Sawkar with the ABC Affiliate KSTP, her mother and friends).

With sincere appreciation,

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq

I am the Healing Arts spokesperson for the International Child Art Foundation. This organization was founded and lead by Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq. He is an extremely accomplished man with incredible background. Here is a link to an interview he did recently pertaining to the International Child Art Foundation and the increasing popularity with cyber networking and digital technology.

Ashfaq is a huge role model and inspiration to me. He is kind, generous, welcoming and one of the most interesting men I have ever encountered. Below, is a brief paragraph about his credentials and history.  Ashfaq has a unique perspective that we can achieve global peace through art.

Ashfaq Ishaq, Ph.D.
Chairman, International Child Art Foundation
Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq founded the International Child Art Foundation to harness children’s imagination for positive social change.  His belief that creativity and empathy are preconditions for a more just, prosperous and nonviolent world is based on his seminal research at the World Bank and the George Washington University on entrepreneurship and small business development, military burden and security needs, digital divide and the new economy, and private provision of public services.  His familiarity with the power of the arts as an effective channel for children’s creative and empathic development stems from his experience as an award-winning child artist. The Arts Olympiad program he developed to overcome the “4th grade slump” in creativity documented by E. Paul Torrance is today the world’s largest and most prestigious arts and creative education initiative for children ages 8 to 12.  Nearly 3 million children worldwide participated in the 3rd Arts Olympiad (2005-2008). The 2007 World Children’s Festival he produced on the National Mall in Washington, DC was the world’s largest international children’s Celebration.  Dr. Ishaq has obtained an exclusive license from the U.S. Olympic Committee for the ICAF to use “Arts Olympiad” and related marks as well as secured support from some of the world’s most creative companies – Adidas, Disney, Faber-Castell, Hilton, and LEGO.
I am so honored to be able to work with such a distinguished man. His unique view on the world always inspires me to keep reaching out no matter how often I get turned down. I know that art heals, and by working with the International Child Art Foundation, I can make a significant difference in the lives of children by giving them the gift of imagination and creativity.

Art is everything!

Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DAR Good Citizenship Award

Last week, my counselor called me to her office to give me some very exciting news! The administrators and teachers at Ashford High School nominated me for the Daughters of the American Revolution good citizenship award. I was so honored that they felt my efforts to help our community were worthy of such an esteemed honor. The program was designed to reward the qualities of good citizenship, which include dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism.

This month, I will begin the application and interview process. The DAR Good Citizenship committee takes into account the applicant’s grades, letters of recommendation, community service, and an essay. There are several different levels are competition including the chapter, state, and national level. Each level receives a higher monetary award, respectively, and the national winner will be invited to Washington, D.C. to attend the DAR Continental Congress and have a change to meet the president! This is such an exciting opportunity, and I am so honored to have been chosen to represent my high school.

Caroline Crowley

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tiara Magazine

Immediately after I won Miss International 2012, I was escorted back to the Double Tree Hotel where I was interviewed by Tiara Magazine. Sherri Gearheart, Editor-in-Chief at Tiara Magazine asked many questions pertaining to the pageant, my platform, and my preparations leading up to my big win. The article can be found here:

I will also be modeling in the Tiara Magazine fashion show with a few of my gorgeous beauty queen sisters in November 25th in Chicago Illinois! It will be nice to go back to the city that brings me so many fond memories. If you are interested in seeing the show in person check out to purchase tickets. The fashion show will benefit a fabulous organization, the Live Out Loud Charity.

Thank you Sherri Gearheart for the lovely interview and opportunity to be a part of the annual fashion show! I am thrilled!


Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fishing with Angels

This week, I attended the 12th annual Fishing with Angels Day. Mr. Joe Phillips, a local resident, began the fishing day after his granddaughter, Tiffany, passed away from complications due to Cerebral palsy. Every year, he stocks his pond with over 3,000 catfish and begins feeding them twice a day eight months prior to the event. This year, we had a record turn-out, with over 500 children with special needs attending the fishing day. We enjoyed a day of fishing, food, and fun! This is definitely a day I look forward to every year!

Posing with my friends Suzie and Drew after our interviews with local media channels
Suzie was actually my inspiration to compete in the Miss Teen International pageant. My goal is to open doors for others to serve children with special needs. She will always be my queen…and she definitely has the personality to go with crown!

Drew was a little tired after a long day of fishing. He caught 14 catfish! He even taught me how to take a fish off of the hook.
Jazzmyn received a cochlear implant 3 months ago. Although she does not hear words the same as most people, through auditory-verbal therapy, she is learning to read lips so that she can communicate with others. It is amazing how she is able to watch others speak and form words on her own without being able to hear the actual sounds. She amazes me!

Caroline Crowley

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stories of Success, Stories of Hope

I feel it is necessary to share the stories of the children I advocate for. Through art, they found their voice and the courage to tell their story. Below, are a few of my favorite stories and thank you letters from children who have gone through a Free Arts MN mentoring program. These programs are more than just an arts and crafts class; they are a respite and place of freedom to express inner thoughts and emotions.

Here are two great links to videos where kids tell us how
they feel about Free Arts programming.

My Story…

Free Arts Is…

Thank You Poem
“Free Arts has been more than just a group of volunteers,
It's a movement, a esteem builder and a learning tool all in one.
The people of Free Arts has taught us lessons that will help carry us through a life time, and that is to believe, believe in your self and the power to move others through art.
We also learned that art doesn't just happen with a pencil and pen but it really starts from within.
Art is a healer for the mind, body and soul,
Free Arts helps us recognize talents that we thought could never show.
From dancing, singing, putting on plays to drawing, writing and learning about artists that made the way.
Free Arts helped us find something we can never forget,
Talent and with that all we can do is win.
Thanks Free Arts, from us to you here’s an art form we learned from you.”

Charlie, Age 4
Four-year-old Charlie was worthless. At least that’s what his mother would tell him as she slapped the small boy across the face or punched him in the chest. Why would the young boy think otherwise? Charlie was left at home alone all day only to be greeted by his drunken mother's abuse at night. He never knew what a loving adult relationship felt like.

When Charlie was finally removed from his mother’s custody and introduced to Free Arts Minnesota, he would flinch anytime a volunteer would raise his or her hand. It was Free Arts Minnesota volunteers who reached out to Charlie, teaching him that not every adult wanted to hurt him. By the end of his first year with Free Arts Minnesota, it was Charlie
who was reaching out, giving all the volunteers he had grown to love good-bye hugs.

Tia, Age 18
"...I think that Free Arts is an amazing program. It has helped me and changed my life, and I have witnessed it do the same for my peers. It is a great way for me to connect with my peers when we all work on a project together.
Some of them struggle with projects, others dive right in, but almost everyone creates something every time. I don’t know what my day treatment or my life would look like without my involvement in Free Arts.
There are many reasons why Free Arts is great. One reason is that I know there are other kids like me who do not have the resources or support they need to create art.
There are also kids who have trouble expressing themselves, and Free Arts teaches them to do that. Finally, Free Arts is great because it is made almost entirely of volunteers.
It is good to know that they choose to spend their time with us every week.
It is good to know that someone thinks we are worth their time, and that they want to share their passion with us.
I know that this program has a deeply profound effect on all those involved.
I like to think it is a necessary part of our community. I believe that art is an important part of life, and whether or not someone loves art, it is still important to experience it. Free Arts helps bring art to those who may not have had the opportunity to make it before.
I am forever grateful to Free Arts for reigniting my love of art. I think, and hope, that other children get to experience everything I have with Free Arts."

Terron Age 10
By the time Terron reached his 10th birthday, he had already spent three months in a psychiatric hospital. His cocaine-addicted mother routinely exposed him and his four siblings to abuse at the hands of other drug addicts, often locking Terron in a closet for hours while his brothers and sisters were beaten. Even after Terron was removed from his mother’s custody, therapy alone was not enough to help him deal with his feelings.

It was the Free Arts Minnesota program and volunteers that helped Terron find a new way to express himself. His drawings were his escape and allowed Terron to channel his feelings into something other than hurting himself. When asked what he liked about Free Arts Minnesota, Terron replied, “It’s a secret place… where you can go and think about anything and everything or nothing.”

Evans, Age 9
I think about my mom and sister.  Beautiful like this flower.
I think about what I want.  I want to create robots.
I want my own room. I want to get better at math.
I think about what I need.  I need a family.
I think about what I fear.  I fear heights.  A little bit.
I think about what I wish for.  I wish I had a family.  I wish I was a professional soccer player.  I wish to have a good paying job.
I think about what I hope for.  I hope to find a good family.
I think about what I expect.   I expect to have a good family that loves me.
I think about what I love.  I love my mom and candy.

Well, I think we can all agree, candy is great… but these poems give children a sense of themselves and an opportunity to think abut what they want out of life. In school, kids are constantly being crammed full of memorized facts, numbers and information. We need to be able to provide them with a chance to think their own thoughts and ideas. Art can do this. Children who have been through traumatic situations can greatly benefit with the programs provided by Free Arts Minnesota and their mentors and they help foster emotional growth, safe adult relationships, great self-awareness and self-esteem.

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
-Frederick Douglas


Krista Wanous
Miss International 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012


As I celebrate momentous occasions throughout my Senior year, it is hard to believe that I only have a few short months as a high school student. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as an Ashford High School Yellow Jacket. This week is a bittersweet occasion, as I celebrate my last high school Homecoming. Every year, we show our Homecoming spirit by dressing up during our “Crazy Dayz”. Our Homecoming theme is “Tame the Tigers”.

We have incorporated a Circus Theme into our pep rally, door decorations, and dress up days. Today, the theme was “The Greatest Show on Earth”. We all dressed up as different people you see at the circus. Our hallways were filled with clowns, tightrope walkers, girls dressed as candy, ring masters, lion tamers, and even carnival workers. We had so much fun showing our Jacket Pride!

Two of my favorite characters of the day: My friend Alec was a carnival worker and my friend Tyler was a clown!

My best friend, Hayden, dressed up as a lion tamer.

Stay tuned for more pictures from my last Homecoming week!

Caroline Crowley