Friday, October 30, 2015

Let's Be Thankful!


As we quickly approach the Thanksgiving holidays, I know many of us start to think about our travel plans and all the yummy food that we can prepare to ultimately eat! Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend with loved ones as memories are made. Sometimes we can lose focus on what the holiday is really for... Being thankful!

A tradition that I started doing is that on the first of November, I say one thing I'm thankful for. I do this every day with the final day being on Thanksgiving Day. This allows me to focus on the blessings God has bestowed upon me and to acknowledge the people, places and things that I sometimes forget about with the hustle and bustle of life. When I take the time to have a heart of gratitude, it really helps me put what's important in perspective.

I encourage everyone to spend some time thinking about what you are grateful for. Sometimes the grass can look greener in someone else's life, but I have found that when we focus on the positive in our lives, we realize we are very blessed!

Truly thankful,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Staying Organized

Hey all you beautiful ladies! We are almost through with October and headed full steam ahead to the end of 2015. Do you feel like you have been nonstop lately? I know that our family sure feels that way. It is a great and rewarding feeling for sure don’t get me wrong, but our schedules are packed these days. Justin started a new job on September 1 and is still in school (he’s getting his MBA) every other weekend. I have been busy making appearances, attending meetings and being a mommy. Life is happening so fast around us lately and some days I honestly don’t know what the actual date (or day) is.

I heavily rely on my calendar to make sure that I don’t miss anything. I’m a pen and paper kind of girl. I don’t put anything down in my phone because with three littles there is no telling if my phone will survive the day. I write out my to do lists almost every day. To be honest, sometimes I write stuff down on my list that I just completed just so that I can cross it off. I know crazy, but it helps me feel like I’ve accomplished more when I look back at my list at the end of the day.

It is so important to be organized, especially for us this year. Trying to coordinate events and appearances along with Justin’s class schedule, our sweet babysitter’s schedule, our parents flying in to babysit, baseball and dance practice can get a little confusing at times. Staying on top of my roles as a wife, mom and Mrs. International is busy! My mom has always said “Where there’s a will there’s a way”. That is so true, because I want nothing more than being able to look back in July 2016 and know that our lives were so busy, but we made it work and helped others along the way.

10 Quick Tips for Getting Organized

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/82924

I hope you are all preparing for the busiest time of the year by staying organized and on top of your responsibilities, whatever they might be!

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall Festival

Small towns may be overlooked from time to time but there are actually perks to being part of a small community. On October 3rd Forrest City hosted the annual Downtown Music and Art Festival. As a member of the Youth Advisory Council I got to participate by face painting with the help of a few more girls while others directed the bouncy houses. While we made sure the children were having fun, a famous figure in our community, known by the name of Milton Patton, performed covers of country favorites. He put Forrest City on the map a few years ago by making his debut on America's Got Talent. Many booths were set up as well as food stands, including the stands for our famous Barbeque! The Youth Advisory Council has partnered with committees involved in downtown revitalization. YAC has supported this project by on site volunteering and by designing a logo for the light post banners. The YACcers are always excited to join in whatever way we can!

This all took place around the Historic Museum. The second level of the museum was once home to a family in the late 1800s and the first level was a doctor's office. It now holds art, farm equipment, Victorian furniture, dresses, army uniforms, Native American artifacts and the doctor's operational table and utensils dated all the way back to when it was built. During the fall festival, the museum was open to tour. I love learning the history of where I have been born and raised.





Jules Fletcher

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Crisis Intervention Response Team

As Miss International, I have made one of my goals to spotlight individuals and organizations that have made a difference in the area of mental health. Today I would like to acknowledge the Crisis Intervention Response Team (also known as CIRT or CIT). This team of people were formed to improve the way law enforcement and the community respond to those that are experiencing a mental health crisis. The team is made up of specially trained police officers and mental health professionals who partner together in order to provide the necessary actions it takes to handle those in crisis. Having these types of response teams have decreased the number of mentally ill individuals who were typically being taken to jail and are now taken to get the proper help that they need (i.e. Psychiatric hospital).

With San Antonio Police Chief William McManus


I definitely tip my hat off to those who make up these response teams that can be found all over the country. As a therapist, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to work with those who are in crisis and emotionally unstable. However, it is also such a rewarding experience to know that even if it was just for a few moments, you were able to help someone that was in need. In order to be prepared for any potential crisis, make sure to look up the number to the CIRT program in your area. It is often a different number than just calling 9-1-1. And the next time you see a member of our law enforcement or mental health professional, don't forget to thank them for what they do to to help keep us safe, both physically and mentally!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Wear Pink Month

As many of you know, October is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women (I know that you all know what number one is). In fact 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and more than 40,000 women will die from breast cancer each year! That is so scary to me. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

I can remember when my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy around the age of 60. Now, I know women in their young thirties that are being diagnosed with breast cancer. It just seems that more and more women are being told they have breast cancer at such a young age compared to past generations. Perhaps because of increased awareness and earlier screenings. When breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 100%.


While there are many genetic risk factors that cannot be changed, there are many lifestyle changes that can be made to decrease your chance of getting breast cancer. Being physically active, eating well balanced meals, maintaining a healthy weight and lowering your alcohol consumption are all things that we can do to make a step in the right direction to avoid this terrible disease.

It is recommended for all women aged 40 and older to schedule a mammogram every 1 to 2 years. Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them. In the meantime, we should all be performing self-checks monthly and report any unusual findings to our doctor.

Remember to wear pink during the month of October to show your support and to help find a cure for breast cancer!


Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Getting closer and closer to the holiday season makes me super excited. It is finally October! A lot of joy comes from the holidays but Halloween may not be the most frightening thing for some folks. As I am sure most of you may know October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Here in the south, cheer leading and football teams are all about complete pink out during October. Standing on the side lines with pink bows in our hair while watching our boys play football with pink shoe laces and socks never fails to warm my heart.


There are so many ways to support Breast Cancer Awareness month from wearing a clothing item of pink everyday of October or signing up for local walks. I will be participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and I cannot wait to get my pink out on! Remember that there is always a time and a way to make your mark. In October you can make your mark by participating in Breast Cancer Awareness month.


Jules

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Creating The Person You Want To Be

“Life if not about finding yourself…it is about creating yourself.”

I read this quote the other day and something about it resonated with me. I’ve heard people say, especially college students, that they are trying to “find themselves”. Although I understood what they meant, as often times we go through experiences that shape who we ultimately become, I never really understood why people spent time trying to “find” the person they wanted to become. Why not create the person you want to be and work hard every day to reach that goal?

In 2nd grade, I remember my teacher asked my class to write a paper on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I kid you not, I said I wanted to be a wife, mom, and an obstetrician (I did have to ask my teacher how to spell this!). With my life experiences, the type of doctor I wanted to be changed, but if I were to write this same paper today, I would say “I want to be a wife, mom, and a psychologist”. At a very young age I knew what I wanted my life to look like, and I have worked hard to create the life that I ultimately want. I have put thousands of hours into my education and career, I am very selective about the type of men that I date, and I take care of my mental and physical health so that one day I can be a loving mother!


I am fully aware that not everyone knows what type of life they want in 2nd grade! I do think it is important to spend some time praying and thinking about what you want your life to look like in 5, 10, and 15 years. Create a vision board, journal about your life goals, or write encouraging messages to yourself…do what it takes to be the person God created you to be. What a blessing it will be to look back on your life and know that not only did you create a wonderful life for yourself, but you lived your life to the fullest!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Star Struck

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to a new fall season. So far, mine has been wonderful. We are finally starting to cool off some in Texas which is so nice. With the change in season it seems like we are having an increase in high profile charity golf tournaments. I thought I would tell you about my first ever star struck moment I experienced.

I was invited to attend George W. Bush’s 5th annual Warrior Open Golf Tournament. The Warrior Open is a competitive 36-hole golf tournament, including an 18-hole Pro-Am. The event honors U.S. service members who serve and sacrifice to defend the United States of America and heralds the many effective organizations that give their time, talents and resources to support the men and women of our military and their families.

Weeks before the event, everyone in attendance underwent a background check for security purposes and we were all shuttled in on the morning of the event. Once at the country club, we received our badges and were able to attend the breakfast. Afterwards, President George W. Bush led the warriors towards the opening ceremony on the first hole where everyone was crowded around awaiting the first player to tee off.

The first time President Bush walked by and I was introduced to him. He said he was very happy to know that Mrs. International was from Texas (he lives in Texas). Then he said he would be right back. Sure enough, he came right back, which is when we had the opportunity to take pictures! Then, he walked away and came back again and signed my sash (I had nothing else with me and I sure didn’t want to miss the opportunity). He said “I hope you don’t sweat” Me: “No sir, I glisten.” It was the first thing that came to my mind, actually I think it just came out and I didn’t even think about it. I was able to get a good laugh out of him along with the crowd.


We are BIG President Bush fans in the Algor house. Some might find that shocking being that he was actually the one to make the call to send Justin, along with other family members and friends, to war. We had the opportunity to hear him speak this past April (we were on the second row of course) and he said that to this day he thinks about that decision every single day of his life. I know it was a decision that was not taken very lightly and one that was made for the best interest of our nation and its freedom.


Freedom truly isn’t free and being able to talk to many of the warriors at the event was very touching. The best part, they would do it all over again even knowing that they would sustain injuries that would completely change their life.


Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

DBS

Throughout my high school career new organizations have come into my life that I have been very excited to be a member. My dream came true one year ago when the national high school sorority, Delta Beta Sigma, selected me to rush. I was so excited to find out that I have an incredible legacy. DBS was founded in 1903 and I have had a member of my family in DBS in every decade since it began.

You may think of sororities as mainly social organizations, but the truth is I discovered my true passion for volunteerism through Delta Beta Sigma. Every year we select a new charity to raise funds throughout the year. Last year, our philanthropy project was Ronald McDonald House. I had never heard much about it until we were able to tour a facility. I fell in love with the organization and wanted to learn more. I began researching and learned the importance of saving pop tabs and donating small change to the donation boxes at McDonald's restaurants. We ended up raising over $5,000 locally and over $70,000 nationally! I became interested in competing in the Arkansas International pageant and decided my platform should be Volunteerism. After a lot of thought, I felt like something was missing so I then decided to add an emphasis on RMHC in addition to volunteerism. Now, I have the opportunity to do International work with them and I could not be more thrilled. This year's DBS project is Wounded Warriors. I am excited to become more involved with this cause this year. So many new adventures will come about this year and I am so excited for a wonderful journey. 

Three sisters representing the DBS mascot!



Through volunteermatch.org you can find an organization you have a connection with and begin volunteering. This website matches you with organizations for you specifically as well as giving you the option to volunteer on-site or virtually. Give it a try!

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible!” -Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Benefits of Sleep

Over the last few weeks, I have noticed that I have not been getting much sleep. From my full-time job to my responsibilities as Miss International and maintaining my stress relievers (family/friend time, gym, etc), it is no wonder I instantly crash when my head hits the pillow at night. I write this particular blog not only to those reading but also to myself as a reminder that getting 6-8 hours of sleep every night is important for our mental and physical health.


Here are some reasons why: 

1. Concentration- Receiving the proper amount of sleep will help with concentration during the day. If you have trouble staying focused while at work or school, first make sure you are sleeping enough. Proper sleep also helps with decision making. If your daily schedule permits, an afternoon nap can also help give your brain a quick rest before conquering the rest of the day!
2. Mood- Have you ever been tired and you had a hard time staying positive? Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and cause frustration and sometimes anger.
3. Body Weight- It has been found that those who consistently get 6-8 hours of sleep help their bodies prevent weight gain. So make sure to add sleep to your lifestyle changes of healthy eating and exercise to get to your goal weight!
4. Health- Those who regularly receive less than 6 hours of sleep a night are more susceptible to illnesses. In order to give your immune system the strength it needs to fight infections, make sure to take your vitamins, but also make sure to get some rest!
5. Life Expectancy- Research shows those who maintain a healthy sleep regimen are more likely to live longer than those who do not. I do not know about you, but I want to live a long time!
6. Beauty - People that get 6-8 hours of sleep are prone to be more beautiful than those that don't. Ok, so I totally made that up BUT the truth is when we are well rested, it affects our appearance in positive ways. A quick way to eliminate bags under the eyes and or saggy skin is to make sure to get consistent restful sleep as a way of life.

If you are a night owl, like me, I know very well the struggle to slow your life down enough to call it a night. In order to start implementing more sleep in your life, try going to sleep 30 minutes earlier every night until you are able to achieve 6-8 hours.

Sweet Dreams!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Platform Work

Can you believe that it is already October? 2016 will be here before we know it and soon after July which means a new queen will be crowned! It is sad for me to even think about that since I have only been Mrs. International for a little over 2 months, but believe it or not three weeks into my reign I had to write my welcome letter to all the new contestants!

With that being said, I wanted to have the opportunity to write about our platform work and how important it is. If you are a reigning 2015 queen with only a few months or weeks left in your reign or a newly crowned 2016 queen don’t forget the true importance of why you are competing. As you know our interview portion accounts for 50% of our score! You definitely want to be able to share with the judges everything that you have done since winning your state or region title as well as share with them the WHY behind your platform and what you plan to accomplish during your reign.

For the class of 2015, finish strong. You have each worked so hard this year and if there are things that you still want or need to do, do it! To the class of 2016, your year is going to fly bye! Get started now and don’t wait. The last thing that you want is to still have a laundry list of goals that you hoped to accomplish as Mrs. So and So International. Life is busy, trust me, I know. Your heart will thank you and so will all those that you are helping.

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe'

Cemetery Clean Up

This weekend our community had a wonderful idea. We decided to have a community clean-up day at the historic cemetery. This has been an annual project for me, but this is the first year members of the community decided to join in. Because the cemetery is ancient the gates tend to be grown over with vines and trees that have stood for many years fall over on top of graves. We cut the trees and discard all of the unwanted limbs and vines. This is just to give such a beautiful cemetery the tender, love, and care it deserves. 

  
My dad and best friend accompanied me to this project. My best friend, Anna Kate, and I were very proud of “our pile.” Dragging branches can get pretty tiring, but the finished project looked magnificent. Because of my love of history I like to imagine what it looked like at its best. Although all of the gates are distorted and the gravestones are not aligned as they once were, I can still picture how beautiful it must have been all those years ago. This cemetery means a lot to me seeing that I have family buried there as far down the line as the late 1700s.

One of my favorite versions of volunteerism is random acts of kindness. Our community-wide clean-up was our random act of kindness. There are so many ways to make someones day, even if it is done with just a simple smile.

“Nothing is Impossible, the word itself say 'I'm Possible.”- Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

No Judgement Zone

I just returned from NYC where I was able to meet with NAMI’s NYC office and executive board. I was also able to attend the 9th Annual AdColor Awards Show. This was actually my 3rd time attending the show, but my first as Miss International! I always leave the show feeling very inspired to live a life that is free of judgement and promotes diversity. You see, the AdColor organization celebrates diversity in every sense of the word from race to gender to physical disabilities. Specifically they honor those in the advertising and entertainment industry who promote diversity in their work. 

With Tiffany R. Warren, founder of AdColor

Being a woman who is also African American, I can tell you story after story of how my gender and the color of my skin has had a negative impact on my life and the lives of my ancestors due to the intolerant actions of some. It causes me to greatly appreciate the awareness of the importance of diversity that Adcolor is building. Another reason I appreciate the work that Adcolor is doing is because the community that I care deeply about -the community of people that suffer with mental illness - are not always treated with the same respect as those with physical disabilities. They are often judged as a 'danger to society' when in fact the majority of people with mental illness simply need access to the right treatment. So being involved in an event that has no tolerance for judgement and negativity towards diversity is extremely important to me. No matter how I feel about certain issues within diversity, there is one thing that I stand committed to…I will not judge. I have always stood under the quote “Only God can judge”, because at the end of the day, how a person is uniquely made and how they choose to live their life is between that person and God. I encourage all of us to make a commitment towards really getting to know a person instead of passing judgement. Often times, if we just spend a few minutes getting to hear a person’s story, it really changes how we view them going forward!

Breaking the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Heroes on the Water


I was introduced to Heroes on the Water shortly after I was crowned Mrs. Texas International. It was one of my first appearances and one that I hold very close to my heart so I wanted to share a little about the organization. The founder and president, Jim Dolan, also lives in North Texas and is a United States Air Force veteran. I was lucky to meet him at my first event and was able to learn more of the why behind Heroes on the Water.

Heroes on the Water, founded in 2007, helps our Nation’s warriors and veterans from all branches of the United States military unwind using the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks. These men and women are offered the chance to decompress from the stresses associated with combat and the physical rigors of rehabilitation. They learn basic kayak fishing and paddling instruction with skill sets anywhere from beginners to experienced paddlers.

After a morning on the water, participants are provided lunch and the chance to simply talk to their fellow veterans. The stories that they have shared with me and how Heroes on the Water truly saved them from a downward spiral have touched my heart beyond measure. One in particular, stands out to me. He has come so far because of the organization. He was a shut in and had not left his house in many years because his PTS (remember drop the D) was so bad. Every step outside of his house was a trigger for him, even walking to the mailbox, because sometimes bombs are placed in mailboxes. He was finally convinced to attend an outing and it changed him. He is now an even better husband and father than he was before.

For my family, and many others like mine, I love the fact that it is truly something that we can do as a unit. Justin enjoys taking the boys out on the water in the kayak (and they love it, too) and I enjoy talking to other families and seeing the bond that we are all forming. It seems simple enough, right? The best part is that it truly is! No expectations, maybe a friendly competition to see who catches the biggest fish that day, but truly a peaceful and calming setting.

As the International spokesperson for the organization, I am happy to work alongside of the staff to add even more chapters nationwide as well as internationally in the coming months and years. We currently have over 75 applications for chapters wanting to form. It has been a blessing to us and I know it will be for many others as well.

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Miracle Rodeo

During the summer I was honored to be a Grand Marshal at the Arkansas Special Olympics where I lead the teams around the track along side the athletes representing Arkansas at the World Games held in Los Angeles. I high-fived and hugged all of the athletes crossing the finish line and cheered on new friends I made. It was such a magical night during the opening ceremony.

The teams were very excited to be there seeing that they had to work very hard to get to their position. This past weekend the Miracle Rodeo was held to benefit Arkansas Area 8's Special Olympics team and I was very excited to be part of it. On Thursday night the athletes were given the opportunity to ride horses in addition to a hay ride around the arena. I saw some familiar faces and met new people.

On Saturday Night I was so excited to present plaques to United States veterans because I have had a huge family chain of Veterans. My grandfather always taught me to be patriotic and show pride in my country, he had retired from the Army after thirty years of service after receiving several medals including a purple heart. It brought tears to my eyes standing beside a thirteen year-old girl who beautifully sang the National Anthem while the R.O.T.C. members proudly held the flag behind us. It is truly amazing how there are so many ways one can make a difference. 


=
“Nothing is Impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible.'” -Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

Be a Kid Again!

Have you ever watched a child play on the playground? Jumping and running, swinging and twirling without a care in the world! There is something to be said of being able to be care-free, and your only worry is who are you going to play hide-and-seek with!

So what happens after our recess days are over? The worrying and stress begins. From making sure bills are paid, going through the checklist of all the tasks we have to get done and trying harder and harder to meet our goals. Sometimes we forget to add some fun into out lives. 


I remember in graduate school I took a stress class. My professor asked us to meet at her house for one of our classes. Instead of our usual lecture and discussion, she had us picking blueberries from her farm, playing childhood games, and made us eat with our fingers. At first we were resistant to this plan, but then we opened up and had so much fun! At the end of our class, she reminded us that it's important to have fun and not get so stressed out from our daily lives. In fact a healthy dose of fun can greatly reduce the stress level in our lives and enhance our mental health. Since that class, I make it a point to make sure I add some fun into my weekly plan. This allows me to have some fun and just be a kid again! 


I encourage each of you to remember the fun of being a kid again and make sure to take a break from your regular routine to "play" and have some fun!

Breaking the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Finding Myself, Again

Before I competed for the title of Mrs. Texas International, I found myself questioning who I was outside of a wife and mother. I have always stayed very busy and my parents always pushed me to do and try as much as I could growing up. I played every sport possible, cheered, took piano lessons, was a Girl Scout until my senior year of high school and was on a competitive dance team for 7 years. During college, I was elected the membership vice president of my sorority, volunteered and competed in pageants. When Justin and I were married and we moved to Utah for his job (I was also transferred with my company) I left everything and everyone I knew behind. I was totally cut off from my comfort zone to say the least.

After five years of marriage and three and a half years of being a mommy, I was ready to start getting back to myself again. Took long enough, huh? I wasn’t even sure where to start or what I wanted to do honestly. When the opportunity arose to compete for Mrs. Texas International, a few weeks before the pageant, I laughed and said why not? I didn’t have much to lose since I was still “finding myself”, again.

Being a competitive person, I knew I wanted to do well (okay, I wanted to win), but with not much time to prepare I was hoping to at least place. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be where I am right now. God works in His way and in His timing for sure. If this would have happened last year, I wouldn’t have mentally been ready for the commitment Mrs. International takes and who knows where our life will be in July 2016. My advice, is to be open to wherever YOUR path is taking you. Don’t let your fears or insecurities hold you back from finding and being you again… or being a better you. Try new things and don’t worry about looking silly or feeling inadequate. Lastly, don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today! I haven’t felt this alive and reinvigorated in years.


Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

YAC 2

I do not know how well known the Youth Advisory Council, or YAC for short is in all areas of the world, but in our little county in Arkansas we love working our hardest to “Be the change we wish to see.” For the past three years I have been a proud member of our local YAC. Locally we have volunteerd with our Fall Festival, Backpack Program, Soup Kitchen, Angel Tree, Birthday Book Project, Blue's Festival, Community Thanksgiving Meal, Downtown Revitalization Project and random clean-up days. A favorite philanthropic event of YAC's would be Toys for Tots. I have volunteerd there every year and I have always enjoyed meeting parents trying to make sure their children have a merry Christmas. In addition to physically getting involved we also give grants to non-profit organizations that benefit youth. We use the proceeds from our permanent endowment to fund our grants. Our local chapter has raised over $93,000 for our endowment and granted out over $30,000 since 2001!

We are making fans for the Blues Festival.

A blues singer and me at the Blues Festival.

A fellow YACcer and I cleaning up a historic cemetery after storm damage.

Officials of the Arkansas Community Foundation and myself!

Last night, we had our first YAC meeting of the year where we elected new officers and welcomed our new members. I was chosen secretary! With the help of our advisors we learn how to conduct a proper board meeting using Robert's Rule of Order. The YACers are looking forward to another great year full of philanthropy and plan on working hard to insure that our local non-profits will always have a place to turn for help.

Packing backpacks for children in need in our community

The 2015-2016 Youth Advisory Council Officers

2015-2016 Youth Advisory Council 

The Youth Advisory Council provides an amazing outlet for teens to get involved as well as learn the business side of philanthropy. There is always a way to volunteer. You can join a group like YAC, if you do not have one similar in your community, you can found one, and it is never a bad time to get with a group of friends and do a random act of kindness!

“Nothing is Impossible, the word itself says 'I'm Possible.'” -Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Types of Stress

Hi Everyone!

Have you ever been stressed out? Silly question, I guess, as at some point in our lives we have all had to deal with stress. However, did you know that there are two types of stress? If you answered “no” to that question, do not worry! Most people lump all stress together not realizing that stress can be categorized.

The first type of stress is distress. By definition, distress is any type of stressor that causes anxiety, pain or sorrow. Distress can lead to unhappiness which can affect how we perform in different areas of our lives. It can lead to emotional, physical and mental issues. Distress can make one feel as though a situation is overwhelming and beyond one’s capabilities. Distress can come from situations like losing a job, loss of a loved one, financial constraints, and housing problems, just to name a few. In times like these, the priority is to always make sure your physical needs are met first. It is difficult to work on emotional and mental needs when your basics (food, housing, finances) are not settled. However, be very mindful that chronic distress can lead to health issues. So make sure to tune in to your support system (family, friends, and professionals) to get the help that you need.


The second type of stress is eustress. This type of stress has also been termed “good stress” as usually eustress is caused by situations that are good for us. Examples of these types of situations are getting a big job promotion, planning your wedding, building a new home, etc. Although these life events are exciting, the stress can build up and cause one to become overwhelmed. Even “happy stress” can lead to health issues if one is not careful to plan time to prioritize and rest. Make sure to ask for help when you need it and to make a to-do list every day to make tasks more manageable. 


Both of these types of stress can be broken down into additional types of stress, but hopefully this is a helpful overview as to what each of us has experiences at some point in our lives! Remember, we were not created to walk this earth alone. So never be afraid to reach out. There is someone willing to listen and come to your rescue!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

Freedom Day 2015

HI ladies! On September 11, I was able to participate in, my first, and Entrepreneurs for North Texas’ 14th annual Freedom Day event. I worked alongside of 700 veterans and civilians from all across North Texas at the Texas Horse Park. Texas Horse Park, which houses Equest, has a wonderful veteran program called Hooves for Heroes that empowers veterans and military families to take charge of their civilian transitions and assume new roles as civic leaders.

Arriving the morning of 9/11 and seeing tons of cars, public transportation buses and school buses from different school districts all across the state was shocking! I knew there would be a good bit of people, but not this type of turnout. After all, it was a Friday during normal business hours. After checking in and receiving my official t-shirt and meeting with the organizer I was assigned to working with one of my favorite veteran organizations, 22KILL. Turns out 22KILL was in charge of digging the water line that would take water out to pastures for the horses. I clearly have never done this type of work before, but I was definitely up for the challenge. Did you know the water line hose (pipe?) has to be 12 inches deep and it was a long, long line!



Other veteran groups such as Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues and IAVA were in charge of debris clean up, building raised garden beds, stables and many other tasks. There were also many businesses in attendance as well. The work needed to be done and it would have taken the employees at Equest so much longer if they had not been the benefactor of this years Freedom Day. Although my arms were sore the next day from all of the work, they were nothing compared to what our nations heroes dealt with 14 years ago and for months and months after cleaning up the debris from the attacks on our soil.


Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’