Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cruizin with Johnny Rockets Camarillo

Today I attended an event put on by West Coast GearHeads at Johnny Rocket in the Camarillo Premium Outlets. While passing out flyers for my upcoming Custom Car and Motorcycle Show to benefit Luggage of Love, I saw many gorgeous cars and met lots of great people with hearts of gold. They all gave me the opportunity to share my story and talk about my organization and why I am so passionate about what I do. Of course I had to stop in at Johnny Rockets and get chocolate malt...Yum, I was in hog heaven! I want to give a BIG thank you to Glenn & Julie Eldridge of West Coast GearHeads for asking me to attend their event and for bring awareness to what I do, it is individuals such as yourself who help my organization grow.

Please visit West Coast GearHeads website for upcoming events. And please join me this Sunday June 6th from 7am to 10am for the race car and truck at Jonny Rockets in Camarillo.

West Coast - Online Forum & Magazine

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

VC Nonprofit Council Meeting

Today I attended the Ventura Nonprofit Leadership Council meeting at the Ventura County Community Foundation. The speaker for the day was Lawrence Greenspun Global Network Program Manager from the Drucker Institute. The Drucker Institute betters society by stimulating effective management, responsible and ethical leadership within their communities. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about how to be a good leader when running Luggage of Love, or in any position of power I am may be in in the future. I was able to network with other nonprofit organizations and I offered to lend a hand in anything that they might need help with. All in all I left there feeling much more knowledgeable and confident in my abilities to be a productive leader in society.

The Drucker Institute - Claremont Graduate University

Monday, May 24, 2010

California Car & Cycle Show

This past weekend I was able to attend the California Car & Cycle Show in Ventura with my best friend Natallie. This event raised money to benefit EL CONCILIO del Condado de Ventura. This orgainization provides Direct Services and Programs in Family Education & Literacy, Youth Leadership & Development, Citizenship & Immigration to the Latino Community. We spent the day admiring all the different cars and motorcycles and of course enjoying in the days festivities. There was a lot of food booths, clothes vendors, rides for the children, and live entertainment.

The turnout for this event was HUGE. I would have to say there was well over 1000 vehicles. I was able to promote my car show that will be held in June. Together Natallie and I handed out over 400 flyers which is not too bad for a days work!

It is truly amazing what all of these car & motorcycle owners have done to their vehicles. I have a deep appreciation for the craftsmanship and dedication to making each and everyone stand out. It was nice to see the comradery of all the clubs who traveled great lengths to attend this show. It is nice to know that they like to attend these events to support different causes.

I want to thank Natallie for spending the day with me at this event. I know this past year I have been very busy and I am glad that we got to spend this time together. I am very happy and honored to have you as a best friend.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pictures Pictures, and more Pictures

Well I must say that I love taking pictures. These particular ones were taken by Monica Teurlings as my senior portraits but with a spin. I wanted to do something different than your traditional pictures so I chose to incorporate my favorite things. My friendship with my best friend and my love for the International Pageant System who gave me a voice and an avenue to pursue my dreams of making a difference. My title as Miss Teen California International 2010 has given me so much and for that I am grateful each and every day. I have grown tremendously since my crowning and I feel that I could take on the world now. I am inspired each day to do great things and be a good person. I love that people are starting to embrace that there are so many youth in foster and shelter homes that need loving families...people to just give them a chance at life. I am blessed to be so fortunate to have this title and share my story with the world. Thank you to everyone who I have met along this journey as you all will forever remain a part of my life. And thank you Monica for creating memories in these pictures that will last a lifetime!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Santa Barbara Food Bank Main Steet Office Grand Opening

Today I had the opportunity to not only attend the Santa Barbara Food Banks Main Steet Office Grand Opening but to also sit down with Erik Talkin the Food Banks Executive Director and tape a segment on what it was like to grow up hungry and at times even without food. I was honored that Eric wanted to interview me and tape my story, as well as have me speak during the grand opening event.

I myself am living proof of what happens when this education is NOT learned at an early age. Being that I had for fend for myself during the first five years of my life, I would eat what ever I could find where ever I could find it. I remember consuming a lot of icing. Of course it is a yummy treat to most but as a main food source it fails miserably. As a result of my upbringing, I still hoard food that is totally unhealthy for me and I am constantly making poor choices when faced with decisions about food. I will gorge myself with sweets till I am sick. And anything that is remotely good for me I will not eat. As a result my brain and body take a toll, I am constantly tired because my body lacks the nutrients to run properly.

The Food Bank plays an important roll in the community. The new office location will serve as a place to educate starving and homeless children on healthy eating and proper food handling techniques. Since 44% of those served by the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County are children, it is important that they are educated regarding healthy food choices at such a young age so that they will be carried into adulthood. This education is vital for all children especially those who are in similar circumstances as mine.

While I was at the event I met some extraordinary people, one of which being Rose Dalba of Feeding America who is the Director of Donor Outreach located in Chicago IL. She was an amazing lady who seemed to be very interested in my story and really took the time to visit with me. I am looking forward to visiting her and the National office for Feeding America when I am in Chicago in July.

Monday, May 17, 2010

From Trash Bags To Tiaras - News

This evening the segment about me aired. I want to thank KEYT Channel 3 News and Paula Lopez for taking the time to tell my story about a little girl who just needed a chance in life. I hope this piece inspired others to achieve their goals, foster or adopt a child, or just maybe change their perspective on children such as myself.

Please click on the link below to view the piece.

What's Right: From Trash Bags To Tiaras | - News, Weather, Sports for Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Oxnard | Local

Saturday, May 15, 2010

California Knows All About Strawberries!

Mmmm... This has to be one of the most delicious appearances I have ever attended. I was asked to judge the “Berry Blast Off” Recipe contest at the 27th Annual California Strawberry Festival. Thousands of people attend the festival from all over the country as well as abroad. Hundreds of people sent in their tastiest non-baked strawberry dishes and out of those entrants it was narrowed down to 2 finalists. The two ladies made their dishes in front of an audience of onlookers with the media capturing their every move. They were judged on taste and freshness/flavor, texture, ease of preparation, presentation and creative use of fresh strawberries. The 2 dishes were Strawberry Bruschetta with Lemon Cream Sauce and Snappy Shrimp & Strawberry Coleslaw with Hotty Maple Vinaigrette. Both were very delicious and it was so hard to decide between the two. But in the end the Merry Graham's Snappy Shrimp & Strawberry Coleslaw with Hotty Maple Vinaigrette won. She received a grand prize four-night Carnival Cruise vacation getaway.

I enjoyed judging this event with Chief John Crombach of the City of Oxnard Police Department and Kate Linder of the Young & The Restless. Once the judging was over Mom and I had time to walk around and visit the different booths. There were so many unique and creative creations made of strawberries; strawberry pizza, strawberry nachos, strawberry popcorn, strawberry pasta, and so many more! I enjoyed meeting so many nice people. I want to say thank you to all the attendees who took time out to take pictures with me and hear my story. I really enjoyed the moments we shared together. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and ate lots of strawberry items. A BIG thank you California Strawberry Festival for having me at this wonderful event. I was honored to have been asked as one of the 5 guest judges.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Santa Barbara Food Bank

Today I took a trip up the coast to visit the Santa Barbara Food Bank. I was very interested in this opportunity to tour the facility. Since I grew up at times without food I was anxious to learn about the distribution process and how the food bank works as a whole. The warehouse itself is much like a CostCo or Sams Club. Different organizations can come in and purchase the bulk food items for next to nothing. This particular facility runs several different programs. One of which is a senior "Brown Bag" program. In which every two weeks brown bags are packed with items from the food bank and are hand delivered to the seniors in the community. Another program is the "Backpack" Program, where bags of food are distributed to children on Fridays after school so that they have food for the weekend.

I had the honor of meeting Erik Talkin the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Food Share. I was given the opportunity to sit down with him and share my stories of being without food at such a young age. We talked about the effects of not having a good nutritional understanding of foods in general and the effects it has had on me today. My obsession with hording when I finally was able to get food easily, and my not so smart decisions on my food choices still today. It's amazing what the first five years of a child's life does for them. The correlation to many things in our future are based upon what we have been taught at a young age. I am very glad to see that nutrition education is playing a role in the Santa Barbara Food Share's programs, especially those concerning the children.

I had a really nice conversation with Carrie Wanek, Director of Finance and Administration for the Food Bank. I got the opportunity to pick her brain about the ins and outs of running such a vital organization. She was very personable and informative and I learned a lot from her.

After our meeting was over I was so lucky to have the opportunity to meet the volunteers of the "Backpack" program and help in the assembly line. I am so happy that a program such as this exists, because I know first hand what it was like to be hungry without a meal and wondering when your stomach would stop growling. I want to thank all those individuals who are involved with this organization, your hearts are golden and you are making a difference that is greatly appreciated. You all are amazing!