On Friday June 24, 2016 Miss Teenage BC, Miss Teenage Maple Ridge, and I volunteered at the Surrey Food Bank. Our day started with “Meet the Bank” which is an introductory presentation to the Surrey Food Bank’s programs.

Surrey Food Bank

Surrey Food Bank

~Surrey Food Bank Quick Facts~

  1. Households from all over Surrey and North Delta utilize the Surrey Food Bank.
  2. Individuals can come to the Food Bank every 14 days to receive a food hamper (hamper size is determined by the number of members in the household).
  3. Each hamper provides enough food to last 3 -4 days.
  4. The tiny bundles program allows pregnant mothers, and families with babies to receive a hamper once a week with eggs, milk, and diapers.
  5. The most prevalent client is a single parent with two young children and has a monthly Salary of approximately $2 200. After income tax, rent, and utility costs there is only $250 left for food, clothing, and transportation.
  6. The majority of the food, is made available through donations from the community.
  7. In past years, the Surrey Food Bank would distribute pre-packed hampers, but to reduce food waste the Food Bank allows the clients to choose what food items they wish to take.

After the presentation, we were each assigned a food station; my station was labelled “meal in a tin.” The station consisted of multiple boxes of canned beans varying in flavour (with the odd can of ravioli tossed in there). The number of food items a household receives at each station is dependent on their hamper size. For example, a household of 2-3 people would have a size two hamper, which would receive 2 items from the soup station, 2 items, from the meal in a tin station, and so on. Each station was provided with a menu, indicating how many items each hamper size would receive.

At our food stations; look at those cans of beans!

At our food stations; look at those cans of beans!

The girls, and I worked at our stations for four hours, but the time seemed to fly by very quickly. It was great to see that people would only take what they needed, and did not take a food item just because it was included in the hamper (yay for no food waste!). 

Not only was I able to reconnect with two of my BC titleholders, I was also able to meet such a large group of diverse people, and learn some valuable information which allowed me to gain some perspective on my local community. Volunteering at the Surrey Food Bank was a wonderful way to spend the day, and I would definitely go back and do it again.

 

-Miss Teenage Surrey 2016

Written by: Anne
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Circa 2000

Circa 2000

My parents have always given me every opportunity to pursue my interests. Whether it was school, skating, soccer, art, swimming, volleyball, music, dance, or more recently pageants; I was always encouraged to try something new. Through the years, I discovered which activities allowed me to hone in my talents.

When I was four years old, I began dancing ballet. Once a week, my mom and I would commute 30 mins to a small dance studio in Laguna, Philippines. I dreamt of becoming a prima ballerina and wearing those infamous pointe shoes; I loved dancing. I continued dancing at the same studio until my family immigrated to Canada when I was six years old. My love for dance had to be put on hold for a few years, while my family adjusted to our new lives.

RAD Exam

RAD Exam

In the fall of 2005, I enrolled in a ballet class at the Walnut Grove School of Music and Dance; the first class of many in the years to come. I remember that Tuesdays were always my favourite days, as that was the day of my ballet class. There was just something about dance that I loved ever since I was a little girl. Maybe it was the way the it let me express myself without using words, or maybe the way it allowed me to get lost in the music and escape my world, even just for a little while.

Corps de Ballet

Corps de Ballet

Over the years, I racked up countless hours in the studio; expanding my repertoire to Hip Hop, Lyrical, and Ballet – eventually earning those coveted pointe shoes. I danced in numerous RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) Exams, recitals, and competitions. I  earned a number of medals, collected a plethora of beautiful costumes, and lost even more bobby pins.

Although, dance dominated my time during elementary school, and the better part of high school, it gave more than it took. Dance class taught more than just how to point my toes, and do pirouettes – it taught me to be accepting of constructive criticism, and to pay attention to the details. Dance taught me correct posture, and how to project my emotions to an audience. It taught me to be confident, to always perform as big as possible. My dance teacher always said that walking on stage would be the hardest thing a dancer would do; she could never be more right.

With one of my dance teachers

With one of my dance teachers

This past week, I returned to my old dance studio, and volunteered at their Student Appreciation Days/ 20th Anniversary celebrations at their three locations in Walnut Grove, Guildford, and White Rock. There were feelings of nostalgia, as I saw my dance teachers, walked down the halls of the studio, and watched as younger students danced in the place I called my second home. In three days, I was able to give back a little to a place that has already given so much to me.

With the Directors of Walnut Grove School of Music and Dance

With the Directors of Walnut Grove School of Music and Dance Sam & Val Beckford

Even today, years after I hung up my dance shoes for the last time, my dedication to dance continues to reap rewards. Thank you so much Walnut Grove School of Music and Dance for teaching me valuable lessons that are applicable beyond the walls of the studio, and thank you for sponsoring part of my trip to Nationals in July.

 

 

 

-Miss Teenage Surrey 2016

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Last Saturday, June 18, 2016 I hosted a fundraiser at Sandcastle Lanes in support of Free the Children and Fort McMurray.

A little bit about the two causes:

Ecuador - March 2014

Ecuador – March 2014

1 . Free the Children is an international charity originally founded in Canada by Marc and Craig Kielburger. The charity works on five pillars: education, clean water and sanitation, health, agriculture and food security, and alternative income and livelihood. I have seen first hand, at how the organization is able to contribute to communities all over the world. In the spring of 2014, I volunteered on a Free the Children – Me to We trip with my high school in Ecuador where we were able to help build a school, learn about the alternative income services, and participate in leadership workshops.

2. Fort McMurray is a city in northeast Alberta, which was severely affected by a wildfire which spanned over 500,000 hectares of land in May of this year. According to the Globe and Mail “the fire destroyed 2,400 structures, nearly 10 per cent of the city, when it ripped through in May and forced more than 80,000 residents to flee.”

Thanks to the support and generosity of my friends and family, Bowl for a Cause was a very successful event which raised a lot of money which will be split evenly between Free the Children and Fort McMurray.

Bowl for a Cause

Bowl for a Cause

I couldn’t  possibly think of a better way to spend rainy Saturday afternoon. Not only was I able to raise funds for two very worthy causes, I was able to spend time, and have a little fun with my friends and family.

 

-Miss Teenage Surrey 2016

 

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On Sunday, June 12, 2016 I attended the 10 year anniversary of the Philippine Days Festival Hosted by the Metro Vancouver Philippine Arts and Cultural Exposition Society (MV-PACES) at Waterfront Park in North Vancouver. The event celebrated the Philippines’ 118th year of independence from Spanish occupation.

IMG_3956

Seeing as I grew up in Canada, and completed my education in the Canadian school system, I am not well versed in Philippine history (pestering my parents about their recollection of Philippine history, also did not satisfy my curiosity). So I took matters into my own hands and used my good old friend Mr. Google to conduct some research, and here’s what I found:

~Brief History Interlude~

In 1521 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived on the island of Cebu (that’s where my dad’s from). He claimed the Philippines for the Spanish Crown and began to spread Catholicism. However, a local chief called Lapu-Lapu disliked the Spanish colonization and fought Magellan in the Battle of Mactan. Magellan and his army of 50 men, were vastly outnumbered by 1500 of Lapu-Lapu’s warriors.

Despite Magellan’s defeat, more Spanish Expeditions were sent to the Philippines, which eventually lead to 333 years of Spanish occupation. Over the years, the Spanish would fight against Chinese pirates, Portuguese forces, Dutch forces, and local revolts to maintain their control. The Spanish American war broke out in April 1898 which began the liberation of the Philippines. On June 12, 1898 the Philippines proclaimed independence and established their own government.

~ End of Brief History Interlude~

Philippine Days Festival Parade with the Surrey Independence Day Society (SPIDS).

Philippine Days Festival Parade with the Surrey Independence Day Society (SPIDS).

Now fast forward 118 years, to 2016. Although, I am a proud Canadian citizen, I do believe that learning, appreciating, and celebrating my cultural heritage has its importance as Filipino blood courses through my veins, and my family’s customs and beliefs have helped shaped me into the person I am today.

Being able to celebrate Philippine Independence Day with hundreds of other Filipinos last Sunday was definitely a day to remember. I had to opportunity to be part of the Parade with the Surrey Philippine Independence Day Society (SPIDS), eat some filipino food (my guilty pleasure), watch local talents perform, and see some of the Filipino Celebrities such as Joey Albert and Richard Gomez.  

YEAH THAT’S RIGHT RICHARD GOMEZOh and did I say see?

Bonus points if you can find my Mom!

Bonus points if you can find my Mom!

I meant re-enact a movie scene (1991) with him. #MyMomFangirl-ed. 

Overall, it was a 10/10 day. I mean what more could you ask for? We had nice weather, a good view, good food, and even better company. Happy 118th Independence Day Philippines!

 

-Miss Teenage Surrey 2016

 

Written by: Anne
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Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a Dinner and Dance fundraiser for Operation Smile at the Crystal Ballroom. The event was organized by Shayna Ding, who is a UBC pharmacy student, dancer, a former Miss Teenage titleholder, and a Miss Universe Canada 2016 delegate.

(L-R) Miss Universe Canada 2016 Delegate - Shayna Ding & Miss Teenage Surrey 2016

(L-R) Miss Universe Canada 2016 Delegate – Shayna Ding & Miss Teenage Surrey 2016

Operation Smile works in over 60 countries and provides free surgery to children and youth born with a cleft lip, cleft palate, or any other facial deformities. The event was so successful, that Shayna raised well over $10 000, all of which will be donated to Operation Smile.

Shayna’s event was spectacular! The night consisted of a variety of performances including cha-cha, belly dance, rhythmic gymnastics, tap dance, and a viennese waltz performed by Shayna herself.

Viennese Waltz by Jorden & Shayna - Miss Universe Canada 2016 Delegate

Viennese Waltz by Jorden & Shayna – Miss Universe Canada 2016 Delegate

I thoroughly enjoyed watching all of the beautiful dance performances, and meeting Shayna. She truly is her own kind of beautiful. I wish you the best of luck at the Miss Universe Canada pageant Shayna!

 

-Miss Teenage Surrey 2016

 

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Krispy Kreme Fundraiser for Fort McMurray – May 14, 2016

Since May 1, 2016 fire crews have been battling a Wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The fire was initially 2 hectares in size, but after 2 hours, the fire grew to 60 hectares. On May 4, 2016, the entire city of Fort McMurray with a population of over 60 000 people was evacuated. Many homes were engulfed by the flames, resulting in thousands of displaced families.

(L-R) Miss Teenage Surrey 2016, Miss Teenage Lower Mainland 2016, Miss Teenage Langley Township 2016, Miss Teenage British Columbia 2016, Miss Teenage Southwestern BC 2016, and Miss Teenage Delta 2016.

(L-R) Miss Teenage Surrey 2016, Miss Teenage Lower Mainland 2016, Miss Teenage Langley Township 2016, Miss Teenage British Columbia 2016, Miss Teenage Southwestern BC 2016, and Miss Teenage Delta 2016.

Upon hearing about the situation in Fort McMurray, some of the local title holders and I held a fundraiser for Fort McMurray last Saturday at Pricemart Richmond.

Krispy Kreme Fundraiser for Fort McMurray

Krispy Kreme Fundraiser for Fort McMurray

In one day we were able to sell 50 Krispy Kreme boxes and raise $955.40. People were very generous with their donations, and many opted to just donate money instead of buying a dozen donuts. All of the funds we collected will be going to support those who were devastated by the wildfire.

As of today, this wildfire has grown to cover approximately 284 214 hectares of land and remains out of control. There are currently 1 919 firefighters, 161 helicopters, and 29 air tankers working together to fight the 15 wildfires that are still burning in Alberta.

The Canadian Red Cross has issued emergency funding for the evacuees of Fort McMurray, and has since received over $67 million in donations. Donations are still being accepted; Albertans who were affected by the fire are still in need of support!

On June 18th, I will be holding a bowling fundraiser in support of Free the Children & Fort McMurray. All proceeds from the event will be split between the two causes. If you would like to attend the event or donate to Fort McMurray specifically please contact me.

 

-Miss Teenage Surrey 2016

 

Written by: Anne
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