Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler was in Pompano Beach, Florida, June 27 visiting with children from the Champions Sports Camp, organized by Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree ministry, an outreach to incarcerated parents and their children. Erika Harold, Miss America 2003 is a board member of Prison Fellowship and emceed the event. Laura was honored to receive the organization's first-ever Star of Victory Award, for children who have had an incarcerated parent.
"I'm a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason," Laura told the kids. "If you work hard, believe in yourself, dream big, I stand before you to say it really can come true."
The camp is one form of outreach by Angel Tree to children of inmates, including eight thousand in South Florida. It also provides volunteer mentoring and annual Christmas gifts, given on behalf of the incarcerated parent, usually donated through churches.
After her speech, Laura stayed to chat and pose for photos with the kids. She confessed, "I have to put myself on the line every day. I have to make the message hit home, that we're the same. And if my past didn't define me, it doesn't have to define them."
Former Miss America Kirsten Haglund continues to spread her message of health and wellness to women struggling with eating disorders. The 2008 queen and former ballerina struggled with anorexia nervosa, but thanks to an interdisciplinary team, self confidence and MAO, she is proof that beauty comes from within.
During her time as Miss Oakland County and as a college freshman, Kirsten started to speak out against eating disorders, and took the cause to the state competition where she won the title as Miss Michigan when she was just 18 years old. The crown gave her a broader scale on which to deliver her message. She spent six months attending national conferences on eating disorders.
"I learned so much about the illness; it was a really good educational period for me," she said. "From hearing other people's recovery stories, I learned how to share my own personal struggles," Kirsten said.
Before the Miss America competition, Kirsten stuck to a healthy diet and a schedule of regular exercise that brought her back up to normal levels of nutrition. Although the thought of being in a bathing suit in front of so many people made her a little nervous, she channeled her thoughts toward health.
Kirsten won the national title that year, and now post-crown, she continues to work toward helping men and woman who struggle with eating disorders. The Kirsten Haglund Foundation provides financial aid to those seeking treatment for eating disorders.
Source: CNN Health