Thursday, April 30, 2015

" My Platform: Ignite the Imagination" by Kate Howe



Have you ever seen a child’s face light up when they are excited about something?  It’s pure and genuine.  Imagine that “something” is an item that most of us take for granted.  Something that is so simple, yet so powerful. 

A new book.

Opening the cover is like opening the door to a new world.  It’s full of possibility and wonder.  It removes you from where you are sitting and takes you on untold adventures.  It sparks the imagination and ignites a flame that will burn brightly throughout a lifetime.

But, for children living in poverty, books are scarce.  In some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the United States, there is only one book available to every 300 children.  This lack of access becomes the foundation of illiteracy – of which grows poor education, employment and health.  This makes the dream of pulling out of poverty an impossible feat.  Instead, what breeds is a likelihood of criminal and anti-social behavior that affects all of us.

As an ambassador and advisory board member for First Book, I will continue to provide hundreds of brand new books to children in low income areas and educate parents on the lasting effects of early childhood literacy.

First Book is an international non-profit organization that addresses one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books.  At First Book, we have distributed over 125 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities that include soup kitchens and homeless shelters. 

The groundbreaking “30 Million Word Gap by age 3” study brought to attention the unprecedented findings that indicated the extraordinary disparities between the number of words spoken in the home and the lasting effects on a child’s performance throughout their entire life.  The results of the study dramatically outline the reality that homelife holds the key to early childhood success.  With the development of my smart phone app, I have been able to educate parents on the importance of early literacy through age specific milestones, activities and recommended readings. 


Mascots are one of the most effective advertising tools.  For years, mascots have been able to help children learn about even the most serious subjects, like forest fires (Smokey the Bear), because kids relate to simple characters.  Through the launch of my “Read with Reada the Frog” campaign, I have been able to build excitement and brand my platform with the children and parents I reach.  Reada is cute, friendly and appeals to my target market.  She is fantastic in helping carry out my two missions.

Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Shriners Hospital – For the Love of a Child by Kate Howe

I was extremely honored to help emcee at a recent event supporting Shriners Hospital & Womens General Auxiliary of Twin Cities.  They have been providing high-quality medical care for children in a family-centered environment since 1923.  They focus on treating children with muscle, bone and joint conditions, cleft lip and palate, and specialized plastic surgery needs in an environment designed to put children at ease. 


The event was very kid focused with face painting, clowns, crafts and games.  So many of the little girls there came up to me wanting pictures!  Their moms were telling them I was a real princess J.  One little girl and her mom even followed me to my car when I was leaving to get a picture – so precious.


I am pictured here with the Women from the General Auxiliary.  They were very appreciative of my support for their organization.  I was even invited to attend their prom for the young girls at the hospital.  I can’t wait to attend!

Mrs. Minnesota International 2015

Kate Howe

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

AFAA Food Allergy Awareness Walk at the MOA by Lillie Imm


Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota


Recently I had the privilege of volunteering at the AFAA Food Allergy Awareness Walk at the Mall of America.  I was honored to sing the National Anthem for the event.  I had a lot of fun meeting other volunteers and walkers and hearing about the challenges of having food allergies.  I did a little research online and learned that 15 million Americans have food allergies.  The number is on the rise, but researchers do not know why.  Food allergies are potentially life threatening depending on the type and severity.  So, I have decided to think twice before bringing the standard treats for a large group!

From the AFAA website:
Taking the Fear out of Food Allergies.
The Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (AFAA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate, advocate, and to support those with food allergies.
For more information or to get involved with this wonderful organization please go to the AFAA website:
Have a great day!

Lillie Imm, Miss Pre-teen Minnesota International 2015


My Lucky Charm! By Kate Howe

Somewhere along the road I picked up a lucky charm…I have an entertaining husband, two energetic sons, an engaging career and a passion for children literacy.  Having the opportunity to be Mrs. Minnesota International 2015 has put frosting on my cake.  Through this experience, I have been exposed to many amazing women who have not only been incredible wives, mothers and career women, but they have also touched and inspired many lives through their platforms.

I started life in a very small town with about 300 people.  We had a gas station, post office and…well that’s about it.  The beautiful thing about a small town is that it creates strong family values because there really isn’t anything else to do. J  Growing up the youngest with three older brothers I learned early on how to be tough, strong minded and speak my mind.  My family eventually moved to a larger city and I ultimately found my own ‘sisters’ through my high school danceteam where I created memories and state championships that will last a lifetime.  Playing junior Olympic fast pitch softball and competing in national dance competitions, I developed a love for a busy, intense schedule.  If I could change one thing about life, it would be for us to never sleep – think of how much we could get done! J
Not being able to leave my close family after high school (I get so home sick!) I traveled a short distance north to St. Cloud State University to get my degree in finance in three years.  Afterwards, I attended grad school at the University of Saint Thomas while working full-time which created a hands-on learning environment for me to play in.  I absolutely love my career in Finance.  It is challenging, rewarding and always changing.  After my corporate life is over, I plan to teach college level finance and business courses – never giving homework of course ;)
I married my very handsome goof ball in 2006 whom I met through my brothers…which was very awkward at first!  Our first date was to a Miss Minnesota pageant – he learned early on what he was in for ;)  One of the first times I was with Joe, he picked me up and starting jumping up and down yelling we won the World Series – I wasn’t sure what to think!  Soon, I discovered that is his personality.  After we both finished grad school, we were blessed with Dominic who is now three and Lincoln who is one.  Don’t tell Lincoln, but I secretly wished he was a girl.  I even bought some very adorable pink outfits…maybe there will be three in my future ;)  Being a parent has definitely changed my life.  You live life with a completely different perspective.  Nothing is about you anymore.  Your feelings, your aspirations, your sleep! all revolve around these little people.  If I can raise my boys to be men who are passionate and can impact this world in a positive way, then I believe I have done my job as a mother.
When I was in my teens, my father passed away.  As painful as that experience was it taught me a very valuable lesson: every single day is a gift and you only get one chance to make a difference.  One of my father’s favorite quotes was: “It is not what you get away with in life, but rather what you leave behind.”  Since that day in May, I knew I needed to make an impact.  Over ten years ago, I began reading to children at an inner city school.  That is where I met my book buddy Lauren and fell in love!  She was so sweet, so smart and so innocent, but like many of the children in that elementary school, they came from very humble families where the home life was not stable or encouraging.  Over the course of a year, I actually taught Lauren how to read!  I knew at that moment, this was going to my impact…I knew I could make a difference. 


Monday, April 6, 2015

" I am so excited to be your Miss Pre-Teen Minnesota " by Lillie Imm

I am so excited to be your Miss Pre-teen Minnesota!  I am looking forward to a fun year!  I had such a wonderful experience the entire pageant weekend!  Everyone made me feel like part of the International ‘family’.  Being voted to receive the ‘Amity Award’ by the other contestants was really special for me.

I am ten years old and live with my parents and two little brothers.  I am in fifth grade at Liberty Classical Academy and my favorite subjects are History and Latin. I have received several academic achievement awards, I love to learn.  My hobbies include singing, dancing, sewing, rollerblading, and guitar.  I have been fortunate to work as a model, actress and performer and have been saving for my future by putting all my income in a Roth IRA for years!  I have been performing onstage since I was two years old.  I would be in a production every day if I could, I love it! 



I love to volunteer and have had many wonderful opportunities.  The cause closest to my heart is the Alzheimer’s association.  When I was younger, my great grandma Lilly had Alzheimer’s disease.  We had a lot fun spending time together.  We would sing songs, dance,   and eat our favorite food together, chocolate!  She taught me that those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease ‘live in the moment’, but I believe the feeling of happiness lasts.  That is why I have been volunteering with those affected by Alzheimer’s for the past 3 years.  I visit, play games, toss balloons, paint nails, sing songs and share hugs.  I must be one of the most hugged kids around and I love it! I also love how my friends sing and clap along with my songs.  Music makes them happy, just like it does for me! 

I am honored to represent the Minnesota International Pageant as Miss Pre-teen Minnesota.  I am grateful for the amazing opportunities I have been given and for the opportunities that lay ahead for me over the upcoming year.  I am excited to be part of such a welcoming sisterhood, even to the littlest members!  I look forward to bringing awareness to my platform Musical Memories for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  I am thankful for the support of the Minnesota International Pageant.  I am happy to make appearances and help out with events throughout our great state and beyond.  I look forward to meeting the new Pre-teen City / County ambassadors soon!

Lillie Imm, Miss Pre-teen Minnesota International 2015