Wednesday, October 19, 2016

" The Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals" By Ava Ernst

The Animal Humane Society’s Walk for Animals was an AWESOME experience.  For a few months leading up to the Walk, my family and I raised money for this wonderful cause. While we didn’t quite reach our goal of $1,000, I AM proud to say we raised $750 which qualified us for the “Top Walker” category.  The evening before the event, we drove to the AHS headquarters in Golden Valley to turn in the money we had raised. We had no idea that we had earned prizes for our fundraising efforts so that was a fun surprise!  We received a cute dog bowl, a cooler, a special t-shirt, and a neat zip-up fleece that says “Animal Humane Society” on it which has become one of my favorite jackets.  

It was so nice to have my family with me for this wonderful event!

The morning of the Walk, my mom, dad, and I got ready and then drove over to my grandparents’ house to pick them up because they were participating with us.  We also brought our dog Toots. I felt bad because we weren’t able to bring our other dog, a lovable black lab “Bear" because he was too old to walk that far (he was 15.5 at the time).  A fun fact about Bear:  we adopted him from AHS in December 2014 at the ripe old age of 13.  Senior dogs are THE BEST!

It was fun to share this experience with my fellow queens Kelly and Sabrina!
Once we arrived, we met up with my sister queens Kelly Brown (Miss Teen MN International 2016) and Sabrina Astar (Miss MN International 2016).  I had invited them to participate in the Walk and it was fun to make our first appearance together.  We spent some time walking around and saw so many types of animals—even bunnies in a stroller and a HUGE tortoise. There were so many people there to fundraise and help all animals which was really neat to see.  I especially enjoyed seeing so many different dog breeds, from teacup-sized dogs to mutts to St. Bernards and everything in between.

Meeting fellow walkers and sharing stories about our rescue animals was a highlight of the day!
Finally, it was time for the Walk to start!  As we walked, we saw even more animals and even saw a pirate ship with a Weimaraner dog playing the part of Jack Sparrow!  We only walked for about half the walk because Toots was getting tired (basset hounds have very short legs so that was a lot of walking for her).  
A big old tortoise even came to the Walk!

These people had their bunnies participate in the Walk by pushing them in a stroller!
After the Walk, my family decided to go to one of our favorite places “Psycho Suzis” for lunch because they allow dogs out on the patio.  A lot of the other walkers had the same idea so it was fun to see so many dogs eating outside with their owners.  It was the perfect ending to a great walk and I can’t WAIT to do it again next year!  

Ava Ernst
Miss Pre-Teen Minnesota 2016

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"Rallying for the cause" by Morgan Bredde

As I mentioned in my last blog, I've come across many new opportunities to speak about things that I find important and that I feel like others should find important as well. Because I work with organizations through my platform that directly benefit children and families living with or having passed away from terminal conditions, I feel like it is my responsibility to speak on behalf of those who's voices cannot carry these conversations for themselves.

I was honored to speak at a volunteer rally for Crescent Cove this month. Here, volunteers, friends, families and distant supporters were able to catch up on progress, connect with fellow supporters, and discuss our next steps (over some of the yummiest tacos ever, I might add!). Katie, the founder, invited me to say a few words after everyone had introduce themselves. Now if you know me, I am not a woman of few words! Once I get on my soapbox, it needs to fall through in order to get me off of it.

It was Suzanne Gwynn of Ladybug House in Seattle (another incredible woman seeking the support to build a hospice home for children in Washington- that encouraged me to share my story. Often times I get so wrapped up in the stories of families who live this every day that I forget that I have a  story of my own. Being able to share the sacred role of a friend who is actively losing a friend is healing. For years I didn't know what to do with the words in my heart and just let them sit dormant and gather dust. It was so worth it seeing my words connect with volunteers who were still unsure of why they were sitting there that night or what they were getting involved in.

This is my encouragement to those reading this that have something to say but don't know what to say, how to say it, or even who to say it to. Just speak. There are so many people who wish they had the voice, the opportunity or even the courage to do it. Take a chance and know your words could change the world.


Speak loudly.


Making the minutes count,



To learn more about Crescent Cove, visit

Thursday, October 6, 2016

"Use your Voice" By Morgan Bredde


This past month has been full of speaking opportunities for me. I never really considered myself much of a speaker until this year. Growing up, I was always the kid who talked too much in class. Luckily, it seems to have paid off through my time with theatre and pageantry.


As Mrs. Minnesota, you must be willing and capable to command an audience of limitless numbers in order to educate, inspire, and occasionally entertain those in attendance. Since I'm not inherently funny, I rend to stick to education and inspiration.


I was invited to speak to Macy's at Mall of America on behalf of the American Heart Association. This was unique because I was speaking directly to employees who were participating in a fundraiser for AHA as well as 8 other local charities. The cool part about this specific fundraiser is that it directly benefitted our chapter rather than the national organization. Employees gathered before store-opening on a Sunday morning and were so kind and welcoming. Being able to connect with strangers joined together on a mission was eye opening. Some people knew their numbers, some didn't. Some people knew risk factors and facts, some knew none at all. But every single person knew someone affected by heart disease. Incredible, isn't it?


One employee was kind enough to share her personal experience with heart disease and I'm so thankful she did. You could see the compassion building in the body language of her coworkers around her and I'm positive that she was able to build deeper connections with those present that morning.


At the time I had visited, they were only a week into the fundraiser and had already raised just shy of ten thousand dollars! Even though it was their "job" to ask customers to participate, that number alone shows me that each employee cared enough to make sure they could do their part to raise money.



I look forward to coming back in February and working with even more employees and interacting with customers while raising funds and awareness. Thank you, Macy's!



Making the minutes count,



Ps- do you know your numbers? If not, log onto