Since I was crowned Miss Wyoming 2017 last June, my favorite part of being a state titleholder has been working with some incredible organizations and sharing my passion for service. I was excited to follow in the footsteps of the ambitious young women who had come before me, as well as to leave my own legacy throughout my state, community, and country.
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Within 24 hours of being crowned, I was already receiving messages online from people whose lives had been changed by the American Heart Association. Full of hard workers, dreamers, and compassionate individuals who genuinely care about the health of our country and its future generations, I knew that this organization was going to be a perfect partner for me to work with during my year of service. I couldn’t wait to jump in and meet some of their advocates!
Thanks to the American Heart Association, I’ve been able to meet the sweetest, strongest children (my Heart Warriors), conduct press interviews to promote heart-healthy legislation throughout my state. I was also able to speak on the floor of the Wyoming Senate and be introduced in the Wyoming House of Representatives, and watch Wyoming Governor Matt Mead sign two significant proclamations - one initiating pulse-ox testing on all newborn babies, and one declaring February 13th as Wear Red Day in Wyoming to support women’s heart health. I am both honored and thankful for the kindness they have shown me and the opportunities they have graciously included me in - moments like these make the job so rewarding. I am incredibly proud to be an ambassador for an organization whose cause is so worthy!
This spring, I am so excited to be joining the American Heart Association in kicking off their annual Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart fundraisers in schools across the country! In the next few weeks, I will be traveling to dozens of elementary and middle schools throughout Wyoming to speak to the kiddos about how they can start developing healthy heart habits for life and introducing them to this year’s characters: the Scare Squad! Each monster on our squad has a special message to share with children about how to avoid heart disease and save lives, and so far I have been amazed by their eager response. Last week, I got to start my tour at Woodland Park Elementary School in Sheridan, WY, presenting to grades K-5.
Little did the students know, I actually used to be a Woodland Park Wrangler myself! Seeing their faces light up with excitement and glee every time I told them that was such a joy, and they were ready to jump right in and see how they could help! Throughout my journey, I have seen that children truly have the largest hearts. Sharing my passion for health and service with our younger generations has had just as large of an impact on me as I hope that it has on them. Our day at Woodland Park was filled with questions, fundraising, and anticipation for the Jump Rope for Heart events. I even told them I will be coming back to help distribute some of their fundraising Thank You gifts if they reach their school-wide goal of $3,500! The kids were all so excited, some already whispering about how they would be bringing their piggy banks to school the next day or who they would ask to donate to the American Heart Association and so that they could begin collecting all of the Scare Squad monsters.
I have no doubt that these compassionate kiddos will meet and even exceed their goals, because they held such a light in them for helping others that I couldn’t help but feel elated when I left that afternoon. Hearing them sing the song about jumping rope and shooting hoops to save lives and seeing them stomp, sniff, and pretend to doggy paddle while taking the 3D roller coaster ride with our Scare Squad monsters absolutely inspired me. Woodland Park Elementary was the perfect place to begin my statewide tour because they were so warm, welcoming, and encouraging. I even got to reconnect with my 5th grade guidance counselor, who is now the school principal!
I find it truly incredible that some of our youngest generations hold an immense amount of power and desire to make a difference despite their age- and imagine how large of an impact they will make, even with just a few hundred dollars coming from all of these schools nationwide! These kids are the real miracle makers, and their big hearts have helped motivate me as I continue to advocate for the American Heart Association.
Today, I challenge each of you to join me and get involved with the lifesaving advocacy work of the American Heart Association. Add your voice by simply texting HEART to 46839 right now or visit yourethecure.org/join. It only takes a few moments, and you will be a part of a powerful movement to save lives. Remember, “You’re the Cure, WY!” And keep an eye out for me, I may be coming to a school near you soon! Thank you for helping us save lives!
Forever your Miss Wyoming 2017 and AHA Advocate,
For more information on the advocacy work of the American Heart Association please email Allison.Hogue@heart.org.