Think back to when you were a little boy or girl.. who did you look up to? Who was the coolest person in your world you were DETERMINED to become?
Children need guidance. They need a hand to lead them in the right direction. In the absence of that positive influence, they’ll look to whomever is the leader or the dominant adult in their life. Unfortunately, that’s not always a GOOD person.
Last night, KETV’s Davonte McKenith shared a powerful story about the cycle of crime taking place in part of Omaha. A major message in his piece: organizations like 100 Black Men are desperately seeking new mentors to stand up and show children adults who are successful and hard working. Many experts note if you break down the science of crime, the teens and young men responsible are following the same path their fathers took.. that’s all they see, and it’s all they know.
On the flip side, I’ve heard countless stories of the positive influences Miss Nebraska titleholders have had on young people.. many who have grown up to volunteer and compete themselves. Just one year ago, Ravenna High School student Kara Kriha saw confidence, smiles and kindnes.. and knew this was a world she wanted to be part of.
“I first decided that I wanted to become involved in pageants when I was at Crowns & Gowns 2015 in North Platte,” Kara told me recently. The annual event brings together Miss Nebraska miss and teen titleholders among others for workshops, photo shoots, a local pageant and the always-anticipated Hirschfeld’s Prom Shoppe fashion show.
Kara entered an online Prom Girl contest, allowing voters to select who would model in the fashion show alongside the contestants. Kara received more than 500 votes, and modeled several dresses before a crowd of hundreds.
“Everyone there was so nice to me and I had so much fun!” said Kara. “Miss Nebraska is so much more than just a girl with a crown on her head.”
Kara competed in several local pageants last fall and that persistence was rewarded; she was crowned Miss Harvest Moon Festival 2016.
“This year I have grown so much,” said Kara. “I am better at holding longer, intelligent conversations with people, especially adults.”
The 17-year old has also pursued a number of different interests before determining what she would showcase for her on-stage talent. She’s a member of her high school band, she’s a trap-shooter, she spins rifles, she’s involved with 4-H in Buffalo County and she loves to ice skate.
Ultimately, Kara’s love for flag performance inspired both her competition talent and her platform of service, ‘Save the Arts’.
“I have been involved in art and music for as long as I can remember,” said Kara. “It is extremely important that all kids have art and music available in their schools.”
And just like the titleholders who inspired her to compete for Miss Nebraska, Kara is also making community service a priority. She now wants to be the role model she looked up to one short year ago.. to inspire young people to follow a path of hard work, kindness and ultimately, success.
“The reason I want to be Miss Nebraska is so that I can show people how much work that not only Miss Nebraska does, but all of the contestants for their communities,” said Kara. “Not very many people know that the Miss America Organization’s national platform is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or that they even have a national platform. A lot of people see Miss Nebraska as just a pretty girl, but I want to change that so she is also seen as someone who loves and gives back to her community.”
CLICK EACH LINK to follow Miss Harvest Moon Festival 2016 Kara Kriha
For more information about the Miss Alliance/Miss Harvest Moon Festival Pageant, visit their FACEBOOK PAGE. For information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Riki Cornish Hunter by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 308-430-4355.
To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2015 & 2014, click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!