Sarah Wojcik

Miss Teenage Canada excited about opportunities

The Miss Teenage Canada competition aims to recognize young women in the community who are striving for change – this year, Red Deer’s own Sarah Wojcik was awarded the title.

Wojcik, 17, decided to enter the competition to promote her views on overcoming mental health issues and other causes close to her heart.

“Being Miss Teenage Canada gives me the opportunity to encourage youth Canada-wide. I want to share the idea that no matter what kind of background you come from – dealing with depression, thoughts of suicide, a one-parent home or even things like having low self confidence – your past and your struggles do not completely define you. It won’t define your future,” Wojcik said.

“I’ve been through some struggles in my life, but I’m not letting those define me, or determine where my future is going. I experienced bullying when I was younger, and it’s known that a lot of mental health issues can be caused by bullying. I just want to use my past struggles to be an advocate for teens across Canada and show them they don’t have to fight in silence – the help is out there.”

Wojcik said that she has had friends compete in Miss Teen pageants before and that she admired their titles for the advocacy platform.

She is also an avid volunteer and spends time with a number of organizations from her school programs to the Women’s Outreach Centre and Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

“There is lots of charity work involved, and hopefully I’ll be able to make a tree this year for Festival of Trees to represent Miss Teenage Canada. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work, and have been doing it since a young age,” she said.

“I started with Salvation Army and it evolved from there. Having my old provincial title, I was able to work with some of my favorite charities such as World Vision. I volunteer with the Women’s Outreach Centre, and I’m very involved in my school. I’m on student council and the grad service project.

“I also volunteer a lot with Cystic Fibrosis Canada, because a friend of mine suffers from cystic fibrosis and it’s something that is very close to my heart.”

The contests do have portions that judge aesthetics and demeanor, but Wojcik said that the pageants are really more about what girls are doing for their communities. She said that they cherish girls who are unique and that the contest focuses on fundraising, work ethic and personality over appearances.

“There is no height or weight restriction for the contests. It’s not limited to all about how you look – it’s about your heart and who you are in your personality. They really cherish girls who go above and beyond in their communities,” Wojcik said.

“They look for girls who are smart, girls who are active, girls who win awards for public services. Any talents you have are honoured and accepted. They want girls who are real – they aren’t just looking for drop-dead gorgeous models. They’re looking for real, down to earth girls.”

Each year, competitors are judged on their fundraising abilities for a chosen charity. This year the recipient of the funds raised through the Miss Teen Canada contestants was given to Free the Children.

“Each girl was required to raise a minimum of $400, but if you raised over $1,000 it gave you extra points in preliminary scoring. The highest fundraiser – a girl from Lethbridge – was automatically entered into the top 20,” explained Wojcik.

“One of the things that I won with my title is the opportunity to go to Ecuador with Free the Children. Because of the amount of money we raised as a group of pageant girls, we were able to build eight new schools in the community. I’ll be going to Ecuador to help build the schools and I’m so excited for that. It’s something that’s been on my bucket list – travel the world and do mission work.”

Wojcik hopes that she is able to use her title as Miss Teenage Canada to bring awareness to mental health struggles in youths, as well as to help reduce stigma around teen pregnancies.

“The stigma is that these girls have no future or that they are careless or promiscuous. I’d like to show these girls and the community that their pasts won’t completely define their future,” she said.

Wojcik will be graduating this year from high school and will be moving into a pre-medicine program at the University of Alberta to pursue her dream of becoming an OB/GYN doctor to improve women’s health.

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

WATCH: Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta hosts Barnyard Breakfast

FortisAlberta makes $10,000 donation to House operations

Innisfail RCMP charge woman in connection with seizure of eight dogs

Karin Adams, 46, of no fixed address faces dozen charges

WATCH: Red Deer’s Westerner Days kicks off to a smoking hot start

Thousands take in the food, entertainment, rides and more at Westerner Park

WATCH: 2018 Westerner Days Parade brings 1000s to downtown Red Deer

The parade begins five days of western fun and culture in Central Alberta

Innisfail RCMP seize eight dogs from hotel room following earlier arrest

Dogs were in distress and taken to an animal rescue organization

WATCH: Tune into What’s Up Wednesday

An overview of the week’s news in Red Deer

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

UPDATED: Airdrie man charged after Taser-like weapons seized

Canadian Border and Airdrie RCMP charged a man after an attempt to bring the weapons into Canada

Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers join together to oppose federal carbon plan

Saskatchewan is already involved in a court case over the tax

Sylvan Lake is moving toward a greener town

The Town of Sylvan Lake is moving forward with a contract with Fogdog Energy

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate theft of almost $140,000 value in Millet

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to past break and enter at a rural Wetaskiwin property

After cave rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital

Gymnastics sex abuse victims join hands, accept courage award at ESPYs

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night

Most Read