Hey everybody!!! Today was day three of Miss Teenage Canada and as the week goes on I am becoming soooo excited for tomorrows preliminary’s! This was our activity, bonding day, so this morning we went tree trekking which was amazing and I decided if I were to be an animal it would be a monkey .

After tree trekking and our amazing lunch, we went swimming! It was so much fun going on the tubes and paddleboards. It was great to get to know everybody a bit better and talk on the beach.

Finally we finished off the day with a fancy diner and took some pictures together before we settled in for the night and go to sleep after this long amazing day.

I am excited to update everyone tomorrow night after our preliminary round!

whoops I almost forgot!

This is my wonderful official headshot for mtc!!

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Today was really interesting and fun, we had so many activities. We started off the day by going treetop trekking at the resort we are staying at. It was amazing, we were doing obstacles on trees and the views were so beautiful. I did this amazing zipline course with my pageant sisters, it was very fun. Until the part, I got stuck in the middle of the zipline, I had to pull myself back up with my hands it hurt so bad. But after that, I continued the course! Then we headed to the beach and I went on the hotdog tube in the water with my friends. We were trying not to fall off because we didn’t want our hair to get wet. But we ended up tilting the hotdog and we all flew off.

 

After that, we did some golfing, and took some cute pictures! We also got to eat some yummy beaver tails.

Lastly, we dressed up and went to a fancy dinner! The pasta was delicious, and we met Miss Teenage Canada 2019, Emma Jeapes! She is so gorgeous and nice, I look up to her so much. She told us about her journey as Miss Teenage Canada and gave us some amazing tips. She said to always be yourself and have fun, which I think is very true. It is important to always be yourself and accept your differences so that you can truly love yourself.

  • Monika Mancini
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Today was a very eventful and packed day we woke up at 7:30 am got some breakfast and went upstairs and ate our food in our room. Then it was time to get ready

 

We got into our photoshoot dresses and headed downstairs for hair and makeup done by ModernCollege. We then headed downstairs to do our Photoshoot and video shoot.

 

 

 

 

 

We then later got into our bathing suits and did a fun little photo shoot by the beautiful lake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then headed back up and changed again into our MTC shirts for a group photo and a promotional video for the MTC pageant.

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was dinner time!! Dinner was amazing tonight we had some chicken wraps with some delicious homemade fries. It was a very stuffing dinner.

We then went back up to our rooms and got some time to chill and relax as well as finish our blogs and do some postings. Was a very fun and eventful day. Can’t wait for the rest of the week.

Written by: Tia-Lynne
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The day has finally come to leave my hometown of Tecumseh and head to the Miss Teenage Canada 2020 National Pageant!!

 

I have been getting ready for months: picking out outfits, figuring out what snacks to bring, practicing walks, being healthy and working out, getting to know myself better, getting gifts ready for the girls, and fundraising for the pageant.

 

 

This year, due to COVID, I changed the way I fundraised from previous years. I have seniors who live in my neighborhood and as they knew that I was home, they asked me if I could help them by picking up groceries so they didn’t have to leave the house, washing siding of houses, going shopping for them, cleaning out garages, cutting lawns, and doing yard work as well as baking birthday cakes. Any money that was given to me went toward the Children Wish Foundation which is a Canadian nonprofit organization that grants wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses.

Interestingly enough, before people asked me to help them, I had been working on a business idea for the last couple of months that involves offering services to people who need baking or chores done. People call me “Sunshine” because of my bubbly personality and that I am always ready to help anyone that needs help. My catchphrase is “Be the Sunshine in someone’s day” which is something I try to do every day. Although, sometimes or often, I can be overly helpful. Oops. There are so many elderly people as well as busy people who need chores or tasks done that they can’t do or don’t have time to do it.

 

 

The other part to “Be the Sunshine in someone’s day” is that once my business starts, I want to set aside part of the profit to donate to Children’s Aid Society to help fund various programs as well as using my website to raise awareness of fostering and adopting by blogging and posting quotes on positive living and sharing stories of fostering and adopting. Foster parents can be the “sunshine” in a child’s life. So far I have designed the logo and I am working on other product ideas as well as working on setting up my social media. My gifts to the girls was a “Sunshine package” to brighten up their week.

After packing the car, I drove from my home town of Tecumseh, Ontario down to Barrie, Ontario to the Horseshoe Resort! The resort is amazing and beautiful. There are so many fun and amazing things to do here!

I am really excited to be doing this pageant for the 3rd time. I have grown so much over the last 3 years and I would not be who I am today and more confident in myself without having participated in this pageant. I believe in the organization and love this pageant so much.

I would love to win because I would use my title to raise awareness of fostering and adopting across Canada. In the Windsor Essex County, we have 470 children in the foster care system. We have 165 homes while 5 years ago we had 243 foster homes. This decrease in homes is not just in my community, but this has been seen in communities across Canada. Another reason why I would like to win is that I can bring skills that I have learned through my volunteer work with the recruitment department of the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society. I have learned about marketing, talking to the public, and promoting fostering and adopting, skills I can use to help market Miss Teenage Canada organization. I also want to use my title to impact youth around the country to show them that second chances are possible and that where they came from doesn’t define who they will become.

As much as I would love to win as every other girl participating would, I will be happy in participating and continuing to expand outside my comfort zone and growing and gaining more skills and self-confidence.

The adventure begins….Once I arrived I checked in and headed up to my room to meet my roommate Kassidy Stewart from Vancouver Island.

 

 

We started the week off with a PJ and pizza dinner party.  At this party, we got to meet all of the ladies and get to know them. We had cake and homemade pizza. Some of the girls made little gift baggies for all the girls from different sponsors and homemade gifts.

   

 

We ended the day in our room and had a little spa night and then we watched the Princess and the Frog then headed off to bed.

Written by: Tia-Lynne
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Hey everyone!

Here are some pictures from Day one’s PJ party! Thank you to all the sponsors for these amazing gifts! and all of the amazing MTC Merch. Thank you so much to Michelle, Marc, Sam, and everyone who was able to put together this pageant! I am so excited to continue my week and look out for more updates! #mtc2020 #mtcswagbag #horseshoeresort #pageantlife #pageantgirl

 

Written by: Kristiana
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Every day at MTC just keeps getting better and better! Today I woke up early and got to go for breakfast with all the beautiful delegates. After breakfast my roommate and I got to spend some quality time laughing and sharing stories while waiting to get called down for hair and make up.
When I got to hair and make up the artists were so kind and did their best to do my make up how I pictured. They did an amazing job and made me feel like a princess. It was so wonderful being in a room with so many talented people.

@moderncollage

When I got to my photoshoot the photographer was very welcoming and helpful. He gave me ideas about how to pose and I’ll never forget when he made me say “I am pretty.” He made me feel so confident behind the camera. After my photoshoot I went to the video shoot which was a very new experience for me but Fernando made the experience a blast! When I came in he told me about his journey and I could really tell how genuinely passionate he is about his job. I aspire to be like him by being so passionate about what I do and bring joy to others while doing what I love.

Thank you Fernando!

Next, I got to wear my blue cocktail dress that I was eager to wear since the day I got it! I got my photos taken outside by some flowers and it was such a great experience. The last photoshoot we had was outside in our MTC t-shirts and hats. It was really fun taking photos outside with the wind blowing in our hair and taking group photos. I’m so excited to continue to share photos with you all and I am so thankful that I am fortunate enough to be meeting all these beautiful delegates that are becoming more like sisters every day. #MTC2020

MTC merch

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Written by: Gloria
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Long time no blog everyone! Yesterday we just got into the Horseshoe Resort and my roomie is the lovely Ria who’s Miss Teenage York Region 2020. Last night was PJ and pizza and I got to meet all the gorgeous delegates! Some of the girls gave out little goodie bags with so much stuff in it. Michelle also gave us swag bags with things from sponsors, including wireless headphones and a portable hair dryer. A pretty chill day and then off to bed we went!

This morning we woke up at 8am for breakfast, which they gave us in super cute to go boxes so we were in and out. Then it was time for hair and makeup because today was photoshoot and video day! I wore my traditional qipao and got my makeup and hair done by the lovely Karen and Cassandra from modern college. Then,it was off to the videographer, Fernado, and what we had to do was talk about why we want to become the next Miss Teenage Canada 2020 or something interesting about us. Then we were going to the photographer next who had a whole set up for us. Then we had another to go bag for lunch and got a little break.

After a bit, we had the choice of doing casual, cocktail or gown, or swimear and I chose swimwear! So the girls and I headed down to the lake and did some photos there. Our last outfit change was into the merch that we got last night in the swag bag. Pink shirt and any shorts and out we went to take videos of us all over the resort. Dinner was a chicken wrap with fries and I had a lovely time with the girls at my table. Heading to bed soon so blog more soon! <3

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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live out of a garbage bag?

Many kids who are in the foster care system move from home to home carrying their belongings in a garbage bag. I had forgotten about this memory until I saw the movie “Instant Family” which is a movie centered on fostering and adopting. The director, Sean Anders, took a serious topic and mixed it in with some humor to give you a heartwarming story. Mr. Anders, like my parents, adopted 3 children and shared some of his experiences in the movie. The main character is Mark Wahlberg who plays the part of the adoptive father.

Volunteering at Lakeshore Cinemas in the Town of Tecumseh.

Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society had recruitment booths set up in the movie theaters where the social workers and I took the opportunity to hand out pamphlets and answer any questions about fostering and/or adopting that individuals had after they watched the movie.

 

 

 

 

My mom believes in the African saying “that it takes a village to raise a child”, so I decided to invite part of “my village” and go watch “Instant Family” together. After the movie, my family and I reminisced about our experience in the adoption process and my mother shared with us how she had forgotten about the garbage bags. When we were brought to my adoptive parents’ home, our belongings were in garbage bags and cardboard boxes.  We didn’t have much, just some clothes and a couple of toys. One of my goals this fall is to do a fundraiser to raise money to buy suitcases and backpacks so kids can carry their belongings in a more dignified way.

As I look back, I am so grateful for what I have. I will never forget where I came from. I can’t lie, living in foster homes and being adoptive comes with its own problems as it is traumatic for kids to be moving, but it is all in the hope of giving kids a better life. My parents have done a lot of praying, loving us unconditionally, and believing in us.  My mom has worked as a Certified Financial Planner and my dad is a Professional Engineer of Ontario who writes Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax credit reports for clients across Canada and the United States and even though they are both highly educated and had a birth son, they still needed the help of social workers to teach them how to parent us, with all our crazy behaviors. My parents had a village of people from family members, friends, neighbors, school staff, and church members, always being willing to help and when we messed up, there was no judgment from anyone, only unconditional love.

 

I was taken from my birth mom when I was 6 months old along with my 2-year-old brother. A year later, my sister was born and she was taken at birth. We were in the foster care system for 3.5 years and moved at least 6 times. We were moved for many different reasons. We never had a solid foundation to call home until August 5th, 2006. That is the day God provided me and my brother and sister with a second chance at a different and better life. Yes, we were trouble makers at first because we all thought “oh this isn’t permanent, we will be moving again soon”, but little did we know that this family would be our forever family.

Part of my big Italian family

As the years went on, we became better-behaved kids and started to learn the importance of family. This is why I am so passionate to help other kids find a forever family so they can have a safe home where they are loved and can grow to their full potential. As I said in one of my past public speaking events, “you don’t know who they are destined to become and after you take away the layers of pain, you will find a child who has so much potential in growing into a successful adult.” Having a strong family connection is so very important. There is a saying “Friends will come and go but, Family is forever“. I agree with this quote because, throughout the years, friends come in and out of your life but when you look around, you realize the people that are still there and always there, are family.

Through it all, I have learned the value of family. It is sad that in today’s society, we often take the people closest to us for granted. I think I drive my mom and other people nuts because I often will stop what I am doing and just give hugs and show my love. It is very important for me to let people know how much I love them and how much I appreciate what they do for me. I have learned not to take love, and family for granted.

My family is a melting pot of cultures. We are Canadian born, Italian, and Irish by blood. Our Italian flags come out during Soccer World Cup days.

 

I was lucky to have been adopted by an Irish father and an Italian mom. My mom is half Fruilana and half Calabrese. A mixture of north Italy and south Italy which makes for interesting times as each province has very different traditions and viewpoints. Let’s just say that the Calabrese moms don’t allow sleepovers, and being home by 11 pm and many other rules.

 

 

There are so many traditions we have as a family. I want to share some of our crazy traditions as I am proud of my Italian heritage. By blood, I am also part Italian, from Sicily.

In January, we follow the Italian custom to buy a couple of whole pigs and make homemade sausages and soppressata and other cuts of meat. When I was little, I used to stuff the meat in the grinder to make the sausages. As a teenager, the story is a little different. This year I didn’t help and actually went vegetarian for a while but being vegetarian in an Italian family can be a challenge, especially with a Calabrese nonna who wants you to eat all the time.

In March, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day to honor my dad’s Irish heritage plus my oldest brother’s name is Patrick. We usually invite our neighbors, the Kennedy family, to join us and have traditional Irish dishes like Irish Stew with dumplings, Irish potato cakes, Soda Bread, and many other dishes.

 

 

 

 

Calabrese Easter Bread

In April we celebrate Easter. One of the Calabrese Italian tradition is homemade Italian Easter Bread with eggs braided in the bread. As a young lady, it is a right of passage to learn how to make the Easter bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another tradition that my nonna likes to follow is to eat homemade ravioli for our big Easter meal. This year, my nonna, my sister Lianna and I made homemade ravioli together. I love spending time with my nonna and learning to cook. The Easter meal this year was delicious as usual.

When we made the ravioli, we had leftover dough so my nonna, who doesn’t waste anything decided to use it up and make homemade fettuccine which was also very delicious.

Making gnocchi with nonna

She also taught me, my sister Lianna and my parents’ godson Justin to make homemade gnocchi when we were little.

 

 

 

 

In May, we plant gardens. This year, because of COVID and being stuck at home, my dad took the time to build a raised vegetable garden and I planted it. I planted watermelons, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Every morning I go out and pick what is ripe. It is very exciting to see plants grow.

 

Although, for next year, I need to have my Zio Pino teach me how to space the plants as I overdid it this year and created a forest instead of a neat garden. Vegetables still are tasting delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

In July, we make homemade antipasto with the Kennedy and Malandrucolo family. This is a northern Italian tradition. It contains tuna, small onions, cut up cucumbers, beans, and carrots.

 

My sister Lianna and I making tomato sauce

 

In August, we make homemade tomato sauce. This is one of my favorite traditions. I love to help my mom make the sauce. I have to admit that my family and I are spoiled because now we can tell the difference between store-bought or restaurant made and my mom’s sauce. Nothing beats my mom’s sauce.

 

 

 

 

When tomato season comes, just like sausage-making or winemaking, it becomes a celebration and a family reunion as everyone takes turns helping each other make their own sauce for the year.

 

 

 

September is fig season. My nonna tells me stories of her figs in her province of Calabria. My nonna lives in an area where everyone has manicured lawns and swimming pools but my nonna instead dug up half her lawn and planted tomatoes, oregano, zucchini, beans and so much more. Her backyard looks like a forest. She planted 3 or 4 fig trees in her garden and every year my Zio Pino has to cover them with bags full of leaves which he goes around the neighborhood collecting and then wraps the bags around the tree with a black tarp to prevent them from feezing so we can have figs for next year.

 

 

In October we celebrate Thanksgiving which means winemaking time. This too becomes a family affair. One quality of Italian families is that we always have room for more people in our homes as you can see from the picture above of the long table. We have the grown-up room, then another room with food in the middle, and at the end is the “kids” room.

My nonna always cooked more for whoever stopped by unexpectedly and my mom does the same. I also have picked up this Italian disease of making sure everyone is fed. Last year at the Miss Teenage Canada pageant, when we could socialize in close proximity, the night we arrived, I cooked grill cheese for all the girls on the floor and fed them. I also brought homemade tomato sauce and cooked pasta for my roommates. By the time I got home from the pageant, my sandwich maker didn’t work. I thought I broke it but I just had overworked it and it went on strike for a couple of weeks until it started working again. I love to cook and bake and make sure everyone around me is well taken care of.

My father is like the Griswald family in the movie Christmas Vacation. Always trying to find the biggest tree. 2016 was a record. 10 feet tall and 9 feet wide.

 

 

 

 

 

In November, we go Christmas tree hunting and decorate our tree and create a scene of the manger. My father always tries to find the biggest one. I think 2016 was the record tree. We had to have a tractor come and help us bring the tree to where they bind the it up to bring home as we couldn’t get it on the cart.

 

 

 

 

 

My Zia Vera makes the most amazing mangers and scene under her Christmas tree with real bark of trees and moss.

 

 

We go Christmas tree hunting at Sloan’s in Bothwell, Ontario. The Christmas tree hunting crew are families in our neighborhood who join us and the Kennedy family on our excursion. They now have become another family.

 

Christmas Eve 2010

Of course, in December, we have Christmas. We cook for days making different dishes and desserts. Our Christmas Eve is the most important meal.  Everyone must attend. Then Christmas Day can be wherever; so if you are married, Christmas Day is the day for inlaws. Our Christmas Eve is filled with fish dishes. We don’t eat any meat on Christmas Eve. The other Southern Italian tradition is to eat spaghetti with anchovies and chopped walnuts and butter which we kids don’t like, so we get to eat spaghetti with meatless tomato sauce.

Christmas Eve 2019

 

Each year we take a family picture. Looking back at how the family has changed makes me feel grateful and blessed.

 

 

 

 

McCann Annual Winter Golf Day

 

Another interesting tradition in December is winter golf. My father and grandfather started this tradition of golfing in the winter 30 years ago. They found a golf course that would allow them to golf in the snow. They are both very passionate about golf and so is my brother Patrick. They invite me every year but golfing in minus 15 degrees isn’t appealing to me.

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading and learning about my culture and the things I love. I was blessed with a forever family. I am passionate on helping other foster children find their forever home. Children in the foster care system are all hoping to have a forever family and  to get to have memories like mine.

 

My Forever Family

My forever family has shown me that no matter what happens in life, a family is forever.

Written by: Tia-Lynne Tagged with:,
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Hey everybody! today was day 2 of MTC and it was amazing. I started my day by waking up and having a healthy breakfast of bagel, yogurt, and an apple. I then went and got my hair and makeup done by the amazing Monika from Mtc’s official hair and makeup sponsor, Modern College. A big thank you goes out to Modern College for volunteering to do our makeup and hair.

 

We then took a visit to our photographer and videographer Fernando who did an amazing job! I made some great new friends today and took some cute pictures in our spare time.

After that I finished off the day by having diner with some lovely ladies who made me laugh until my lungs hurt.

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Featuring amazing shot taken by Fernando Balbontin

Featuring amazing shot taken by Fernando Balbontin

Today was a busy day full of photoshoots and video shoots! We started off the day by eating a delicious breakfast, then my sister did my makeup and hair. Special thank you to her for doing such an amazing job and to the MTC official hair and makeup services for making my fellow pageant sisters look gorgeous. After everyone was ready and in their bright-colored cocktail dress, the photoshoots and video shoot begun. The photographers were so nice and made me feel so welcomed, I felt so confident.

 

Then I got changed into my fashion outfit for the outside photoshoots, I really think my photos turned out amazing!

Lastly, we changed into our MTC shirts and hat, we took some amazing videos and I even got to drive a golf cart! It was so much fun, but a little stressful because I didn’t want to crash it haha! We also took some great group photos with a drone flying above us.

We finished off the day with a yummy dinner, chicken wrap and fries!

Tomorrow we are going Tree Top Trekking, so stay tuned!

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