Miss Southern Utah Serves Her Community

Miss Southern Utah
This article appeared in Alive! Utah South Area magazine: http://aliveutah.com/content/miss-southern-utah-serves-her-community

SOUTHERN UTAH – Poise, passion and confidence helped Erika Hansen nab the 2010 Miss Southern Utah crown. This February she looks forward to passing on her title to the next Miss Southern Utah.

Erika hopes her successor will embrace the responsibility of representing Southern Utah.

“I want the next year’s winner to be a better representative of Southern Utah than me, She needs to be extremely independent, a self-starter and passionate about her platform.

Hopefully this year’s contestants will heed her advice. Erika understands what it takes to compete for this prestigious and influential title. She has been competing in pageants throughout her college years as a way to grow as an individual while funding her schooling. Erika will graduate from Southern Utah University with a major in biology and an emphasis in pre-med.

Erika is the 2008 Miss Iron County, and this past year after winning Miss Southern Utah she went on to place as 3rd runner up in Miss Utah. Her passion for her platform has carried her through each of these intense competitions. The past year Erika has been diligent about promoting her favorite cause: Education for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. That is a heavy platform that has required Erika to diligently pursue her desire to educate children, parents, teachers and the community on a subject that is often taboo.

As she says, “Nobody wants to talk about it and it is uncomfortable for people when you don’t know the facts.” Helping others understand the facts and the issues has been Erika’s mission this past year as she has done media interviews, created a pamphlet for school counselors and created presentations for elementary schools. She also had the opportunity to speak at the Children’s Justice Center State Symposium. You can find out more about this issue that continues to need to be addressed at her website http://fightcsa.org/default.aspx. The website outlines a 3 step program for parents and children faced with incidents of child sexual abuse. “Children will now know what to do if they become a victim and parents will know the steps to take if someone they know becomes a victim,” says Erika.

Obviously Erika has been busy. She had a good run in the peageant circuit but as she finishes her senior year she says those days are finished. She will continue her education. Next year she hopes to be practicing and learning medicine at another school. Erika comes from a tight knit family of girls. She has two sisters, one of which is her twin. When she is not hitting the books or promoting her cause Erika can be found indulging her “not so girly” side in the outdoors, camping, fishing and four-wheeling.

Knowing Southern Utah had such a well-rounded and intelligent woman representing it this past year makes us wonder what awaits us  on February 26th as the Miss Southern Utah of 2011 is unveiled. What will she do to change our Southern Utah Community? What issue will she make her own?

As part of the Miss America Organization, contestants are required to develop a service platform. According to www.missouthernutah.blogspot.com “In 1989, the Miss America Organization founded the platform concept, which requires each contestant to choose an issue about which she cares deeply and that is of relevance to our country. Once chosen, Miss Southern Utah will use their stature to address community service organizations, business and civic leaders, the media and others about their platform issue.”

The Miss Southern Utah is an open pageant, meaning young women throughout Utah are invited to compete. Entrants are judged on their service platform, interview and talent, presence and poise, lifestyle and fitness. They are also required to fundraise $100 in donations for the Children’s Miracle Network and the The Miss America Scholarship fund.

Erika points out that pageants are no easy thing. “You need to fully commit because that is how youare  going to grow and get the best experience.” There is way more to this pageant than a shiny crown it is a dedication to hard work, self-improvement and community service. Erika has raised the bar high for our next Southern Utah queen.

Let’s see her pass the torch February 26th at the Cedar High School Auditorium at 7:30

The pageant is still looking for sponsors to contribute both to the pageant and the scholarship fund. Find out more at http://misssouthernutah.blogspot.com

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