Local resident uses contest to encourage young victims of drug addiction | News, Sports, Jobs

Katie Rankin attends Little USA 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She applied for the pageant in February and received notification shortly after she was chosen by a selection committee as Ms. Northeast Petite USA 2022. Her platform supports and encourages young people affected by parenting addiction or family and it is associated with Camp Frederick’s Camp Bon deuil in Rogers. (Salem News photo by Danielle Garner)

COLUMBIANA — Local resident Katie Rankin has been selected as Ms. Northeast Petite USA 2022.

Rankin was inspired to explore pageantry after volunteering with the Wellsville-based Tri-State Cinderella Project. The Tri-State Cinderella Project helps girls get dresses, shoes and jewelry for formal events at little or no cost.

“I did this and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing'” she commented. “Building confidence really meant a lot to me.”

After losing her mother, Rankin lost her self-confidence and her emotional well-being deteriorated. Her mother had stopped drinking abruptly in an attempt to improve her daughter’s situation.

“We moved and she worked like crazy to get me through school and everything. She has done a lot. » Rankin said.

Participating in a fashion show for the Tri-State Cinderella Project inspired Rankin’s love for pageants.

Petite USA was founded by Hazely Lopez-Alvarez in 2009 with a vision to empower petite beauties 5ft 6in or under. Qualifications include character, good health and citizenship.

“Most of the time when you enter a pageant, a shorter woman is less likely to be chosen because there are so many modeling contracts that come up afterward and many agencies want taller women,” Rankin explained.

Attending Petite USA 2022 also gave Rankin an online community of friends and support. She connects through Zoom sessions, Facebook and scheduled chats. She discusses other candidates’ platforms such as domestic violence, human trafficking and mental health.

“It’s really about what’s on your mind and how you make a difference in the community,” she says.

When Rankin struggles with her confidence or her anxiety, she has a community of fellow contestants to support her through that journey. She struggled with bullying when she was younger as she grew up in a home plagued by drug addiction, violence and poverty.

“It took me a long time” she says. “I just didn’t have that confidence.”

After losing her father, Rankin spent years learning to take care of herself. She developed a routine for attending councils, finding community in the church, pursuing interests, and reflecting on herself.

“I am still in the healing process. I don’t think that happens overnight and a lot of that is miscommunicated on social media,” she says. “I really believe it’s a process.”

Rankin’s platform for Petite USA encourages young people to break the cycle of addiction. She said she wanted to create a positive impact for children affected by parental or family addiction.

The process of creating an affirmative and beneficial experience for children has not been easy, but Rankin’s perseverance has inspired her to remain flexible.

Covid has ravaged his plans to start his non-profit Bear’s Den youth camp for teens affected by addiction. Instead, she partnered with her husband and friends with Camp Frederick in Rogers to sponsor a camping experience for children ages 6-16 struggling with the impact of addiction.

“This year is the first year that we’re going to truly impact lives,” Rankin said. “We are in partnership with Camp Good Grief.”

The idea is inspired by Rankin’s experience of losing her father when she was a teenager.

“By holding this title, I want to spread positive light and awareness about the platform, because I believe that if kids are pointed in the right direction, the ultimate cycle of addiction can be broken,” she says.

Rankin said she wants young people to understand that life is different on the other side of addiction. She said she believed young people learning to value their own choice would help exemplify a different path.

“It’s up to them to decide who they are without this toxic environment so they can break this whole cycle,” she says.

Rankin is currently fundraising for her expenses incurred by participating in Petite USA 2022. The competition will take place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from August 10-13. The event will take place live on Facebook.

Rankin accepts donations through Venmo, Paypal, and personal checks. Those interested in donating can contact Rankin at [email protected] or on Facebook by searching for Katie Rankin.

A raffle basket filled with Raising Cane gift cards, t-shirts, hats and merchandise is raffled off at Rankin’s Meat Market LLC located at 111 Chestnut Alley. The funds will help pay for expenses, wardrobe, make-up and hair, and travel expenses. Tickets are sold individually for $1 or 6 for $5 until April 1.

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