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Ended Nov 22, 2014
In June of 2015 I will be headed on another volunteer trip - this time to India!  For three weeks I will be working on education or clean water projects in rural Free the Children communities. I have been involved with Me to We and Free the ... More ...
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In June of 2015 I will be headed on another volunteer trip - this time to India!  For three weeks I will be working on education or clean water projects in a rural Free the Children community.

I have been involved with Me to We and Free the Children for a few years now, having traveled to Kenya and twice to Ghana.  The partnerships with community members to create sustainable development is amazing.

I'm so grateful for any support in reaching my goal!  Thank you for your help in changing the world! 

For more information about me and my experiences visit ilaughlovedream.blogspot.com or read the newspaper article below. You can also follow my journey on facebook, twitter, or instagram!

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Maple Ridge teen serves as role model

by Troy Landreville

Miranda Tymoschuk found light from what she describes as “such darkness.”
The Maple Ridge resident and Miss Teen BC contestant has faced challenges, and through it all, said she’s had “many amazing experiences.”
The 18-year-old Thomas Haney Secondary grad was born with a posteromedial tibial bow in her left leg.
She endured 10 limb lengthening surgeries and extensive physiotherapy to correct it.
“I started having [surgeries] when I was eight, so in May I sort of ‘celebrated’ 10 years since my first surgery,” Tymoschuk said.
The decade of surgeries took a toll both physically and emotionally on Tymoschuk.
She said the trauma she experienced is a very hard thing for some people to understand.
“At times I’m sort of unsure about sharing that information about me, also because of the stigma surrounding mental illness,” Tymoschuk said. “But I’ve realized, the only way to change that is to be open about it and educate others.”
Educating, and more specifically helping, others comes as second nature to Tymoschuk, who travelled to Ghana with a “Me to We” group this past spring.
This marked Tymoschuk’s third journey to Africa in as many years. She travelled to Kenya in March 2012, Ghana in March 2013, and back to Ghana this past March.
Activities in Ghana this time around included working on a classroom, helping collect water, visiting the Cape Coast Castle, social justice discussions, and leadership modules, Tymoschuk shared.
The group of Maple Ridge students visited the communities of Asemko and Nyameyiekrom.
“I thought a lot about how people often picture Africa as all being the same, but there I was in one country, and two communities have such differences – different people, different ways of life, and are faced with very different challenges,” Tymoschuk said. “The fact that Free the Children goes in and actually takes the time to create sustainable plans with each of the countries they work with is amazing, but it goes even deeper than that to each community. That was so cool to see.”
She was impressed with the progress made over the course of a year, in both communities.
This second visit to Ghana allowed Tymoschuk to pick up the pieces of information she missed the last time, or let things sink in more, she said.
“Going back is like watching a movie or reading a book a second time – the first time you might enjoy it and find it interesting, but the second time you notice things that you might have missed before,” she said.
For many Ghanese children, opportunities are scarce. In Africa, many children don’t get a proper education.
Tymoschuk considers herself lucky, believing the power of education changed her life.
“School is somewhere that I feel safe, somewhere that I can set goals and have support in achieving them, and somewhere that opens up doors for my future,” she said. “The fact that not every child in the world has the opportunity to experience this makes me want to do something so that more can. I also know that education plays a huge role in breaking the cycle of poverty.”
Closer to home, Tymoschuk was the sole Miss Teen BC representative from Maple Ridge, out of 50 hopefuls.
The winner was crowned June 30 at Langley Fine Arts School.
This was not a beauty pageant, stressed creator and producer Darren Storsley. The contestants received training in public speaking, interview skills, media relations, modelling, manners, etiquette, leadership, self-esteem, health, fitness, nutrition, assertiveness and motivational speaking, and even self-defence.
The contestants competed in a private judge’s interview, an on-stage interview, a sportswear presentation, an evening gown presentation, and a sponsor costume introduction as well as in charity fundraising.
The charity of the Miss BC Pageant is the Cops for Cancer Tour through the Canadian Cancer Society. Since 2007, the Miss BC Pageant has raised over $200,000 for the Tour.
Most contestants choose to do fundraisers for Cops for Cancer leading up to the pageant.
While she didn’t win the crown, Tymoschuk said she entered the pageant to inspire people to realize that even when life seems to be filled with such darkness, light can be found.
“I want to show people faced with limb lengthening what life is like after all the surgeries; that it gets better,” she said. “I want to be a positive role model for other girls, and help give them hope. I’ve struggled with health problems, surgeries, and mental illness, and it has motivated me to live my life to the fullest.”
The pageant was uncharted waters for Tymoschuk.
“When I hear the word pageant I think of TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras, and think that’s just not me,” Tymoschuk said. “What made me see Miss BC differently was the personal development focus, and that it’s a fundraiser for Cops for Cancer. I enjoy doing things that allow me to grow as a person and connect with others.”
Tymoschuk relished the experience and would love to do it all over again.
“This… has been so enriching for me because I’ve learned how to be more confident in myself,” she said. “It was also so great to talk to people from many different cultures, and hear so many different stories of overcoming hardships.”
Standing on the stage at the end of the show in her gown, seeing her family smiling in the audience, Tymoschuk reflected on how far she’s come.
“I’ve shown myself that anything is possible,” she said, “and I hope I can show others that as well.”
Tymoschuk now has a busy summer ahead.
In August, she’s off to the Windsong Peace and Leadership Center in Arizona for Me to We’s Advanced Facilitation training.
Her goal is to facilitate international volunteer trips like the ones she’s taken to Kenya and Ghana.
In the fall, she’ll be attending Simon Fraser University to study Global Issues and Health Sciences, guided by her interest in Global Health.
She is also contemplating medical school.
“I think it would be neat to work for something like the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders,” she said.
But she isn’t looking that far into the future, just yet.
“I know there is so much for me to learn once I start going deeper into the things I’m passionate about, and more opportunities will probably come up,” Tymoschuk said.

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Handmade with love by a mama in Kenya who is earning a fair wage.
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