Heritage Alumnus Catherine Thomas: Miss Canada International 2009

We're all very proud of Catherine and the fruit that God is producing in her life. This platform was a wonderful opportunity to reach people all across Canada with a message of love, mercy, and hope. Read what Catherine has to say below.

Joining the Miss Canada pageant has given me an opportunity to shine light on the hardships of young women everywhere who struggle with their identity and self esteem.  I know how hard it can be growing up as a in a society that tells us we have to look, talk and act a certain way to fit in.  My goal is to support young women everywhere in finding their true worth and value.

Technology is a great resource but it comes with many dangers. It has enabled the media to portray a warped perspective of the “perfect” woman. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t have a conversation with someone who struggles with feeling that they don’t fit the acceptable mold and yet I can see a unique set of talents and abilities within each of them.  Women are taught that their worth is based on looking and acting a certain way and the message is that it is better to conform than embrace one’s individuality.  I think that this has led to most of us, at one time or another, feeling that we aren’t good enough, that we miss the mark of perfection and are therefore less worthy.  It is so sad that women struggle with feelings of worthlessness and think that their value is in their ability to make the standard held up in our media.

I think it is time that we stood up for each other and supported one another in the process of healing our perceptions of ourselves.  That is why I have picked NOW Canada Society as my charity.  NOW stands for New Opportunities for Women and is a society that was set up to provide programs and ongoing support, to female youth who have been victims of sexual exploitation.  I think it is important that all women are given a chance to find their true worth and heal past perceptions of themselves.  Studies show that many young prostitutes have experienced neglect and abuse in their childhood which means that many struggle with their lack of self worth and therefore feel they are only good for the pleasure others take in using their bodies.  As a society I believe it is vital that we reach these young women in early on so that they can have a chance to turn their lives around and experience love and hope. NOW Canada Society is an organization which does exactly that. Please read the excerpt below from the history section on their website: http://www.nowcanada.ca/.

NOW is a well respected organization which receives funding less than 50% from the City of Kelowna, BC Housing and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada relying on businesses and private funding for the rest.  I heartily support this organization for its worthwhile activities and look forward to speaking more about them throughout the pageant.

Another way that I plan on supporting the renewal of the broken female identity include finishing a book that I am writing on how not to conform to what society says women are supposed to be and how to support each other along the way.  I would also like to visit high schools and speak to young women about how we can assist each other towards experiencing true self esteem and self worth. I would also like to point them in the right direction with tips on attaining better self esteem and developing close supportive friendships with other women. Through these avenues and others I plan on supporting young women today in the process of finding their true worth and value.

- Catherine Thomas