By Karlene Skretting
Westwind Weekly News
Since childhood, Amber Monti has had to put up with bullying. But instead of lingering on the negative and remaining down on herself, she is speaking out with a passionate voice that will hopefully resonate with today’s youth. Her hope is to take her message provincially and nationally.
At 17, Monti is a grade 11 student at Raymond High School who has a passion for horses, rodeo, volunteer work and helping others. Her most recent passion is pageantry, and it is through the upcoming Miss Teenage Alberta Pageant that she is hoping to spread her anti-bullying message.
“Bullying is a huge part of life that the youth face and to know that the pageant is uplifting and positive is the best … Accepting that everyone is beautiful in their own way was huge for me and what motivated me to participate,” shared Amber about why she decided to compete for the first time this year.
Amber is well equipped to succeed; she received the Alberta High School Rodeo Association Princess crown in June 2014, with many of the skills she learned there transferrable to the beauty pageant world. She is also fortunate enough to have both a national pageant judge and the reigning Miss Teenage Alberta helping her prepare.
While many contestants are struggling to build the necessary confidence, interview skills or practice proper behaviours that the judges will look for, Amber has an obstacle of her own to overcome.
“My challenge would definitely be walking in heels. I am more of a dusty country person with my boots,” shared Monti with a chuckle, “so it is time to put the boots aside and polish up some heels.”
If she can do that, she is confident that she has a shot to win the crown, sash and title in Calgary on March 21 and 22 against the anticipated 50-plus competitors, and go on to run in Miss Teenage Canada.
The Miss Teenage Canada Pageant allows young ladies to shine by allowing them the opportunity to grow through developing a platform, fundraising, modeling and public speaking.
“She believes that by being a public figure, it gives you a voice to step up, stand out and make a difference in the world. Not just for just herself, but for many others who may be afraid to,” shared her mother Jillian.
“I’ve watched her become more responsible for her own actions, she is proud of who she is and what she stands for.”
Amber has paired up with stopabully.ca and if she wins, she hopes to visit schools across Alberta to share her story and let youth know about the Canada-wide anti-bullying program.
Stop a Bully allows any student who is a victim, or witness, of bullying and cyber bullying to be able to safely report the details to school officials. Any student, at any school in Canada, can use this reporting service at no cost to all students and schools.
Amber is grateful for the lessons that the pageant world has taught her so far, “the whole program is based on self confidence and just believing in yourself, and I think that today, especially in the youth groups, that it is so important.”
That is one of the many principals and real life examples she can share with the schools she visits.
As part of her pageant duties, she has been asked to raise money for Cardiac Kids, a Canada wide charity that raises funds for children who are suffering from congenital heart disease.
One in 100 Canadian children are born with a congenital heart defect (CHD) and more than half need surgery to survive. Congenital Heart Defects are the most common birth defect.
Amber’s goal is to raise $1,500, but if she raises the most money out of all the participants, her National fees will be waived.
To help make this a reality, she is hosting a barrel racing benefit at the Taber Agriplex on March 7.
For more information about her pageant run or to make a donation, Amber’s Facebook page is Amber Monti – 2015 Miss Teenage Alberta Delegate. She can also be reached at 403-795-5071 or you can email Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org.