By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Annae Imhoff wants to make a difference in her community.
At 16 years old, the homeschool student is concerned with the high rate of suicide in Oklahoma.
“If you know someone who is having suicidal thoughts or an eating disorder, then get them the message that there is help,” Imhoff said.
She has started “Stay Strong and Sparkle On” to put a dent in Oklahoma’s suicide rate. Her experiences volunteering in the Cushing 4-H have led her to adopt a project to address serious issues for a need in the community and she encourages other concerned citizens to join her.
“Together we will put a stop to eating disorders and suicides caused by bullying in young women,” Imhoff said.
The Stay Strong and Sparkle On Workshop is scheduled at 2 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Payne County Expo Center Community Building. Groups will rotate between sessions about suicidal prevention and awareness, nutrition and health and dealing with bullies. Each session will be led by Oklahoma State 4-H Ambassadors.
“The day will end with a nutritional dinner and Miss Oklahoma 2011 Betty Thompson-Richey speaking about negativity and how she was able to overcome it herself,” Imhoff said.
Thompson-Richey grew up on a dairy farm in Lincoln County and attended Oklahoma State University before winning second runner-up to Miss America 2012.
As beautiful and talented as the former Miss Oklahoma is, she was often discouraged by distracters saying she was too short or not good enough to pursue her dreams. Imhoff said the beauty queen’s message is uplifting for anyone trying to achieve their goals.
“She strives to motivate students to set goals for their life, make healthy life decisions and have self-respect,” Imhoff said.
All teenage women are invited to attend the workshops and dinner presentation.
Stay Strong and Sparkle On is part of Imhoff’s 4-H state project and donors may contribute to the cause of suicide prevention and anti-bullying measures through the 4-H 501C-3 donation. For more information about contributing or to register for the workshops, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“With space limitations, everyone is encouraged to sign up to let us know they are coming for the day,” Imhoff said.