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Pageant dream brings kids together

Nicole Oliphant leads a workshop on healthy relationships for kids at the Rosemount Family Resource Center.

When Nicole Oliphant told her mom she wanted to sign up for the National American Miss Pageant, Teresa Paetznick made it a condition that her daughter had to do something to help people through her participation.

While it wasn't a requirement of the pageant, Oliphant decided she wanted to host a workshop on healthy relationships for children at the 360 Communities Rosemount Family Resource Center. She walked away from the experience with more than she could have imagined.

During the 90-minute session, Oliphant taught the kids about healthy relationships and conflict resolution. The group practiced communicating when feelings have been hurt as well as how to apologize. The kids also learned about forgiveness and how to find it when you've been hurt.

Oliphant said afterwards something unexpected happened. One of the little girls who attended the workshop confronted another in the class who had treated her poorly and the two were able to work out the situation. Oliphant said it was neat to see the tools she provided get used.

"None of us were really expecting that," said Oliphant.

A Rosemount High School student, Oliphant chose to focus on healthy relationships because it's something that everyone faces throughout their lives. She said the kids seemed to enjoy the workshop and that the experience is something she will take with her.

The National American Miss Pageant will be held June 1 and 2 at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington. One of the objectives of the pageant is to grow volunteerism. Oliphant said the workshop was her practical way of doing that.

Oliphant is no stranger to volunteering. The 15-year-old has volunteered at the Rosemount Family Resource Center with her mom for the past four years. She also volunteers on the Rosemount Youth Commission.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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