Student gives Children’s Aid the royal treatment

After her first year of university, Jacqueline Wojciechowski needed a breather. She wasn’t burned out by academics; the 21-year-old just wanted some time off – an opportunity to “collect” herself.

She found herself, and one year later, she was crowned Miss Canada Globe 2013.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity now to represent the community, and do work, and see where doors open,” said Wojciechowski, who just started her second year of a Political Science degree at Western.

The Miss Canada Globe competition looks for “confidence and inner beauty” in their contestants, with a mission of selecting a young woman to provide assistance to charities and non-profit organizations, raising funds and brining awareness to charitable causes while promoting multiculturalism, special events and non profit fundraisers throughout Canada.

Wojciechowski, whose family has been a foster family for more than a decade, wasn’t hard pressed to find a cause she believed in. The London native plans to spend the next year advocating for The Children’s Aid Society.

“My family has been a foster family for 12 years and it’s really nice to be able to do even more for them now; I’m really excited,” she said.

“Being a foster family has been really great. You open up your home and your heart to a child that needs a home. We’ve had children that have stayed in our home from a month to four years. We’ve had so many kids go through our home. Not including relief (temporary) children, I counted 17. The ones who have been there for years, we still have contact with them – they become family,” Wojciechowski added.

“The ones that were close to my age, you end up finding them on Facebook and you keep contact. It’s just really nice to see how much a child’s life has changed.”

But the pageant amounted to an opportunity for personal growth, too, she continued.

“I broke down a lot of walls that I had built up, and a lot of fears,” Wojciechowski said.

Prior to competing, she would have been too afraid to speak in a classroom, and after being on display for more than a week, during the pageant, she feels more confident and empowered.

At home, Wojciechowski is most comfortable teaching Polish folk dancing – something she has been participating in from a young age. Heavily involved in London’s Polish community, she teaches her “own group of little dancers” and enjoys every minute.

Wojciechowski will spend the following year advocating for the Children’s Aid Society, alongside completing her studies and keeping her commitments to the pageant, which require her to make appearances and travel between London and Toronto during the week. She will then compete internationally for Miss Globe in Europe.

Fluent in English, French and Polish, Wojciechowski isn’t sure what the future holds – all she knows is that she enjoys travelling and sees herself working in some international capacity.

“I’m still young and still have plenty of time,” she said.