When we look at our amazing ambassador team, there are so many unique and passionate individuals making changes in their community. One of our team members, Katie Milbrandt, embodies everything it means to be a part of our team and advocate for mental health.
We collaborated with Katie to create a limited-edition line of products supporting her Miss SDSU Community Service Initiative, "Stop the Stigma | Start the Conversation." A portion of the profits from these items will be donated to the Ivy Center (Brookings Behavioral Health) in South Dakota, a local organization providing behavioral health services for the community.
From my conversations with Katie, I know she is incredibly passionate about her initiative. I wanted to share a little about her, her journey in pageants, and her passion for mental health. Here's what Katie had to say:
"Hey, my name is Katie Milbrandt. I’m a 3-year You Are Co. ambassador and Miss SDSU 2023! For those who don’t know me, I am currently studying architecture and studio arts at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, South Dakota. Outside of school, I work at our campus gym, the Miller Wellness Center, as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. In my free time, I love to work out and spend time with the people I love!
In 2022, I decided to enter my first pageant, which was Miss SDSU, and continued to compete in other competitions within the Miss America Organization throughout the year. Then, in January of this year, I won the title of Miss SDSU. Each titleholder within the organization chooses her own Community Service Initiative (CSI), or a cause that she is passionate about and advocates for within her community/state. When it came time to choose my CSI, there was no question about what it would be. I have struggled with my mental health for years and have also lost loved ones due to their personal battles with mental health. Now, I make it my priority to advocate for mental health and have a voice for those who no longer do.
I am beyond excited to collaborate with You Are Co. on this limited-edition collection of stickers, t-shirts, and sweatshirts and share it with you all. This collection comes from my community service initiative,” Stop the Stigma Start the Conversation”. To me, Stop the Stigma Start the Conversation is all about being vocal about mental health because the more we talk about mental health, the more it will be accepted and normalized in today’s society. The name speaks for itself, stop the stigma by starting the conversation. An interaction as small as saying “hey” to a friend, or a short 2-minute conversation can genuinely make someone’s day.
I hope you all love this collection just as much as I do... Let’s work together to Stop the Stigma and Start the Conversation. <3"
The collection Katie and I put together is a testament to the many inspiring and uplifting messages she emphasizes during her campaign. With stickers, t-shirts, and crewnecks, these fun items are the perfect way to show your support and spread love through your community.
Katie will compete in the 2023 Miss South Dakota Pageant 2023 alongside 20 other women from around the state. The pageant is at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center on June 1st-3rd! If you're in the area and would like to attend, tickets are available now! Whatever the outcome, we are so proud of Katie and her advocacy for mental health!
Stay awesome and kind. <3 Anna