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Forum staff reports, Published August 02 2012

Voting opens for August Beautiful Woman nominees

The nominations are in for August’s Beautiful Woman, and now’s your chance to have a say in who you’d like to see featured in SheSays on Aug. 27.

Go to http://beautifulwomenof.areavoices.com to read more about each woman and to vote for one of the following nominees or nominated a beautiful woman in your life.

Penny Andrist

Penny Andrist has been entertaining and educating children for over 20 years though her magical show, Penny and Pals. Kids and their grownups feel the warmth and real connection that Penny has with children and her passion for helping them grow.

Her shows are fun, heartwarming, and active. Children see her as their favorite friend and playmate. Her topics are about building character, healthy habits and relationships. Her pals help her make those points in a most entertaining way.

Penny began her work in a public school classroom with at-risk learners. As teacher and mentor, she realized she could reach even more children through her work onstage and in workshops for kids.

Her career includes working with other organizations to develop curricula and activities that enhance learning and bring concepts to life through music and active engagement.

Penny and Pals has received numerous national awards recognizing her work for its educational value and appropriateness for children.

Penny is a beautiful woman – ask any kid!

Nominated by Gail Benson

Dawn Peters

A beautiful woman devoted to everything she touches, Dawn Peters is such a spectacular woman, one I could only dream of being.

Although there is more than 20 years difference in our ages I admire her for all that she is.

First and foremost, she raised three of the most intelligent, polite, kind and loving children. I wished I’d have known her 50 years ago when I began raising my children, not that mine aren’t very successful adults, but she would have been a perfect role model.

There are times when she is just a kid playing stupid games with them, but also a time when she is their mother and their disciplinarian. That’s how they got to be who they are.

She holds down a full-time job as an officer of the North Dakota Juvenile Court, a 40-hour job that sometimes takes her all over the state. She cares deeply for these children she works with, trying to make them see where they are going and where they should be going.

Dawn has a very serious disease, but it doesn’t hold her down. She is a runner. She runs 5 to 7 miles every day. She does a 5K or 10K at every event in town, including of course, the Fargo Marathon.

When, you ask, does she have time for her husband? She makes time. He runs with her, does work around the house with her, roller blade and ride bikes with her.

Somehow Dawn also makes time to be my best friend. When I want to have a really good time or I just need her, she makes room in her calendar to spend with me. I am so fortunate to not only have worked with her in the past but also have become her friend.

Her plate is so full I wonder all the time how she does it all. It is my privilege to call her my best friend.

Nominated by Bonnie Ruscheinsky

Roxane Romanick

Roxane is truly a beautiful woman. She’s dedicated her life to helping children and families.

She is a strong advocate for children with disabilities, especially Down syndrome. She’s grown the local Down syndrome support group, Designer Genes, and is co-coordinator of the awareness Buddy Walk, now in its eight year.

She visits new families when they get a diagnosis or have a child with Down syndrome. She brings them care packages, and more importantly, excitement for their precious child.

She works to connect families with early intervention services to ensure children get the best possible start to an amazing life. And she strongly advocates for services both on national committees and in our local legislature.

Roxane was the person who visited me when I had my child with Down syndrome. She brought hope and friendship that I have been inspired by for the last 10 years. She’s truly a beautiful woman.

Nominated by Sandra McMerty