Uvlaalautaq Uvana Atiga Igliguq. My name is Jacqui Lambert, I am the daughter of Harold and Jaime Lambert and Paulette Schuerch. I grew up in Kotzebue, Alaska and just finished sophomore year of college at the University of Idaho.
I recently decided on putting together this organization while at Semester At Sea. For the final in my global studies class, we were asked to put together a project using one of the eight Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations focusing on global human development. My group and I were doing all sorts of brain storming and planning trying to think of a creative way to help empower women in Uganda. While caught in the assignment, I stopped to ask myself “why am I helping these women half way across the world when I can be focusing on the people I look up to the most right at home?”
The gratitude mukluk has a long story behind it. I made my first one in February while battling through phases of depression and getting counseling at my university. While talking to my counselor, we were both able to realize that I am finally making progress with my depression. I happened to be wearing my mukluks during the session and while explaining to her how meaningful they are to me, my face lit up, my voice was cheerier and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. All I can think of over and over to explain this feeling was “Aarrigaa! It feels good!”
With all the positive energy that night, I went to the local fabric store and bought myself the materials to make myself a key chained mukluk. I wanted to remember this feeling. I carry it around with me almost everywhere I go and every once in a while when it really catches my attention, I name something that I am grateful for. Focusing my attention on this, my train of thought shifts into a more positive outlook, causing me to push any negative thoughts out of the way. Whether it was while in a hurry to get in my car, storming into my apartment after a bad day, or even checking the mail afraid of more bills, I made myself think of things that made me happy so I wouldn’t think too hard about what was stressing me.
Using the focus of this gratitude mukluk, I came up with the idea for MISS - a movement for the women in the NANA region. I want to recognize as many inspirational and strong women of all ages in our region. A big thank you from me for giving me something to always look up to. A woman for girls from elementary on through college and even motherhood to also look up to. The mission of the MISS organization is to empower women through identity and culture while working to combat domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape culture.
The day that I came back from Semester At Sea, I asked Hannah Atkinson to be my partner in this movement. Hannah and I went to high school and cheered together. She has always been a very inspirational girl to me these past 6 years that I have known her. We have had plenty of conversations before about topics that revolve around the MISS organization’s mission.