Monday, September 24, 2012

MISS Monday September 24, 2012 (Stefanie Lozano)

MISS Woman of the Week
Stefanie Tuigan Lozano, Barrow

Stefanie Tuigan Lozano has a life goal of helping people in anyway she can, especially those in her home community. This year, she made changes in Barrow, Alaska specifically through purple and yellow ribbons of awareness. Last February, she and a few friends had gained awareness of child domestic violence through tying purple ribbons around town. Three months later, she took action and helped a mother find her missing child through online sources, yellow ribbons, and helping with the few different searching strategies. 

The purple ribbons were tied around town on car antennas, around street lights and stop signs with the following message attached: “Hope—in memory of the little child who did not make it and the smaller child who survived; the two children who could not speak for themselves.” This led to more help from the community to make more ribbons for jackets, backpacks, hoods, and caps. In addition, people were making baby t-shirts, hoodies, and other clothing. As a result from Lozano’s purple ribbon awareness, the North Slope Borough began “A Walk for Hope” which happens every so often. 

After hearing cries over the VHF last May, Lozano first took action for helping a mother find her child by announcing and asking for help on Facebook. She then made a Facebook page which helped collect approximately 200 volunteers across the state of Alaska begin the search. For 41 days in 16-hour increments, Lozano and the search team continuously gained awareness through ground and air searches, yellow ribbons tied around town, and stopping by houses. 

“I still get thanked for my efforts but I couldn’t have done it without the people who pushed me to get the right answer and to speak for the ones who could not. I did this all to show the younger generation that by stepping up and filling the role of someone you thought you couldn’t be.” Lozano says. “It may be small or big, you have to always remember if you do the right thing, the younger generation will catch on and say someday they want to be just like you.”

Aside from volunteering and serving as a board member for the Barrow Volunteer Search and Rescue, Lozano also works two jobs. She is an office specialist with the North Slope Borough Public Works, Shop II and is a Com Center Operator with the Umiaq. She controls the incoming calls and maintains safety from all locations of vessels, boats, and sea activity in the Barrow area. Lozano also achieved many Accounting and Business Management certificates. She graduated from Barrow High School in 2003 and has since then attended Ilisagvik College and Charter College. 

Lozano is a half Inupiaq, half Mexican who was born and raised in Barrow. She is the daughter of Marcy Patkotak and Bob Lozano. Her grandparents are Simeon Nasuk, late Susan Ahkivgak-Patkotak along with late pete and Isabel Lozano. She is the oldest of five siblings and the aunt of three. Lozano has recently been deeply affected by one of rural Alaska’s biggest battles. She has lost multiple close relatives this year but chooses to keep her head up. 

“That week has been the hardest of all my times but after it all calmed down, I have chosen to stand stronger than before. Even though you go through such hardships, you can be strong in everything you do, if not stronger than you were before.” Lozano advises. 

Lozano mentions that her home community constantly inspires her to push towards her goals by helping, encouraging, and always standing by her. She also mentions her Aatataa (great uncle) and Aaka (grandma) as the biggest influences in her life. She listens to their advice in her everyday duties. Malik Ahkivgak and Susan Ahkivgak Patkotak would tell her to never give up and to always pray. 
“If you pray with your heart, see it with your heart, and hear it with your ears, you will eventually get what you have been asking for.” They would tell her. 

Lozano was the first woman to be nominated for the woman of the week. Janelle Schaeffer of Kotzebue e-mailed us to give a brief review of Lozano. She told us the short stories of Lozano’s efforts to helping the community and shares that she loves every aspect of her native culture, sets a great example for her young peers, and has played part in six different whaling crews. 

“There’s so many great qualities about her, it’s hard to remember them all” Schaeffer stated in the e-mail. 

MISS Quote of the Week
“You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream; you’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself.” -Diana Ross, American singer and actress 

MISS Song of the Week
Firework - Katy Perry

-Jacqui Lambert

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