Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Getting ready

The Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant is only 2 weeks away!!! I can't believe it!! I need an outlet to process my thoughts and get feedback and I am using this blog entry to do so.  The pivotal moment in this competition will be the final speech. Each contestant has 2 1/2 minutes to share their platform speech and convince the judges that they are the best choice to be Ms. Wheelchair America.  Here is a rough draft of my speech...

I was born with partial limbs in 1979, adopted at birth by amazing parents and raised in a small town in Western Washington. My parents had a calling to adopt children with special needs so I had 5 other siblings with special needs.  The laws that required public schools to educate students with disabilities were very fresh when I entered the public school system.  Segregation of mainstream students and disabled students was still occurring, which aggravated my parents to hired a lawyer and fight for my education. They won, which allowed me to receive a mainstream education and be included in the mainstream classes. This was both a privilege and a challenge, as I had the opportunity to get a great education, while also experiencing being teased and bullied, especially in my middle school years.  A gifting for public speaking, and performing was made apparent early on in my childhood. This passion kept me strong throughout  the challenging times of experiencing peer rejection.  When I went off to college at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma Washington,  I had a much different experience.  I was in a very inclusive environment and got involved in campus ministry. I was surrounded by friendship, acceptance, and positivity! These new experiences empowered me and brought to life the destiny inside of me to change the world with the message, that beyond your limitations is fulfillment and life's purpose. The dream of being a public speaker and performer began to become a reality.  Through my twenties I worked and went to school studying Radio Broadcasting, and a Masters in Counseling, preparing for my career. After receiving my Master's degree I had the privilege of working as a career counselor at the Tacoma School of the Arts, which functions in the inclusion model of education.  It is here that the vision of my motivational speaking business was made a reality. In 2011 I started my motivational speaking business SHIFT and began sharing my story in schools.  This March I was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Washington and my platform is "The Power of Words". This opened the door  to many more opportunities to reach youth with a message of acceptance and awareness.  In the three months of my reign I have spoken at over 20 events, schools, daycares, and preschools.  Many efforts are already being made to change the antiquated system of Special Education in American public schools and more needs to be done to have all schools in america switch over to this model of education. As Ms. Wheelchair America my vision would be to take  the message of "The Power of Inclusion" to the schools of America.  I would  advocate to change legislature and the laws surrounding segregation of students with disabilities to be included in mainstream classrooms with their peers. Thank you for your time and consideration!

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