Last years winner was Wendy Settles from Alton, Illinois and very active at IMPACT CIL. They are looking for contestants in Illinois.
The Ms. Wheelchair Illinois Organization is currently seeking contestants for the 2012 Ms. Wheelchair Illinois/America Competition, to be held in Tinley Park on Saturday, March 17th. If you are a woman, a U.S. citizen between the ages of 21 and 60, utilize a wheelchair for 100% of your community mobility, and have been a resident of Illinois for at least 6 months, you are eligible to enter. Ms. Wheelchair Illinois is a public speaking role, as she will promote awareness and achievements of Illinois residents living with disabilities. Ms. Wheelchair Illinois, and 30 other state title holders, will go on to compete at the 40th national Ms. Wheelchair America competition, to be held August 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island. For applications and further information or to become an official state sponsor, please contact Pamela LaPorte at http://www.mswheelchairillinois.org.
The Mission of Ms. Wheelchair Illinois/America
The mission of Ms. Wheelchair Illinois/America is to provide an opportunity of achievement for women who happen to be wheelchair users to successfully educate and advocate for the more than 52 million Americans living with disabilities. Unlike traditional beauty pageants, Ms.Wheelchair Illinois/America is not a contest to select the most attractive individual. It is instead a competition based on advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for persons with disabilities. The selected representative must be able to communicate both the needs and the accomplishments of her constituency to the general public, the business community and the legislature.
Duties of Ms. Wheelchair Illinois/America
As Ms. Wheelchair Illinois/America, the titleholder has numerous duties. These include promoting awareness of the need to eliminate architectural and attitudinal barriers and informing the able-bodied public of the achievements of the millions of people with disabilities across the state of Illinois. During her year long reign, she will have the opportunity to travel visiting advocacy groups, making public appearances and conducting radio, print ad, and TV interviews. The commitment and personal example of the titleholder serves to further the mission of Ms.Wheelchair Illinois/America.
History of Ms. Wheelchair America
Organized in 1972 by a Columbus, Ohio physician Dr. Philip K. Wood as a forum for the promotion of the achievements, as well as the needs of, people with mobility impairments, Ms. Wheelchair America recognizes the accomplishments of women who utilize wheelchairs for mobility. The program which consists of the State Coordinators and State Titleholders has grown to include programs in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia. The state programs are staffed and coordinated by volunteers dedicated to increasing public awareness so that all citizens will be afforded the opportunities to lead productive and meaningful lives.
Wendy Settles, Ms. Wheelchair Illinois America 2011
Wendy was born on August 16, 1984 in Alton, Illinois with Cerebral Palsy. She is the oldest of four children, and a graduate of Alton High School. After graduating from high school, Wendy attended Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois where she earned an Associate in Arts. From there, Wendy went on to study at Southern Illinois University Carbondale before transferring to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). She graduated with a B.S. in Mass Communications on May 7th , 2011 from SIUE and married Gregory Settles on May 14th , 2011. Since the age of nineteen, Wendy was a board member at IMPACT CIL; she also worked at IMPACT CIL during her time at SIUE as an Independent Living Specialist in home services. Wendy has also interned at the Edwardsville Intellinger. She looks forward to represent Illinois during her year long reign, so she can be an advocate for disability rights. Disability advocacy has always been a major part of Wendy’s life. Her platform is to focus on the negative portrayal of people with disabilities in the media. Being in the media field, she takes advantage of opportunities to educate her peers and the media on how to more accurately portray people living with disabilities. Wendy also competed against 30 other state titleholders at the national Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant, held in Grand Rapids, MI.
Unlike traditional beauty pageants, Ms. Wheelchair Illinois/America is not a contest to select the most attractive individual. It is instead a competition based on advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for persons with disabilities. The selected representative must be able to communicate both the needs and the accomplishments of her constituency to the general public, the business community and the legislature.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423