The mission of the Ms. Wheelchair America Program Inc. is to provide an opportunity for women of achievement who utilize wheelchairs to successfully educate and advocate for individuals with disabilities. This is an experience that can help them achieve their goals and show others they are the person they know themselves to be. The purpose of the Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota Pageant is to focus public attention on the abilities and accomplishments since the onset of disability of today’s women.
This is not a “Beauty Contest.” We celebrate each candidate’s self perception of what she can do and how she uses her communication skills to deliver this important message to both disabled and able-bodied groups. Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota is a competition based on advocacy, achievement, communication, and presentation. The most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman is chosen to spend a year representing Minnesotans with disabilities.
The candidates’ objective of the competition is to create a platform they believe in. It could be as simple as “educate others about people with disabilities” or more defined such as “focus on creating more jobs for those with disabilities”. Based off their platform they create a 2-3 minute speech sharing their thoughts and ideas in an organized format. Contestants are judged on their accomplishments, self perception, communication, and projection skills in the following:
- Personal interviews
- Platform speech presentations
- On stage interviews (one final question)
This year was filled with exciting events, changes, and challenges! One of the biggest changes for me is that I now share the position of State Coordinator along with Anne Neuman. I was the first Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota in 2011, and represented our state at nationals in Grand Rapids, Michigan where I received 4th runner-up. I was a dedicated board member for 3 years and decided to “roll-on up” and be a co-coordinator. Combining our skills we truly felt that this has brought our program to the next level.
Thursday, March 26 was the Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota 2015 pageant. This year we had a wonderful turnout with sponsors, donations, attendance along with three inspiring contestants. I’m proud to say we announced the winner, Angelique Lele. The runner-up was Anna Hinkle. We are so pleased to have such a great advocate representing Minnesota at nationals this year in Des Moines, Iowa.
Angelique settled in Minneapolis after moving to the US from Ireland in 1975. She aspires to travel and it’s a big part of her story. She’s also been an actor for most of her life and a former aerialist. Angelique’s goals are to start her own performance company and create change by helping businesses understand how to make a more accessible environment. When asked to describe herself in five words she responded, “generous, warm, open, strong, and Bohemian.”
This beautiful, talented, and intelligent queen will be sharing more about her reign Thursday, April 2 on the Morning Buzz on Fox 9 at 9:15! The platform she will be focusing on throughout the year is “Co-Creating Opportunities”.
Along with our board and supporters, we hope to grow this program and see change in our state! If you are interested in becoming a contestant, donating, or getting involved please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.