I heard about this after it happened last year, but it was right after we lost Maggie and I was in too much of a fog to look into it. This year the organizer Michelle Wynn, reached out to me, and I'm so glad she did. Because I know how these things can go, I warned here that some in the disabled community might not like this because it is a segregated event and there are many who simply want disability to be part of the overall tapestry of the world, and not its own category. Her response cemented this for me, She basically said, I know there are people who won't like it, but the girls love it and that's enough for me.
Let's face it, inclusion will take a generation or more to happen. If we wait for that, we lose an entire generation of opportunities to make people happy. There are things we can do now, so let's do them. We can celebrate real beauty and stop ignoring a whole subset of the population, so let's just do it.
The Miss Unlimited organization describe it best on their website www.missunlimited.org which you should check out in full,
All too often we are taught to believe in a false definition of what it means to be beautiful, casting aside the essential values of real beauty; strength, kindness, and confidence, the qualities that make us all radiant.
The Miss Unlimited Pageant was founded on the principles of empowering the true beauty and unlimited potential of girls with special needs. The pageant provides the opportunity for these young girls to be celebrated for all they are inside, and not just defined by what the world sees on the outside.
I love this idea for many reasons. It is a chance for these young women to be pampered and celebrated, something that just doesn't happen often enough to girls with special needs - or to any of us. On a separate point Michelle Wynn is a teacher at St. Ignatius High School and the event will take place at Sacred Heart High School thus giving the Catholic school community a much needed entry into the world of special needs. Catholic schools and private schools in general have very limited ability (or interest) in providing special education, therefore depriving themselves and their students of a complete understanding of the world of special needs individuals.
I could list many other reasons, but let's just cut to number 1 - Maggie would have LOVED it. Man oh man, she would have been there front and center having the time of her life. There was nothing better than prom day for her. She loved getting dressed up and heading out for the night. This would have left that in the dust. As Ms Wynn says, that's reason enough for me.
Check out the website and think out getting involved. If you know young women who might be interested, help them fill out an application. If you can donate or volunteer, please do so. It will be a fun day and a chance to make a big difference in the lives of some truly beautiful young women.