2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington

2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington
Nicole Martini

Where do I even begin? I just arrived home from the most eventful, life changing week of my life! Last week I spent 6 days in Houston Texas competing for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America. The 6 days were packed with fun, workshops, making new friends and learning new tools and resources for disability advocacy. Some of the highlights of the trip for me were our day trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, dinner and dancing at a country BBQ, and all of the amazing workshop speakers that poured out knowledge and inspiration for all of us state title holders to be better advocates for people with disabilities. I had the privileged of hearing the stories of strong, independent women who use wheelchairs for mobility. I made friendships that will last a lifetime!! The last 2 days of the pageant consisted of our platform speeches and the crowning ceremony. I shared my platform of “Inclusion Revolution.” “Everyone has gifts and talents regardless of the body we have been given to live in this earth and when we take our talents out into the world, it breaks down the walls of discrimination.” During the crowning ceremony they announced the top 5. I was in the top 5 but my name was called last, so I was sweatin’ it. After the top 5 were announced each one of us gave our speeches again and were asked 2 questions by the judges one serious and one funny. My first question regarded healthcare for people with disabilities and my second question was “Tell us a funny story about being in a wheelchair.” I told the hilarious story of when I ran over a little boy on the first day of kindergarten. The audience was laughing. Then….. drum roll, was the announcement of fourth runner up, then 3rd runner up, then second runner up, and first runner up, which as the lovely Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, then the defining moment, Ms. Wheelchair America is….. Ms. Washington!!! My heart lept with joy!!! I was given flowers, and my crown and sash. I was filled with joy and awe and my eyes filled with tears. I cannot wait to go into the U.S. this year and share my story and help the american public see that having a disability is cool!! My goal and mission is to visit all 50 states and make the Ms. Wheelchair America Program a household name :) My fundraising efforts start immediately. If you are inspired to give to my travel fund. Please click on the donation button next to my blog. This is a safe Paypal link. Thank you all so much for your support and love!!! My life is forever changed!

Off to the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant

video
Check out Jenny's thoughts as she is arriving to the airport to go to the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant to represent the state of Washington!

Preschools

I have had the opportunity to make 2 preschool appearances as Ms. Wheelchair Washington in the past 2 weeks. This was a great way to kick off “Ride the Wave” for the summer!!! The kids were a joy as always!!! I shared my story of my dreams come true in a preschool version, and encourage them that they too have dreams that can come true. I have each child share their dream, which for preschoolers can be both inspiring and comical. After they share their dreams I tell them they can help each others dreams come true through good words and kind actions towards one another. Then I have them tell me ways they can help each other’s dreams come true. My interactive demonstration for them was a puppet show, with Gerriss the Giraffe and a cardboard wave and a surfboard. The Giraffe shared his dream of being a surfer and rode the wave of his dreams. The kids love Gerriss! He inspires them to “riding the wave of happiness too their dreams.” Then I sang my original song “Ride the Wave” with a dance and hand motions. Not only is it fun to see the kids react too the presentation, but the teachers get really into it too. I had one teacher tell me he loved my lesson plan because he is a surfer and he knows the exhilaration of riding a wave. I am looking forward to more opportunities to speak too kids this summer!!

Asia Pacific Cultural Center

I had the amazing privilege of being a guest speaker for the Commencement Luncheon at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma. The Luncheon was held to celebrate the graduation of youth involved at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center. The Cultural Center provides mentorship and celebration of the youth’s Asian heritage. The vision is to keep the cultural traditions alive in the youth’s lives. The Luncheon was a time of reflection and celebration. One of the groups performed an original New Zealand tribal warfare dance. It was powerful!!! Many of the youth shared their stories and gratitude for the mentorship they received throughout their schooling that enabled them to successfully graduate. They were also awarded certificates of graduation. I felt so blessed that my story got to be a part of their sending off. They truly are the promised leaders of tomorrow. If you want to hear my speech please watch the video below!