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Ms. Wheelchair
Kansas 2013
Ms. Wheelchair
Kansas 2012
Ms. Wheelchair
Kansas 2011
Ms. Wheelchair
Kansas 2009
Ms. Wheelchair
Kansas 2008
Ms. Wheelchair
Kansas 2007
Ms. Wheelchair
Kansas 2006

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2013

Angel Shaver with crown and sash

Angel Shaver

Angel Shaver
WaKeeney, KS

Mrs. Angel Shaver, 38, does not let her disability define who she is and what she can do. Although she has been through many challenges in life, including receiving nerve damage and a traumatic brain injury in 2004, Angel has not let this stop her from living a full life. She is a wife, mother of two children, and proudly owns the label of “domestic engineer,” also known as a stay at home mom. Angel, who lives in Wakeeney, is not just a stay at home mom, though. She currently works as the Secretary at the WaKeeney Church of God. She is also a bookkeeper and piano teacher. Angel also volunteers as a LeadHer Coordinator, Mom’s in Prayer Leader, and a member of the PTO. She has also been an America Heritage Girls Trailblazer Troop Leader, taught Sunday school and a children’s program at her church, and helped with the music program at her church. Angel was also a Ms. Wheelchair Kansas contestant in 2006 and 2007. When not taking care of her family, working, or volunteering, Angel actively maintains two internet blogs: one about living her life as a person with a disability and the other about her faith journey. Angel holds a Master of Science degree in Family Therapy from Friends University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Science and Bible/Theology from Mid-America Bible College in Oklahoma. She is an avid reader, loves to travel, and has a goal to, one day, visit all 50 states (she has already visited 35!). Angel describes herself as a Christian, wife, mom, smart, and determined. She hopes to empower and support other women, as well as serve as a role model, encouraging people to not let challenges prevent them from reaching their goals and accomplishing much in life!

Platform:
"Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude"

Read the 2013 Titleholder press release

Visit the Latest Event page for more information about the 2013 Ms. Wheelchair Kansas event.

To view Angel's journey as MWKS, read her blog!

 

 

 

Angel in the Media

"Miss. Wheelchair Kansas Crowned in Topeka"
WIBW Channel 13, March 17, 2013

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Angel's Journey

Angel with other titleholdersAngel with the whole group of titleholders
Angel with her husband EricAngel with MWA 2014, Jennifer Adams

Angel posing on the red carpet

Angel introducing herself at the crowning

Angel Represents Kansas at
Ms. Wheelchair America

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas, Angel Shaver, traveled to the Ms. Wheelchair America competition in July where she competed for the national title. Angel joined with 26 other women vying for the opportunity to represent women who are wheelchair mobile in the United States. This annual event was hosted in Houston, Texas and was held July 15 - 21 at the Hyatt Regency Houston Hotel.

Jennifer Adams, from Washington, was selected as the 2014 Ms. Wheelchair America.

Congrats to Angel, Jennifer, and all of the state titleholders!

Read the full press release

View Angel's blog to see more photos and read about her experience


Angel holding plaque after crowning

Emily, Jessica, and Angel on stage after crowning

Angel speaking after being crowned

MWKS titleholders and committee pose for a group photo

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2013 Selected at Annual Crowning Ceremony

The 2013 Ms. Wheelchair Kansas was recently crowned during a weekend ceremony held March 17, 2013, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka. Angel Shaver of WaKeeney received her crown after participating in four judging sessions, as well as many other activities, throughout the three-day event held March 15-17. The weekend concluded with a formal crowning, where Angel was chosen as the new titleholder and fellow contestant Jessica Soderlund, of Oakley, was chosen as the runner-up.

The crowning ceremony, held on Sunday, was attended by more than 70 family, friends, and community members. The event consisted of platform speeches by each of the two contestants, as well as two on-stage questions. The audience enjoyed a slide show of memories from the weekend; a keynote speech from Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma 2012, Jesa Lopez; and a farewell from the 2012 MWKS titleholder, Emily Evans of Bucklin.

Read the full press release

Learn more about our new titleholder

View pictures of this year's event

Follow Angel's journey through her blog!

 


 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2012
Ms. Wheelchair America Mind, Body, and Spirit Award Winner

Emily Evans with crown and sash

Emily Evans during MWKS weekend

Emily Evans
Bucklin, KS

Miss. Emily Evans, 25, has a goal to live each day to the fullest, with no regrets, ultimately making an impact on the world. She has already made a great impact in her own community. Emily currently lives in her hometown of Bucklin, where she works as the Human Resources Director of Bucklin Tractor and Implement. She has worked for this company for the past eight years, but is also involved in her local community in other ways. Emily loves sports, and uses this passion to impact the community of Bucklin by serving as a volunteer assistant volleyball coach at the high school. She also serves as a board member at the Bucklin Community Teen Center. Emily, who became quadriplegic in 2006, has not let her disability stop her from leading a full life. She earned an Associates of Accounting from Pratt Community College in 2006, as well as a Bachelors of Management from Fort Hays State University in 2009. She is also the recipient of the 2010 Mike Utley Scholarship. In addition to her job and coaching position, Emily enjoys a variety of other activities. She loves spending time with her friends and family, and even credits her family as her biggest support system. Emily also enjoys reading, listening to music, and spending time outdoors. She loves to travel, where she can see new places, eat new food, and sightsee. Emily describes herself as strong, intelligent, caring, courageous, and blessed. She strives to be a role model for youth by encouraging them to be their own self and live the life that they want despite any circumstances. Each day, Emily lives by her favorite quote, "With God, all things are possible."

Platform:
"Definitions: Empowering Youth to Define Themselves"

Read the 2012 Titleholder press release

Visit the Latest Event page for more information about the 2012 Ms. Wheelchair Kansas event.

To view Emily's journey as MWKS, read her blog!

 

BTI logo Emily's year-long travels were sponsored by Bucklin Tractor and Implement. Thank you BTI for your support!

 

Emily in the Media

"Proud: It's how they roll"
Providence Journal, August 2012

"Ms. Wheelchair Kansas' throne is in Bucklin"
KWCH News, May 6, 2012

"Miss. Wheelchair Kansas Named"
WIBW Channel 13, March 11, 2012

Featured on Kansas First News in Topeka after Crowning
March 11, 2012

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Emily's Journey

2013 Contestants with family and friends

Emily Represents Kansas at
Ms. Wheelchair America,
Receives "Mind, Body, and Spirit Award"

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas, Emily Evans, recently traveled to the national Ms. Wheelchair America competition where she received the Mind, Body, and Spirit Award. Emily joined with 27 other women vying for the opportunity to represent women who are wheelchair mobile in the United States. This annual event was hosted in Providence, Rhode Island and was held August 6 - 12 at the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel.

Mariah Kilbourne, from Texas, was selected as the 2013 Ms. Wheelchair America.

Congrats to Emily, Mariah, and all of the state titleholders!

Read the full press release

View Emily's blog to see more photos and read about her experience

View the MWA 2013 Facebook page

Read an article in the Providence Journal
 

Emily with Mind, Body, Spirit Award
Emily with her parents on speech night
Emily with other contestants before crowning
Emily with her team during mentoring eventEmily with Ms. Kentucky, Ms. Virginia, and Ms. DC

Emily Evans

2012 MWKS Contestants

Emily giving speech after being crowned

Six MWKS former titleholders with '12 titleholder

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2012 Selected at Annual Crowning Ceremony

The 2012 Ms. Wheelchair Kansas was recently crowned during a weekend ceremony held March 11, 2012, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka. Emily Evans of Bucklin received her crown after participating in four judging sessions, as well as many other activities, throughout the three-day event held March 9-11. The weekend concluded with a formal crowning, where Emily was chosen as the new titleholder and fellow contestants Shanell Nieves of Leavenworth and Jessica Soderlund of Oakley were recognized for their accomplishments.

The crowning ceremony, held on Sunday, was attended by more than 90 family, friends, and community members. The event consisted of platform speeches by each of the three contestants, as well as two on-stage questions. The audience enjoyed a slide show of memories from the weekend; a keynote speech from Angel Shaver, MWKS supporter and former contestant; and a farewell from the 2011 MWKS titleholder, Jennifer Kreutzer of Wichita.

Read the full press release

View pictures of the 2012 event

Follow Emily's journey through her blog!

 


 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2011
Ms. Wheelchair America Nicki Ard Achievement Award Winner

Jenny with crown and sash

Jenny

Jennifer Kreutzer
Wichita, KS

Mrs. Jennifer Kreutzer, 31, has achieved much in her life, but one of her greatest accomplishments is her role as a wife and mother. Jenny, who lives in Wichita, married her high school sweetheart, and they are the proud parents of two girls, Kelsie, 8, and Karlie, 5. In addition to her family duties, Jenny has worked for Koch Industries, Inc. for the past 11 years. She is currently the HR Compliance Specialist and recently accomplished her goal of becoming a Senior Professional in Human Resources. Jenny sustained a spinal cord injury in 1996 when she was still in high school. She then attended Fort Hays State University and graduated in 2000 with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Leadership Studies. Jenny describes herself as driven, hard working, passionate, caring, and dedicated. One of Jenny's biggest goals is to be a good role model for the disability community. She feels that, by being active in her community, she is showing all people that having a disability does not have to limit a person. Jenny is very active in her local community. One of her most important roles is that of a Girl Scout Troop Leader, of which she has served for the past four years. Jenny is also very active with Wheelchair Sports, Inc., and enjoys participating in activities such as wheelchair tennis and skiing. She has also been involved with Challenge Aspen, the Sunrise Rotary Club, Independent Living Resource Center, and Big Brothers Big Sisters in Wichita. Jenny has been the recipient of the Peter John Loux Award and the Outstanding Girl Scout Leader Award. She plans to stay active in the future and continue to live life to the fullest!

Platform:
"Leading by Example- Mom on a Mission"

Read the 2011 Titleholder press release

Visit the Latest Event page for more information.

To learn more about Jenny's year, visit Facebook, search for Jenny Kreutzer and add her as a friend!

 

Jenny in the Media

"A Legacy of Leadership: Why Volunteering Matters"
Traditions and Trailblazing- Girl Scouts of KS Heartland magazine, January 2012

"Living Life Large"
Women's Focus Wichita, August 2011

"Despite spinal cord injury, a life of accomplishments and joy"
Will2Walk.com, May 16, 2011

Featured on KSNT Channel 27 in Topeka after Crowning
April 23, 2011

Featured interview on Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland website
May 2011

"Contest aims to dispel stereotypes of women with disabilities"
Wichita Eagle, June 27, 2011

"Hays native takes national stage"
Hays Daily News, July 8, 2011

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Jenny's Journey

Jenny to Take Part in Annual Thunder vs. Plunder Game!

Our very own Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2011, Jenny Kreutzer, will take part in the upcoming Thunder vs. Plunder wheelchair floor hockey game! The game will be on Tuesday, February 21 in Wichita. Come on out to support Wheelchair Sports, Inc!

View the flyer


Jenny with Ms. North Carolina and Ms. MaineAll titleholders pose on a bridge in front of the hotel
Jenny with her Nicki Ard Award certificate
Jenny with her husband on speech night
Jenny Represents Kansas at
Ms. Wheelchair America,
Receives Nicki Ard Achievement Award

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas, Jenny Kreutzer, recently traveled to the national Ms. Wheelchair America competition where she received the Nicki Ard Achievement Award. Jenny joined with 25 other women vying for the opportunity to represent women who are wheelchair mobile in the United States. This annual event was hosted in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was held August 1 - 7 at the Amway Grand Hotel.

Josie Badger, from Pennsylvania, was selected as the 2012 Ms. Wheelchair America.

Congrats to Jenny, Josie, and all of the state titleholders!

Read the full press release

View the 2012 MWA Blog

View photos from MWA 2012

 


Ms. Wheelchair Kansas Featured in
Women's Focus Magazine

Jenny was recently on the cover of, and featured in, the Women's Focus Wichita magazine! Check out the article by clicking on the link below. Thanks to Women's Focus for helping us celebrate our fantastic titleholder!

Read the article


Jenny Prepares for Nationals,
Featured in Three New Articles

Our current titleholder, Jenny Kreutzer, is preparing to represent Kansas at the Ms. Wheelchair America competition! She will travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan on August 1-7 and will vie for the national title alongside 26 other titleholders from across the country. Jenny will participate in interview sessions, educational breakout sessions, group activities, a speech night, and a formal crowning ceremony. Good luck Jenny!!

Learn more about Ms. Wheelchair America

View the 2012 Event Blog

Jenny is working to raise funds to help her pay for her flight and other travel expenses. If you would like to make a donation, contact Carrie, State Coordinator, at mswheelchairkansas@yahoo.com.

Jenny has been all over the media! She has recently been featured in three different articles. Read the articles below:

Featured interview on Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland website
May 2011

"Contest aims to dispel stereotypes of women with disabilities"
Wichita Eagle, June 27, 2011

"Hays native takes national stage"
Hays Daily News, July 8, 2011


Jennifer Kreutzer

MWKS '11 Contestants- Jenny and Emily

Contestants, reigning titleholder, and escorts on stage

Seven MWKS titleholders

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2011 Selected at Annual Crowning Ceremony

The 2011 Ms. Wheelchair Kansas was recently crowned during a weekend ceremony held April 23, 2011, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka. Jennifer Kreutzer of Wichita received her crown after participating in four judging sessions, as well as many other activities, throughout the two-day event held April 22 and 23. The weekend concluded with a formal crowning, where Jenny was chosen as the new titleholder and fellow contestant Emily McCulley, also of Wichita, was chosen as the runner-up.

The crowning ceremony, held on Saturday, was attended by more than 50 family, friends, and community members. The event consisted of platform speeches by each of the two contestants, as well as two on-stage questions. The audience enjoyed a slide show of memories from the weekend; a presentation of MWKS former titleholders; a keynote speech from Christine Kramer of the Rebekah Assembly of Kansas; as well as a farewell from the 2010 MWKS titleholder, Tiffany Nickel of Wichita.

Read the full press release

Learn more about our 2011 titleholder

View pictures of the 2011 event

MEDIA ALERT! See clips of Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2011 on KSNT.com  VIEW THE CLIP

Read article on Jenny: "Despite spinal cord injury, a life of accomplishments and joy"

 


 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2010
Ms. Wheelchair America 2nd Runner-Up
and Nicki Ard Achievement Award Winner

Formal portrait of Tiffany after crowning

Tiffany during MWKS '10

Tiffany Nickel
Wichita, KS

Miss. Tiffany Nickel, 36, has a passion for educating others about the abilities of people with disabilities. She does this by demonstrating her own abilities through her job and volunteer activities. Tiffany obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Emporia State University in 1995. She currently lives in Wichita and is an inter-related intermediate special education teacher in Wichita Public Schools, where she has taught for the past ten years. She is also the Executive Director of the Kansas Disability Coalition, Inc. Tiffany has a large interest in wheelchair sports and was the President of Wheelchair Sports, Inc. for four years. She currently serves as a board member. She loves experiencing a variety of sports including snow skiing, water skiing, and horseback riding. In her free time, Tiffany is also a recycling coordinator, Circle of Friends coordinator, and serves on the Wichita/Sedgwick County Access Advisory Board, as well as a variety of spinal cord injury support groups. Tiffany became quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury in 1996. She feels that she has been on a life journey since then, and her determination has been recognized in the community. Tiffany has been the recipient of a variety of awards including the REACH Award, "Can Do" Volunteer Spirit Award, Excellence in Public Service Award, and many more. She describes herself as caring, honest, generous, fun, and assertive. Tiffany is an advocate for equality of all people. She believes that anything is possible as long as you have a support system, as well as a great set of tires and a charged battery!

Platform: "Capabilities of Those with Disabilities and Their Right to Unconditional Access"

Read the 2010 Titleholder press release

Visit the Latest Event page for more information.


Tiffany in the Media

 

Wichita woman claims 2010 Ms. Wheelchair Kansas title
KTKA 49 News, March 14, 2010

Featured on KSNT Channel 27 in Topeka after Crowning
March 14, 2010

Ms. Wheelchair: Bel Aire teacher recognized for overcoming adversity
The Bel Aire Breeze, May 2010

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas to be in fair parade
Oakley Graphic, July 14, 2010

Featured on WIBW Channel 13 News
August 4, 2010

ESU grad competes for Ms. Wheelchair America title
Hornet News Update (Emporia State Alumni Association), August 2010

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Tiffany's Journey

Tiffany Named 2nd Runner-Up
at National Competition!

Our very own Tiffany Nickel, Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2010, was recently named the 2nd Runner-Up and Nicki Ard Achievement Award winner in the national Ms. Wheelchair America competition. Tiffany joined with 27 other women vying for the opportunity to represent women who are wheelchair mobile in the United States. This annual event was hosted in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was held August 9 - 15 at the Amway Grand. After an intense week of competition, networking, and empowerment, Tiffany came away with many great memories, the title of 2nd Runner-Up in the nation, and the honor of being named the Nicki Ard Achievement Award winner.

CONGRATS TO TIFFANY! WE ARE VERY PROUD!

Read the full press release

To view the Ms. Wheelchair America 2011 blog, visit http://mwaweb2011.wordpress.com.

To watch the speech night and crowning ceremony, visit http://allamericanrollmodels.com/tv.


Tiffany serves as guest on WIBW 13 News at 4:00 pm

Tiffany was recently interviewed by Melissa Brunner on WIBW 13 News.
Hear about her titleholder experience and details about
the national competition.

VIEW THE CLIP


Portrait of Tiffany after crowning

2010 Contestants

Five MWKS Titleholders

MWKS participants in a circle

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2010 Selected at Annual Crowning Ceremony

The 2010 Ms. Wheelchair Kansas was recently crowned during a weekend ceremony held March 14, 2010, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka. Tiffany Nickel of Wichita received her crown after participating in four judging sessions, as well as many other activities, throughout the three-day event held March 12-14. The weekend concluded with a formal crowning, where Tiffany was chosen as the new titleholder, and fellow contestants Sharon Joseph of Topeka and Brooke Ziegler of Wichita were recognized for their accomplishments.

The crowning ceremony, held on Sunday, was attended by more than 80 family, friends, and community members. The event consisted of platform speeches by each of the three contestants, as well as two on-stage questions. The audience enjoyed a slide show of memories from the weekend; a music performance from Whyte Lyte; a keynote speech from Julia Thomas of the KS Youth Empowerment Academy; as well as a farewell from the 2009 MWKS titleholder, Marie Clement of Mayetta.

Read the full press release

View pictures of 2010 event

MEDIA ALERT! See clips of Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2010 on KTKA.com  VIEW THE CLIP

 


 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2009

Formal portrait of Marie Clement

Portrait of Marie at 2010 event

Marie Clement
Mayetta, KS

Mrs. Marie Clement, 49, has dedicated most of her life to giving back to other people. She cites family and friend recognitions as some of her greatest accomplishments. Marie is married and has three children. She currently spends her time taking care of her 12 year old son, as well as her infant grand nephew. Marie has a love for children and enjoys cooking and cleaning for her family. She has lived in the state of Kansas for the past six years and currently resides in Mayetta, where she and her family are members of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Marie, who is quadriplegic, has a passion for increasing public accessibility. She enjoys trying out new restaurants and specialty shops, but has found barriers to accessibility, especially in rural areas. Her goal is to educate others about improving the lives of people with disabilities. She would like to help other people with disabilities broaden their horizons and not feel limited by barriers. In the long term, she would like to develop a tool to review accessibility of local stores and restaurants. Outside of taking care of her family, Marie loves gardening and planting flowers. She is also an artist and works on projects such as beading, crocheting, creating stained glass art, decoupage, and more. Marie describes herself as funny, honest, loving, trustworthy, and challenge-ready.

MWKS '09 Platform: "Greater Mobility through Accessibility."

Read the 2009 Titleholder press release

Visit the Latest Event page for more information. 


Marie in the Media

 

Marie Clement Wins Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2009
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Online, March 15, 2009

Featured on WIBW Channel 13 in Topeka after Crowning
March 15, 2009

Featured on KTKA 49 News in Topeka after Crowning
March 15, 2009

Featured on KSNT Channel 27 in Topeka after Crowning
March 15, 2009

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Marie's Journey

Marie poses with other state titleholders and MWA 2009Marie in front of Mt. RushmoreMarie with other state titleholders and MWA 2009

Marie Represents Kansas at
Ms. Wheelchair America Competition

The state of Kansas was represented for the sixth time in a row at the national Ms. Wheelchair America competition. Our current titleholder, Marie Clement, recently traveled to South Dakota to compete for the national title. She joined with 29 other women vying for the opportunity to represent women who are wheelchair mobile in the United States. The 2009 event was hosted in Rapid City, South Dakota and was held August 24 - 30 at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn. By week's end, Marie came away with many great memories and new friendships with titleholders across the nation.

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas would like to congratulate Erika Bogen of North Carolina for receiving the title of Ms. Wheelchair America!

Read the press release

Learn more about the new Ms. Wheelchair America


Portrait of Marie after crowning

Marie reacts to her win as Cherie looks on

Three MWKS contestants- Cherie, Marie, Ashley

Group photo of all six MWKS titleholders

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2009 Selected at Annual Crowning Ceremony

The 2009 Ms. Wheelchair Kansas was recently crowned during a weekend ceremony held March 15, 2009, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka. Marie Clement of Mayetta received her crown after participating in four judging sessions, as well as many other activities, throughout the three-day event held March 13-15. The weekend concluded with a formal crowning, where Marie was chosen as the new titleholder, and fellow contestants Cherie Armstrong of Edwardsville and Ashley Wagner of Manhattan were recognized for their accomplishments.

The crowning ceremony, held on Sunday, was attended by more than 80 family, friends, and community members. The event consisted of platform speeches by each of the three contestants, as well as two on-stage questions. The audience enjoyed a slide show of memories from the weekend; two dance performances from Groovability; a keynote speech from advocate and speaker Donna Janes; as well as a farewell from the 2008 MWKS titleholder, Amanda Steiner of Lawrence and Marion.

Read the full press release

Take an inside look at the 2009 event

MEDIA ALERT! See clips of Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2009 on KTKA.com  VIEW THE CLIP

 


 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2008
Ms. Wheelchair America Best Platform Award

Portrait of Amanda at '09 crowning

Casual portrait of Amanda

Amanda Steiner
Lawrence, KS

Miss. Amanda Steiner, 23, enjoys living life to the fullest. Amanda became a quadriplegic in February of 1999, but has not let that stop her from taking full advantage of what life has to offer. She attended the University of Kansas and obtained her Bachelor of General Studies in Psychology. She is currently working on her Master's degree in Industrial Psychology at Emporia State University. Over the years, she has had a strong involvement in the community. Amanda participated in the Key Club, Youth Mentoring, Youth Court, the Youth Team, and was active in Forensics, which gave her experience in public speaking. She has been a Vacation Bible School volunteer and a Girl Scout Day Camp volunteer. Amanda was also selected to attend the 2002 Kansas Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities. She has received academic awards and a Lionís Club Community Service Award, as well as many scholarships. Amanda is originally from Marion, KS, but currently lives in Lawrence. Her current goal is to work toward complete independence. She hopes to, someday, be doing a job that she loves and that makes her happy. For right now, she is taking full advantage of opportunities that come her way. Amanda enjoys being a very active person and trying new adventures. She loves to travel to new places. She also began scuba diving last year and loves how peaceful it is underwater. Amanda is the oldest of three children. Her family is very important to her. Amanda describes herself as honest, shy, loud, talkative, and caring.

MWKS '08 Platform: "Taking Away Independence: The Trouble with Accessible Parking."

Read the 2008 Titleholder press release

Visit the Latest Event page for more information.


Amanda in the Media

 

Featured on 6 News Lawrence after National Competition
July 2008

Featured on KSNT Channel 27 in Topeka for Day at the Capitol
March 27, 2008

Steiner to be an advocate as new Ms. Wheelchair
Hillsboro Free Press, March 19, 2008

Featured in Marion County Record Newspaper
March 2008

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas to speak out on disabilities
Lawrence Journal World, March 13, 2008

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas hopes to educate others about disabilities
6 News Lawrence, March 11, 2008

Featured on WIBW Channel 13 in Topeka after Crowning
March 9, 2008

Featured on 49 News in Topeka after Crowning
March 9, 2008

Featured on KSNT Channel 27 in Topeka after Crowning
March 9, 2008

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Amanda's Journey

 Amanda poses in from of Bon Voyage sign

Amanda poses with Ms. Wheelchair Arizona and MWA 08 Amanda speaks about her platform during speech night

Amanda Attends National Competition
and Wins Best Platform Award

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2008, Amanda Steiner, attended Ms. Wheelchair America in July and was awarded the Best Platform Award. Amanda travelled to Rockville, MD on July 21-27, 2008 to compete for the national title alongside 25 other women from across the United States. After a full week of competition, networking, and empowerment, Amanda came away with great memories and the honor of receiving a new award that recognizes the state titleholder with the most exceptional platform speech. Congratulations to Amanda!

The new Ms. Wheelchair America is Michelle Colvard of Texas. Learn more about Michelle on the national website.

Read the full press release

Visit Amanda's page on the Ms. Wheelchair America website

Learn more about our current titleholder & view upcoming appearances

Photos above by John McCosh

 

Amanda Begins Titleholder Journey, Prepares for Nationals

As Amanda's year as Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2008 takes off, she is preparing for a very busy summer. Amanda will be making various appearances in the coming weeks. To see her current schedule, visit the Current Titleholder page. To schedule a presentation or appearance from Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2008, contact the state coordinator.

Amanda is also currently preparing to represent Kansas at the national competition that will be held in July. Ms. Wheelchair America  will be held on July 21-27, 2008 at the Hilton in Rockville, Maryland. Amanda is currently raising funds for her entry fee and other travel expenses. She is seeking support from the community.
To make a donation, contact the state coordinator.

 


 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2007
Ms. Wheelchair America Bouquet Award

Portrait of Lorraine at '08 Crowning

Portrait of Lorraine at '07 Crowning

Lorraine Cannistra
Lawrence, KS

Ms. Lorraine Cannistra, 38, has aspirations to empower people with disabilities from all walks of life. Lorraine, who has had Cerebral Palsy since birth, puts her empowerment in action by leading various seminars on topics ranging from “Living with a Disability: From a Patient’s Perspective” given to hospital staff to “Multilevel Accessibility: A Ramp Isn’t Always Enough” to staff at domestic violence shelters. She also has given seminars about ways to empower people with disabilities to various other audiences. She considers herself to be an advocate on many levels and has had experience with giving testimony at the Capital and meeting with legislators concerning various issues. Lorraine holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and a Bachelor’s degree in English, both from Emporia State University. She also has certification in core mediation from the Kansas Supreme Court and serves as a volunteer mediator at the Johnson County Courthouse. Lorraine has previously worked as an Advocate and Independent Living Skills Trainer at Independence, Inc. in Lawrence, where she currently resides. She has been a volunteer peer counselor and Access Task Force member at Independence, Inc., and is also a part of the Working Healthy Advisory Council. Lorraine sees herself as funny, determined, creative, compassionate, and insightful. She is involved with her church and has entered some poem contests for Christian writers. She has also participated in sports and was even a member of national team selected to represent the US in the International Games for the Disabled held in Belgium in 1986. Lorraine recently had to let go of her service dog, Marshall, whom she had for eight years, but says that he challenged her and helped her to grow into the person that she is today.

MWKS '07 Platform: "Use Your Power!"

Read the 2007 Titleholder press release

Visit the Latest Event page for more information.


Lorraine in the Media

 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas reflects on her reign
Lawrence Journal World, January 13, 2008

Titleholder planning to roll for fundraiser: Ms. Wheelchair Kansas looking to compete in national competition
Lawrence Journal World, May 14, 2007

Exhibition aims to inform public about people with disabilities
Kansas State Collegian, March 29, 2007

Miss. Wheelchair Kansas
WIBW Channel 13 News, March 2007

Local woman named Ms. Wheelchair Kansas
Lawrence Journal World, March 12, 2007

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Lorraine's Journey

Lorraine Attends National Competition,
Receives Special Bouquet Award

Lorraine recently attended the Ms. Wheelchair America event where she competed for the national title and received a special Bouquet Award. She joined with approximately 26 other women vying for the opportunity to represent women who are wheelchair mobile in the United States. This annual event was hosted in Bethesda, Maryland and was held July 23 – July 29 at the Doubletree Hotel. After an intense week of competition, networking, and empowerment, Lorraine came away with great memories and the honor of receiving a special award created just for her. Congrats to Lorraine!

Read the full press release

Learn more about Ms. Wheelchair America 2008

 


 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2006
Ms. Wheelchair America 2nd Runner-Up

Portrait of Ranita at '07 crowning

Formal portrait of Ranita

Ranita Wilks
Lawrence, KS

Ms. Ranita Wilks, 38, has a passion for promoting career development among all people with disabilities of all ages. Ranita currently works for Independence, Inc. in Lawrence as an Independent Living Skills and Peer Counseling Specialist. She serves as the coordinator for Disability Mentoring Day in Lawrence and has been on the state organizing committee for National Disability Mentoring Day in Kansas since 2002. Ranita is currently a commissioner to the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns, serves as an agency representative to the Transition Council of Douglas and Jefferson Counties, and is a member of the Access Task Force, a community disability rights advocacy group. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas. While at KU, Ranita participated in the LeaderShape Institute for Student Leaders, was awarded the Journalism Media Management Award for Outstanding Senior in Broadcast Media Management, and won the Kansas Most Inspirational Student Award. Ranita, who sustained a spinal cord injury at the age of four, currently serves as a volunteer peer counselor for people with disabilities at Independence, Inc. and also serves as a volunteer youth mentor and reading buddy at Kennedy Elementary in Lawrence. She describes herself as positive, a progressive thinker, independent, determined, and responsible. Ranita is a huge fan of the artist, Prince, and collects anything associated with the artist. Her philosophy is, “If you never try, you’ll never know what could have been.”

MWKS '06 Platform: "Career Development Opportunities for People with Disabilities "

Read the 2006 Titleholder press release

Visit the 2006 MWKS Event page for more information.


Ranita in the Media

 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas Named 2nd Runner Up in National Competition
Revolutions Newsletter for Center for Independent Living of Southwest Kansas, December 2006

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas ranks nationally
Lawrence Journal World, August 18, 2006

Ms. Wheelchair America: Lawrence resident to compete nationally
Lawrence Journal World , July 26, 2006

Advocate’s work nets pageant victory
Lawrence Journal World, March 6, 2006

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Ranita's Journey

Ranita speaking into a microphone
Ranita posing with her 2nd runner up award and flowers Ranita with three other titleholders

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas named
2nd Runner-Up in National Competition

Ranita Wilks, Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2006, was recently named the 2nd Runner-Up in the national Ms. Wheelchair America competition. Ranita joined with 27 other “Women of Strength” vying for the opportunity to represent women who are wheelchair mobile in the United States. This annual event was hosted in Little Rock, Arkansas and was held July 31 – August 6 at the Peabody Hotel. After an intense week of competition, networking, and empowerment, Wilks came away with great memories and the title of 2nd Runner-Up in the nation. Autumn Grant of Massachusetts was named the new Ms. Wheelchair America.

Read the full press release

View photos from Ranita's travels to Little Rock Coming Soon!

Learn more about the 2006 Ms. Wheelchair America


Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2006 Begins Her Journey in Local Communities,
Starts Preparation For Nationals

Ranita started her year off on a great start by attending local community events around the state. She could be seen at the following events:

- Independent Living Day at the Capital- Topeka
- Movie premiere for CSA: Conferderate States of America- Lawrence
- St. Patrick's Day Parade- Lawrence (MEDIA! Click here to view live coverage. Ranita is on the second video screen, parade entry #36.)
- Assistive Technology for Kansans Expo- Topeka
- Transition Resource Expo- Lawrence
- Speaker at Lawrence High School- Lawrence
- Big Tent Coalition Rally- Topeka
- Arthritis Walk 2006- Topeka

Ranita is also currently preparing for the national Ms. Wheelchair America competition to be held in August in Little Rock, Arkansas. To attend the event, Ranita must raise an entry fee and other travel costs. She is currently looking for donors to help cover her national costs. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Carrie at the number or email above.


 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2005

portrait of JoAnne with sash and crown at 06 event

JoAnne portrait at '07 event

JoAnne Fluke
Ottawa, KS

Ms. JoAnne Fluke, 29, has a dream to encourage others to go and find their purpose in life. She shares this dream with others through her platform and ministry of "Reaching Up, Reaching Out," which will motivate and help equip people to reach their fullest potential through spiritual growth and higher self-esteem. JoAnne, who has had Caudal Regression since birth, has found her purpose in life by speaking to schools and churches throughout Kansas. Upon receiving her title of Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2005, JoAnne was able to expand her advocacy and awareness efforts of the disability community in the state. She spread her passion for life while attending various events including advocacy rallies and community events, as well as visiting local churches, schools, and hospitals. She also has participated in mission trips, including two to Ghana, Africa through a program called Joni and Friends "Wh! eels for the World" and "Mephibosheth." JoAnne attended Baker University from 1994 to 2000 where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion with two emphases in Sociology and Music. JoAnne currently lives in Ottawa, KS and works as a customer service representative at Christian Book and Gift in Olathe. She also recently became a Mary Kay consultant. She enjoys singing and dancing, and has even sung the National Anthem at a Chief's football game. JoAnne describes herself as caring, optimistic, compassionate, energetic, and ambitious.

MWKS '05 Platform: "Reaching Up, Reaching Out"

Read the 2005 Titleholder press release

Visit the 2005 MWKS Event page for more information.


JoAnne in the Media

 

Showing the courage to run: Ottawa woman to compete for Kansas wheelchair title
Ottawa Herald, March 2005

Spark of Inspiration: The new Ms. Wheelchair Kansas wants the state to see fireworks
Page 1    Page 2
Ottawa Herald, March 2005

Royally grateful
Ottawa Herald, July 2005

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JoAnne's Journey


MWA 06 logo


JoAnne (right), MWKS '05, poses with the newly crowned Ms. Wheelchair America, Kristen Conners, from Rhode Island.


JoAnne, MWKS '05, connects with the audience during speech night. JoAnne was judged on her two minute speech that focused on her personal platform of "Reaching Up, Reaching Out."

MWKS Returns From National Competition Proud to Have Represented the State of Kansas

JoAnne Fluke, Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2005, traveled to Albany , New York on July 19-24 to compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America . JoAnne spent the week interacting with titleholders from 27 different states, all vying for the national title and the opportunity to represent women who are wheelchair mobile in the United States. Kristen Conners, an independent delegate from Rhode Island, received the title of Ms. Wheelchair America 2006 (see photo at left), while Sarah Whitlock, Ms. Wheelchair Texas, was named as the first runner-up.

JoAnne represented Kansas with a positive attitude and a smile on her face. She succesfully shared her platform of "Reaching Up, Reaching Out" to an audience of about 100 during the speech night. JoAnne truly enjoyed her experience at Ms. Wheelchair America.

Read the pre-nationals press release

Learn more about the 2006 Ms. Wheelchair America


MWKS '05 Attends Local Community Events

JoAnne, Aimee from MO, Carrie JoAnne speaking at Big Tent Rally JoAnne handing plaque to KU players
Ms. Wheelchair Missouri
(l-r) JoAnne Fluke, MWKS 05; Aimee Wehmeier, MWMO 05; and Carrie Greenwood, MWKS State Coordinator pose for a picture before the Ms. Wheelchair MO crowning luncheon.
Big Tent Coalition Rally
JoAnne, MWKS 05, speaks to the crowd about her platform "Reaching Up, Reaching Out" at the annual Big Tent Coalition Rally at the Capitol.
KU Barnstorming Game
The KU senior basketball players accept a plaque from JoAnne (far left), MWKS 05, at the KU Barnstorming Game at Osage City High School.

JoAnne was definitely busy in early 2005 by attending various events throughout the state. She spoke to students at Eudora Elementary School, helped out with Disability Mentoring Day in Ottawa, and participated on a disability awareness panel at the United Way. She also was a guest at the Ms. Wheelchair Missouri crowning luncheon in April of 2005(see photo).

JoAnne had a busy day on April 27, 2005 when she attended two big events in local communities. She was one of the main speakers at the Big Tent Coalition Rally in Topeka, alongside MWKS '05 Runner-Up, Stacy Ritt (see photo). JoAnne also attended a KU Barnstorming basketball game in Osage City, where she presented a plaque to the KU players (see photo).

Read JoAnne's comments to 13 NEWS (Big Tent Rally)

View a collage of JoAnne's other appearances as titleholder

 


 

Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2004

Portrait of Carrie taken at national competition

Carrie portrait at '07 event

Carrie Greenwood
Topeka, KS

Ms. Carrie Greenwood started the Ms. Wheelchair Kansas program in 2004. She served as the titleholder in 2004; attended the national competition in Richmond, VA; and is currently state coordinator of the Ms. Wheelchair Kansas program. Carrie is a graduate of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas where she received her Associates Degree in Design Technology in December of 2003. She currently works for the Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy in Topeka, KS, which is a new non-profit organization that focuses on empowerment programs for youth with disabilities in Kansas. She serves as the Outreach Coordinator, where her duties include conducting community presentations on various topics, networking with other organizations, and creating the graphic design materials for the organization. She also helps to coordinate the programs within KYEA, including the Youth Leadership Forum. Since attending the KSYLF in 2001 as a delegate, Carrie has emerged as a youth leader and voice in the disability community of Kansas. She has had the opportunity to attend national and local conferences and speak to over 50 groups about disability awareness and youth empowerment. Carrie enjoys sharing her story and has a passion for promoting diversity, empowerment, and education amongst ALL people, especially youth and women with disabilities.

Carrie states, "I consider myself to be a very motivated, optimistic, determined person despite of, and because of, my disability. I have had a physical disability, called Arthrogryposis, since birth. Over the years, I have come to see my disability as a positive aspect of who I am. I would not be me without my disability. I want to show the world that my disability is just an aspect of who I am. It does not define me. I happen to be disabled, but I also happen to love contemporary Christian music, going shopping, reading a good book, watching KU basketball, oil painting, and collecting angels."

MWKS '04 Platform: Empowerment of Youth with Disabilities

Read about Carrie's experience at the national competition

 

Media Coverage of MWKS 2004

Shattering Stereotypes: Topeka woman is educating others about people with disabilities through Ms. Wheelchair America competition
Topeka Capital Journal, July 2004

Topekan returns from competition with confidence
Topeka Capital Journal, August 8, 2004

Design Technology alumna coordinating first Ms. Wheelchair Kansas competition
Washburn University Career Lines, Fall 2004

Miss Wheelchair Kansas visits youth
Cutting Edge section of Leavenworth Times, December 2004

Kansas still has pioneers
Washburn University Alumni Magazine, Winter 2004

Carrie featured on Good Kids segment
WIBW- Channel 13, February 22, 2005

 

Last Updated: 3-23-14
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