Redefining beauty, the Miss Shining Star pageant empowers differently-abled girls and women. The goal is for each girl to have a positive experience, gain confidence, and leave with memories that will last her a lifetime.
When Sofia and her Mom couldn’t find any pageants for girls with special needs, they created one!
After searching for pageants in Washington that suited her needs, Sofia Martinez asked her mom this question. “Why isn’t there a pageant for girls like me?" When they couldn’t find any pageants for girls with special needs, they simply created one! The annual Miss Shining Star pageant is open to differently-abled girls in kindergarten right up to age 30.
The pageant gives the girls confidence and encouragement to tackle whatever they’d like to do next
“My daughter said why can’t we have a pageant for girls like me?” said Rene Martinez, of Prosser, Washington. “And I just looked at her and said: ‘Why can’t we— let’s just do it!’”
Martinez’s daughter Sofia loved pageants, but there weren’t any pageants in Washington area that met her particular needs.
“For example, most pageants have a talent portion, or a portion where someone has to learn a dance routine,” Martinez told KEPRtv . “For someone who’s visually impaired or has problems with memory that’s not possible.”
So Sofia decided to make the impossible a reality for girls just like her. “I made a pageant for girls who have disabilities,” Sofia Martinez said. She proudly named it the Miss Shining Star Pageant. “I chose it because I feel like the girls feel like they’re shining on stage,” she said.
Pageant volunteer and longtime friend, Angela Skeen, said the Miss Shining Star Pageant allows girls from kindergarten to women up to 30 years old, the opportunity of a lifetime to meet new friends, gain life skills, and make lasting memories.
“They wave, smile and the crowd encourages them,” Skeen said. “It gives them confidence and encouragement to tackle whatever they’d like to do next.”
“And that’s what life is all about, making a positive impact,” Martinez added.
What was once the little-pageant-that-could, Skeen said has now tripled in size, getting bigger every year.
“I don’t know if it can get much better because it’s an awesome way to spend a Saturday,” she said.
Mother and daughter Martinez hope the Miss Shining Star Pageant will continue to inspire girls, their families and the community.To learn more about the program or how you can get involved visit their website.
Accessible activities for differently-abled children and young people
It doesn’t have to be a beauty pageant. There are lots of ways to keep differently-abled children and young people active – start off by choosing activities your child is interested in and adapt them. For some children it may be an easy adaption to the games like using larger or softer balls, making the distances or playing times shorter. Check out these suggestions.