Updated: May 20, 2021
Congratulations to Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) client, Kennesha Merritt, on being named Queen of Miss Amazing for the Senior Miss division! Miss Amazing provides opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build self-esteem. The areas of participation at a Miss Amazing event are known as “skill areas”. The goal of every skill area is to offer a platform for participants to share their stories and to grow as self-advocates. Per the Miss Amazing website, the participants have a one-on-one conversation with the judges to exercise communication skills that could help them land their dream job or make a new friend. Participants present a passion presentation; a 90 second performance or presentation that showcases the pastime or hobby that they are most passionate about! Participants also give an introduction to share their interests, strengths, and ambitions. This gives participants a chance to exercise public speaking skills and to share their stories with members of the community. Due to COVID-19, Miss Amazing was a virtual event this year. Kennesha performed to “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, a song that her mom loves. A Miss Amazing participant since 2013, Kennesha couldn’t believe it when she was named the Queen and cried when they announced her name!
(Please click the arrow to watch the Miss Amazing 2020 Virtual Presentation. Kennesha is shown as a participant at 7:07. Her performance starts at 42:34 and her announcement is at 56:47.)
Kennesha feels that Miss Amazing has given her the confidence to do anything that she sets her mind to. She greatly admires her mom and hopes to one day be married and have children of her own. Kennesha is part of the TMI Integrated Work program which provides the support necessary to enable individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to participate fully in community life. TMI believes that no person should have to work in a setting which is segregated due to the nature or severity of their disability. Kennesha is currently receiving TMI services remotely, but looks forward to being active in the community again. We are very proud of you, Kennesha! You are a shining star and we know that you have a bright future ahead. Congratulations!
(Thank you to Kennesha's wonderful TMI Job Coach Jessica Rivera for contributing to this story.)
Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.