Make a Connection is an ongoing series about
organizations and programs that can help people with an intellectual and
developmental disability achieve more and thrive in their communities.
For Debbie Zubke, a longtime Operations leader for Bethesda,
Miss Amazing is just that – amazing.
If you haven’t heard of it, Miss Amazing is a nationwide organization
with state chapters that provides girls and young women the opportunity to shine
on stage and beyond. In a pageant environment, they do everything you might
expect – choosing outfits, getting their hair and makeup done, and sharing a
talent. While this could be intimidating for anyone at any age, for someone
with a disability it can be especially challenging. But the rewards of
participating are tremendous.
Debbie’s 15-year-old granddaughter, Aliyah, began in the
program when she was 7, as one of the younger “Rising Stars.” She was once
really shy, but that’s not the case anymore, since she’s had the chance to
dress up and sing her heart out for a cheering crowd.
Being part of Miss Amazing has been great for Aliyah’s
self-esteem, and she has made a lot of new friends. “Everybody’s so proud of
her,” Debbie said.
Throughout the year, Miss Amazing offers educational and
leadership development programs that teach self-advocacy skills and empower young
women to make a difference int heir communities and across the country. Plus,
there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for family and friends. Putting on
programs like this truly takes a village.