Jordan Somer: 2010 Honoree
A charismatic honors student, life-long dancer, and pageant queen, Jordan entered her first pageant when she was nine. Since then she's won a variety of titles, including 2nd place in the teen division of Miss America. But it was after she won a juniors pageant when she was 13 that she decided she could do a lot more with her crown than attend parades.
As a regular volunteer with Special Olympics, Jordan knew how much pride the participants take in receiving their awards -- whether it's 8th place or 1st. And having learned so much about public speaking, poise, confidence, and leadership through her pageant experiences, Jordan knew that she could help give girls with disabilities those same opportunities and that same pride of accomplishment.
So in 2007, at the age of 13, Jordan created Miss Amazing, a pageant for young women with physical and mental disabilities. Participants don't just get to wear their prettiest outfit on stage and practice public speaking and performing; they enjoy a full day of activities -- all organized by Jordan. Since 2007, Miss Amazing has doubled in size to 30 participants, and Jordan is still busy every year personally securing sponsorships and donations, recruiting participants and judges, coordinating volunteers, and even producing the event itself (lights, sound, etc.). Throughout the year she's in touch with participants, helping them work on their interview or pick a gown for the event -- all while competing on her school's dance team and her studio's troupe, dancing 15 hours a week.
Jordan is currently working on establishing a non-profit organization for Miss Amazing, in the hopes of going national. (Click here for more information about Miss Amazing.)