Atlantic Gymnastics’ Adaptive Gymnastics program member, Tori, will be taking the stage mid-January in the NH Miss Amazing Pageant in Meredith, NH.
According to MISS AMAZING the Pageant is “designed for girls and women with disabilities to have equal opportunities to reach their fullest potential. Girls and women with disabilities have every ability to accomplish amazing things. Miss Amazing shines a spotlight on those accomplishments.” Pageant participants follow an application and one-one-one interview process where they demonstrate communication skills used to bring success in relationships and future jobs. Then individuals prepare a speech of self-introduction where they highlight their strengths and ambitions to be presented to the pageant audience. The frills of the event happen through the evening wear presentation, where self-confidence is communicated nonverbally through body language. The fun breaks loose with the non-scored optional talent showcase, where individuals choose their own talent to perform – from singing to poetry reading, instrument play, hula hooping and beyond.
Before any of these steps are taken, to be considered as a participant, girls and women ages 5 and older must have an IEP, IPP, 504 plan, SSI, or a physician’s document proving disability.
Tori fits the bill. She was diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality called 16p12.2 Deletion Syndrome. Tori has developmental delays, vision and hearing impairments, seizures, and behavioral challenges. But nothing slows her down! Tori needs constant physical movement, but struggles to make choices that will keep her body safe.
Her home life started just as challenged as her physical life. She entered foster care as a young child, when her young birth mother was unable to care for her. Finding the right foster home was tough because of her significant needs, but with the help of Spaulding Youth Center, DCYF was able to place her with a loving family for about a year. When it was time for Tori to find a new family, Michelle was called upon. She and Tori met and instantly fell in love! After a time of being blessed as her foster family, they got the news that they could be Tori’s forever family! Adoption day came 4 years ago, on 12/19/12!
Spawned by the loving care of her new family, Tori started gymnastics at Atlantic Gymnastics in March of 2013. One of Atlantic’s Coaches, Cori, was a friend from school, and she was confident that gymnastics would be just the right fit for Tori! Without a doubt, she was right! The gym was a safe place for Tori to jump, flip, hang, and swing to get her physical stimulation needs met. Tori had some medical issues and needed to take time off from gymnastics. When she was ready to return in January 2016, she was sad that the instructor she had worked with, Jackie had moved to California, but was glad to meet the new Adaptive Gymnastics Program instructor, Miss Alana Banana!
For the talent section of the Miss Amazing Pageant, Tori will be performing a balance beam routine created by and worked on with Miss Alana. The routine will showcase a combination of balance, spins, jumps, handstands, and concentration on a 4-inch wide, 8 foot long pink beam.
In addition to the pageant, Tori plans on participating in the Atlantic Olympics, a special event hosted in May for registered participants of Portsmouth’s Atlantic Gymnastics Training Center. In addition to balance beam, Tori will be performing routines on the vault, bars, and floor.