Beauty pageant gives children with special needs a chance to shine

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Children of all ages were dressed to impress, ready to compete in the I Am Beautiful Pageant.

"It helps with their confidence and lets them know they can be proud of themselves," said Kelli Boyles, Pageant mom.

This weekend's I Am Beautiful Pageant was a first, the pageant is specifically for children with any level of special needs.

Bonnie Williams founded the pageant, her daughter competes locally but Williams believes everyone should have a chance to shine.

"When I saw her out there, I just thought we need to start this because there is not much in the community available for specials needs kids," said Williams.

The I Am Beautiful Pageant gives children with special needs a chance to take center stage rather than watching from the audience.

"Just to see the smile on their faces, they are excited about being dressed up and looking pretty and they're just so excited," said Williams.

While popular television show Toddlers and Tiaras depicts a dramatic picture of the pageant world, the I am Beautiful Pageant is an environment where everyone is a winner.

"Its nothing like that, nothing like that, they're excited, they're not being made to do it, they're wanting to do it," said Williams.

"We're here for the kids not for us or our glory, we are here for the kids and to me they're all beautiful," said Boyles.

Despite the obstacles they face, these children aren't letting anything hold them back.

"They're kids too and they can do what other kids do that don't have a special needs or disabilities," said Boyles.

The pageant was completely sponsored by local businesses and residents so all of the children competed with no fee.

Pageant officials say they plan on having another pageant around Christmas time.

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