LAWRENCE, Kan (KSNT)  –  The 2017 Miss Wheelchair Kansas was crowned at a ceremony at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Lawrence Sunday afternoon. Not a beauty contact, the program attempts to tear down stereotypes against people with disabilities by empowering women to become spokespeople for the community.

“I want to educate people, not just tell people we are differently-abled, but really educate them about what we can do. Wheelchairs don’t define us. We define it,” said Deb Young, Miss Wheelchair Kansas 2017.

Young will travel to Eerie, Pennsylvania in August to compete against women from across the country for the title of Miss Wheelchair America. She wants to focus on education during her reign and cultivating the next generation of empowered women.

“I hope that this program gets the word out, so that we can find more women who are differently-abled to help support the mission of this program,” said Young.

Part of that next generation of women is Little Miss Wheelchair Kansas 2017 Sophia Beers, Beers was runner-up Little Miss Wheelchair Kansas in 2016.

Along with the ceremony, the program was able to raise over $1,000 through a raffle and silent auction.