Ms. Wheelchair America 2007 --
Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2006
Ms. Ranita Wilks has a
passion for promoting career development among people with disabilities of
all ages. Ranita currently works for Independence, Inc. in Lawrence, as
an Independent Living Skills and Peer Counseling Specialist. She serves as
the coordinator for Disability Mentoring Day in Lawrence and has been on the
state organizing committee for National Disability Mentoring Day in Kansas
since 2002. Ranita is currently a commissioner to the Kansas Commission on
Disability Concerns, serves as an agency representative to the Transition
Council of Douglas and Jefferson Counties, and is a member of the Access
Task Force, a community disability rights advocacy group. She holds a
Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas.
While at KU, Ranita participated in the Leader Shape Institute for Student
Leaders, was awarded the Journalism Media Management Award for Outstanding
Senior in Broadcasts Media Management, and won the Kansas Most Inspirational
Student Award. Ranita, who sustained a spinal cord injury at the age of
four, currently serves as a volunteer peer counselor for people with
disabilities at Independence, Inc. and also serves as a volunteer youth
mentor and reading buddy at Kennedy Elementary in Lawrence. She describes
herself as positive, a progressive thinker, independent, determined, and
responsible. Her philosophy is, "If you never try,
you'll never know what could have been."
Platform: Career Development Opportunities for People with
Ranita Wilks, titleholder for Kansas
Note from the steering
committee of Kansas
"Ranita is a very motivated, classy, strong woman and we
are truly excited to have her as our titleholder.
She started her reign by jumping into her role as Ms.
Wheelchair Kansas. Ranita got a big start and has stayed busy ever since. We
look forward to the great things that she will do throughout our state in
the coming year. Ranita has already made us proud and we wish her luck at
nationals. We know that she will represent Kansas with a positive attitude,
and that her determined spirit will shine for all to see!"