Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey - Press Release

Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2008 Crowned
Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant to Be Held in Rockville, MD in July

Ewing, NJ- Cynthia DeSouza,of Newark,was crowned Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2008 this past Saturday. She competed against several accomplished women with disabilities from around New Jersey. The state pageant, which hasn’t been held in several years, took place at The College of New Jersey in Ewing.

“I am proud that I was able to reinstate the Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey Pageant in the Garden State. I believe that women who use wheelchairs ought to be recognized for their accomplishments instead of overlooked—something that happens far too often in society today. And I think Cynthia will do an excellent job of continuing my efforts to create disability awareness throughout New Jersey,” said Kelly Rouba, state pageant coordinator and Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey 2007. Rouba was selected directly by the Ms. Wheelchair America Board of Directors to serve as the previous titleholder.

DeSouza, 56, has a motor neuron disease and has been a tireless advocate for people with all types of disabilities for many years. “As Ms. Wheelchair New Jersey, I will let the general public know of the many barriers that face those citizens of the community that are wheelchair users and I will advocate for solutions to remove them. I also want to let people know that we don’t stop living when life brings age and/or change to our physical conditions,” DeSouza said.

DeSouza is the owner of IHS Technology & Development and is president/founder of IHS Community Development Corp. She is also president of the NJ Coalition of Women with Disabilities (Essex County Chapter); a member of the Board of Directors for DIAL Center for Independent Living; director of Community Outreach Programs and a trustee for Peoples Baptist Church; coordinator of the Angel Tree Prison Fellowship Program; a member of NJ Minorities with Disabilities, Inc. (Essex County Chapter); and executive director of Rebuilding Together.

As the new titleholder, DeSouza is expected to make monthly appearances. She will also compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America 2009 at the national pageant held in Rockville, Maryland from July 21 – 27, 2008. The Ms. Wheelchair America Program, Inc. was established in 1972 and aims to provide an opportunity for women of achievement who use wheelchairs to successfully educate and advocate for all individuals with disabilities.

Jacqueline Jackson, a disability consultant from South Plainfield, was selected at 1st runner up. Jackson has multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, and fibromyalgia. She is a member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Board of Trustees and Government Relations Committee. Jackson also serves a member of the Alliance for Disabled in Action’s Board of Trustees.

For more information, visit To set up an interview, contact Kelly Rouba at (609) 586-1566.