APEX, North Carolina (WTVD) — A 27-year-old Wake County woman with special needs is using her newfound platform as a pageant winner to help children in need.

A sliver of shade provides no relief from the heat the sun puts off against the Office Max Building in Apex on Sunday. Despite the warmth, 27-year-old Samantha Grace Paulson sat outside on a bench, in front of a table piled with school supplies.

On top of her head, Samantha wore a gold and silver crown, her prize as the 2017 Miss BeYoutiful North Carolina. She wore her crown with pride, her sash as well. Samantha is nonverbal autistic, so her mom, Erin, spoke with us on her daughter’s behalf.

Samantha made a bear noise. “That’s how she says ‘I love you!'” Erin explained.

I can’t wait to share Miss Beyoutiful- North Carolina’s story with you tonight on @ABC11_WTVD ! Here’s a sneak peek! pic.twitter.com/Tx8OpcX5Yq

— Julie Wilson (@JulieABC11) July 16, 2017

Samantha will compete in Tennessee for the national title next month. As part of her duty to the crown, Samantha serviced her community by distributing a collection of school supplies to kids in need throughout Wake County.

Read more…