At the Special Olympics, individuals partake in one weekend where they are not defined by a diagnosis; the individuals are defined as athletes. No one tells them that they cannot do something, and no one treats them differently just because they have a disability. This is one weekend where they can be unapologetically themselves, without having to worry about outside opinions. The Special Olympics is a place where pride radiates off of every athlete and volunteer’s face, and where happiness fills the air. Every athlete that participates in the event is driven and motivated to show the crowd how hard they have worked to master whichever sport they may be partaking in.
During the event, I had the privilege of medalling many of the athletes. It didn’t matter if they had a fourth place ribbon, or the ultimate gold medal, each one of the finalists was so proud of their accomplishments. The most beautiful thing to see though, was the support from all of the athletes. Every athlete cheered on all the individuals who received a ribbon/medal, even if they had not received one themself. It was inspiring to see the positive sportsmanship from every athlete; it showed me that winning is not always everything, sometimes just having fun and knowing you did your best is enough.
Mentoring individuals with disabilities is something that brings so much joy to my life. Despite the many adversities they have to overcome in their lives, they still remain so positive. I always learn something new every time I work with an individual with special needs. My time with special needs individuals has taught me about the importance of perseverance and positivity. I am looking forward to implementing these values into my life, and continuing to mentor those with disabilities.
Community Service: 1.5 hours