A Passion for Special Olympics

By: Jennifer Walsh

jen-walsh1My name is Jennifer Walsh and I am the volunteer Local Program Coordinator for the Special Olympics program in Milford. Our local program began 22 years ago with four athletes and one track coach. We have since grown to include over 250 athletes and Unified partners, along with 30 coaches.

Special Olympics has become a passion of mine as I have seen the difference that it makes in our athletes lives as well as their families, other volunteers and anyone involved. My favorite part of being involved is seeing all of the accomplishments the athletes make on and off the field. The reaction from an athlete after they get their first basket, or they finish their first race, or deliver their first speech, is pure joy. The confidence and growth that is exhibited as our athletes become successful is inspiring. These moments keep me going, as running a local program at times can be very challenging.

As a volunteer Local Program Coordinator, I am responsible for fundraising, networking, public relations, providing equipment, facilities, uniforms, transportation, directing, supervising, and coordinating of athletic events, recruiting volunteers, and budgeting. Most days it feels like a juggling act, as I also work full-time as a Special Education Administrator. But all I have to do is attend a practice or event and I am reminded why I do what I do. For me, it’s all about the athletes and their families and giving our athletes the tools they need to succeed in life. By providing opportunities for physical activity, social interaction, independence, and life skills that transcend beyond sports, we are helping our athletes lead successful, confident, rewarding lives.

For me nothing is better than sharing in this success. So no matter what it takes I will do the best I can along with the many volunteers and coaches to keep our Special Olympics program in Milford the best that it can be.

 

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