"Hooked" on Special Olympics
November 20, 2010
Jay Glicksman’s tenure as a Special Olympics volunteer and coach spans two decades. He is also a loyal donor to the organization. Through his involvement and support, Jay has transformed the lives of many athletes, yet he insists that it is his own life that has been enriched.
At the World Games in Dublin, Jay was a volunteer and a local liaison for a Unified Basketball team from China. The team took home gold.
Jay Glicksman has traveled all over the world and lived in many U.S. cities since leaving Canada as a young man, but the one constant in his life has been Special Olympics. He was first introduced to Special Olympics through volunteering. “Right away I was hooked,” he says, describing what would become a 20-year-long passion.
Jay’s dedication to causes he cares about was formed early when he helped run a high school environmental group. That commitment to helping others deepened after he began to see the positive impact time and resources could have on an individual with intellectual disabilities. Since that realization, he has supported many causes and, in the case of Special Olympics, Jay has touched the lives of hundreds of Special Olympics athletes, volunteering over the years in each community he has lived.
That transformation is profound. “I see many differences: athletes who start as loners but end up with great friends; athletes who gain a sense of self and what they are capable of, athletes gaining confidence, maturity, and life skills.”
“There are so many good organizations doing good works but Special Olympics is unique. My time with the organization has made me a better person and, in turn, we all make the world better for each other.” He hopes that more supporters attend a training or a competition to see the difference Special Olympics makes with their support. “My wish is for every person to have an experience with our athletes and have their lives enriched as mine has been.”
A Coach and a Fan
Jay recalls coaching a gymnast who was very shy and never jumped more than an inch from the springboard on the level 1 vault during practice, despite encouragement to jump higher. He concluded that athlete was too afraid of falling and getting hurt to jump higher. Then, at the competition something happened. Jay saw the athlete jump a good two to three feet in the air and stuck his landing. The athlete took home gold. “When the event was over and I was congratulating him he still did not show any emotion -- but I was gushing!”
“I love sports, teaching, and coaching and being involved with Special Olympics keeps me smiling and having fun!” he adds. That helps to explain the 16 different sports he’s certified to coach and his extensive Special Olympics games management expertise. In fact, Jay has been such a part of Special Olympics that at one time he was even thought of as an “ex officio” staff member.
As for his steadfast financial support of Special Olympics, Jay says it’s obvious: it takes money to make any organization run well, even if it has committed volunteers. He explains that "being heavily involved, I see where the money goes and that it is put to good use."
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