Kurtis Jon Siu is from Hong Kong, China. He graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in graphic design. Currently, he is studying health science at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada, with the goal of becoming a Personal Support Worker. As a Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger, Kurtis uses his artwork to raise awareness about the abilities of his fellow athletes. He also volunteers at various NGOs, supporting clients with intellectual disabilities and advocating for their communities.
Kurtis comes from a family of four, with one older brother who also has intellectual disability. Kurtis credits Special Olympics for building his confidence not only in sports but also in growing his passion for art and supporting people in needed.
Unlike most of his peers with intellectual disabilities, Kurtis had the opportunity to study at a mainstream school with an inclusive setting. Talking about his experience, Kurtis says, “I am fine with who I am and what I can do, and I think we all should be the same.” He has been carrying this attitude with him in his role of regional messenger, athlete leader, and Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger. Now, he is entering the practical for being Personal Support worker.
Kurtis started his journey with Special Olympics when he was just 11 years old. As a competitive figure skater, he competed in the Winter World Games in 2005, 2009, and 2013. In addition, he participated as a golf player in the Summer World Games in 2015. Besides competing in sporting events, Kurtis was also one of the many artists in the 2017 Winter World Games teaching athletes and families drawing in the “art jamming” program.
As a Global Messenger, Kurtis travelled to various colleges and communities worldwide. He used his communication skills and creativity to spread the message and values of the Special Olympics. Through awareness campaigns, messages, artwork, and leadership, he aimed to inspire and motivate others. Kurtis also provided advice to intellectually disabled communities, addressing their current concerns and future risks. He encouraged them to advocate for themselves and stand up for their rights. Additionally, Kurtis served as a member of the Regional Athlete Input Council for Special Olympics East Asia Region. His role was to share his experiences and provide valuable input to support the region's progress and development.
He made a career change from being a graphic designer to becoming a personal support worker when the term ended. Based on his motivation and experiences, he believes it is important to continue working with dedication and staying motivated. Additionally, acquiring theoretical knowledge and understanding can help him become an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
After being SSIGM and Berlin World games, he decided to enroll as a Personal Support Worker in a group home for people with intellectual disabilities. During his practical experience, he faced challenges in providing support to clients with challenging behaviors and unique lifestyles. He found that being flexible, following the care plan, and showing resilience helped him overcome difficulties. He also realized the importance of spreading the message of inclusion and supporting clients with similar disabilities. This boosted his self-esteem and allowed him to become a spokesperson for those individuals, advocating for their rights and inclusion within the community.
Kurtis says, “I am here to learn, to share, and I hope I can bring home more insights of what I can do.”
International Global Messengers
Brina Kei Maxino
Special Olympics Philippines
Special Olympics Illinois, USA
Emanuelle Dutra Fernandes de Souza
Special Olympics Brazil
Hanna Joy Atkinson
Special Olympics Colorado, USA
Special Olympics Pakistan
Special Olympics Great Britain
Kurtis Jon Siu
Special Olympics Hong Kong
Maryam Ahmad Thyab
Special Olympics Kuwait
Special Olympics Zimbabwe
Special Olympics Texas, USA