Special Olympics Pennsylvania head coach Erica Milliron might not be as experienced as other Special Olympics coaches, but she still understands the importance of Special Olympics Unified Sports® and the lessons it teaches students.
Over the next 10 months, NCAA Division III and Special Olympics will celebrate the tenth anniversary of a unique partnership, one that, according to the NCAA Division III website, serves as a "mutual learning experience" and works to "provide a platform for recognition of Special Olympics athletes and Division III student-athletes within their communities."
Programs across the Special Olympics North America Region have started to select and announce the athletes, Unified partners and coaches who will participate in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando June 5-12.
Gazing into the camera with her genuine smile, Amy Wiesenhutter shares the story of how she found her passion for coaching Special Olympics Texas through mentor Patsy Reyna Henry's considerable influence on her life. Volunteering at events throughout her childhood, it was only a matter of time before she turned that passion into a lifelong mission, discovering the "snowball effect" that Special Olympics has on all the people it touches.
For as long as Kayla McKeon can remember, she's been a self-advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, both as an individual and as the first registered lobbyist with Down syndrome. However, none of that would have been possible without the impact of Special Olympics.
Five universities across the state of Kansas participated in the SONA Move Challenge, an 8-week movement challenge to see how many minutes of exercise participants could complete each week, to compensate for the loss of in-person sporting events and social activities.
Special Olympics North Dakota head coach David Schultheis has been around the world with Special Olympics. But even with the worldwide experience, Schultheis says his favorite memory actually happened a little closer to home: at a swim meet in North Carolina.
Under the blistering Florida summer sun, 16-year-old Layla Crehan has been paddling for many hours. But the Special Olympics Florida athlete is exactly where she wants to be: out on the water on her stand up paddleboard. Her stand up paddleboard journey started just a few years ago, without Crehan realizing how quickly she would take to it or just how far it would take her.
As the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games came to an end, all in attendance gathered to celebrate a week of sports and inclusion at the Closing Ceremony. Over the loudspeakers and displayed on the jumbotron, the announcement that the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games would be held in Orlando, FL was made. A sense of excitement could be felt throughout the entire venue.