Satisfied New Yr, everybody! Are you able to imagine it’s 2023?! It’s so laborious to consider that 4 years in my position as an SSIGM have already long gone by way of. I will truthfully say those years have definitely been stuffed with journey and the sudden.

Two women stand behind a sign that says #MeetTheDetermined.

Attending the Particular Olympics International Video games Abu Dhabi 2019 was once a fantastic advent to my position as a SSIGM.

2019 started with me finding out my position within the #InclusionRevolution as a Sargent Shriver World World Messenger, SSIGM for brief, as I attended the 2019 International Video games in Abu Dhabi. That is the place we, the athletes, have been known as “The Decided.” Decided? I had by no means been known as made up our minds sooner than. I have been known as gradual, retarded, and silly, however by no means made up our minds. Right here all of us have been, from round all of the international, collected as one, for sports activities and we have been known as The Decided. This broke my center with a type of pleasure I had by no means had. I realized to “#meetthedetermined” on my social media and I may just no longer wait to proportion the message of inclusion with any person who would pay attention. The chance to just do that got here quickly after when the Financial institution of The usa invited me to talk in Boston and organized for me to sing the Nationwide Anthem at Fenway Park for the Boston Purple Sox. Right here I used to be, down at the box, being made up our minds & appearing what inclusion can do, if you’re most effective given the risk.

A woman stands on a baseball field behind a microphone.

Due to Financial institution of The usa, I had the once-in-a-lifetime enjoy of making a song the Nationwide Anthem at Fenway Park!

I used to be taking a look ahead to breezing into 2020 with hopes and desires of any other yr to unfold the message of inclusion. However in 2020 we have been all faced with one thing that will exchange our lives, one thing known as COVID-19. Oh boy that was once difficult. COVID taught us about social distancing, dressed in mask and staying at house, nevertheless it additionally led me to a brand new position known as Zoom. With Zoom I realized a couple of new international and that international attached me farther than I’ve ever been attached sooner than. I joined in Particular Olympics Zoom dances, digital competitions, mindfulness classes and talking engagements with my fellow athletes from the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean. I realized new tactics to stay the message of inclusion alive by way of attending world meetings and talking at the Particular Chronicles podcast concerning the very actual well being wishes that individuals with highbrow disabilities face each day, however particularly all over COVID. I used to be in an international I had by no means been in sooner than, hoping that the messages I used to be sending have been like beacons of sunshine to others, because the COVID darkness attempted to hide us.

Sooner than I knew it, we cautiously crept into 2021. In Hawaii, many COVID restrictions persisted and the want to commute alongside the Zoom freeway was once our most effective approach “off island,” as we are saying. I seized each alternative that this new digital international afforded me to unfold consciousness about Particular Olympics and the athletes that Particular Olympics helps as a result of I sought after to stick attached and expectantly be efficient. What I didn’t know was once that any other lifestyles exchange was once coming my approach. In contrast to COVID, this was once one I may just get interested by. In June, my circle of relatives & I took the massive bounce of religion to start our long run in any other new international known as The Mainland. A hui hou Hawaii, Aloha Texas. Sooner than I even had time to pass over my island lifestyles, Particular Olympics Texas welcomed me with open palms, and Particular Olympics, Inc. introduced me the chance to be a expert with the Organizational Excellence and Well being groups at Particular Olympics, Inc.

A woman wearing a cowboy hat gives a thumbs up to the camera.

In truth, I sailed sooner than I can have imagined instantly into 2022 the place I co-led a marvelous new coaching program known as Unified Management and I labored with the inclusive well being group by means of Zoom, Groups, and lots of different web platforms I’d by no means heard of. In my position with Unified Management, I used to be in a position to make clear what it’s love to be a person with highbrow disabilities that has struggled within the office and shared the significance of getting athletes as leaders. On the identical time, as a Well being Crew member, I gave enter concerning the Well being Messenger program and spoke to outdoor organizations concerning the struggles I’ve confronted being a person with an ‘invisible incapacity.’ 2022 persisted to be a breath of unpolluted air as Particular Olympics athletes collected, in individual, for the primary time since 2019, on the USA Video games in Orlando, FL. As I watched the entire athletes getting into the stadium for the Opening Rite, I may just really feel our mild shining out to the entire international, as though to mention: In combination, We Shine as One! Whilst I used to be there, I knew that with every presentation I gave and with every event the athletes participated in, we have been examples to the sector of the potential of residing unified.

A split screen shows a female Special Olympics athlete standing on stage and speaking into a microphone.

Right through Opening Rite, I were given to introduce Sara Bareilles and dance with Donald Duck!

However 2022 didn’t forestall there. Nope. The 2022 Legislation Enforcement Torch Run World Convention was once held in Texas and as a Particular Olympics Texas athlete chief, I used to be invited to proportion my private tale of ways Particular Olympics has modified my lifestyles. I additionally had the chance to exhibit Unified Management by way of co-leading a consultation at the Unified Management way with fellow athlete chief Bruce Clark and Particular Olympics personnel contributors Brandon Schatsiek and Jereme Ballinger, in addition to co-leading classes on Creation to Legislation Enforcement Servicing The ones with Autism Spectrum Dysfunction, with retired police officer Stan Campbell. Boy what a yr, nevertheless it was once no longer over but! I’d wrap up 2022 spreading the message of the significance of Inclusion by way of doing a social media excursion with Champion Ambassador Pass over The usa Emma Broyles herself! I am hoping that the audiences we reached will take the significance of running towards an inclusive international to center and are available out to peer what Particular Olympics is all about.

Two women sit in chairs, posing for a photo.

Sharing our venture along Pass over The usa Emma Broyles all over a media excursion was once a spotlight of 2022!

So, right here we’re and 2023 has simply begun. I’ve been attempting to consider what message I want to proportion with you as I input my ultimate yr as an SSIGM. However what must I say? What message do I wish to proportion? The ones are the questions which were going via my thoughts since I began scripting this weblog. In truth, this can be a difficult resolution to make. There are such a lot of issues that I wish to say that it’s laborious to position them in combination into one concept, however I will be able to do my absolute best. I believe that if there’s something that I am hoping to proceed to do as an SSIGM, it could be to unfold the message of inclusion by way of sharing my tale and my adventure in Particular Olympics with as many of us as I will. Each and every time I am getting the chance to proportion how Particular Olympics has taken me from the sidelines of lifestyles and put me at the enjoying box, I believe like I’m creating a distinction, no longer simply in my lifestyles however within the lives of all people with highbrow disabilities in 2 tactics: 1) I would like everybody who has ever felt small and undesirable, like I as soon as felt, to understand that they’ve a spot and a objective on this international. It will take some time to seek out it, nevertheless it is available in the market. You simply will have to stay operating the race and no longer lose religion and a couple of) I all the time hope that my tale will encourage exchange in how others see other folks with highbrow disabilities. I am hoping they’re going to see the facility and no longer the incapacity. That’s the exchange we’re striving for in our Inclusion Revolution.

Possibly I will be able to get to do that by way of giving a speech on the 2023 International Video games in Berlin this summer season or by way of giving an Inclusive Well being presentation by means of Zoom to Particular Olympics companions world wide or inside of my position as an Athlete Chief for Particular Olympics Texas by way of making a song on the subsequent Breakfast for Champions. There are such a lot of avenues which can be available in the market to exhibit inclusion that it’s laborious to concentrate on only one. Who is aware of, possibly I will be able to get to do all 3!

All I do know is that that is the start of any other nice journey to face for what I imagine in by way of Going all Inclusive all over 2023!

A Special Olympics athlete dives into a swimming pool.

I’m able to move all on this yr!



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