Our youth leaders are a pretty inspiring group of people, but they don’t just participate in Special Olympics to look good on college applications, they are truly passionate about creating equality and respect for people with intellectual disabilities. Below is an amazing post from Samantha Huffman, National Youth Activation committee member and junior at Hanover College. Why are you involved with Special Olympics?
You find out that I’m a partner and you mockingly say ‘oh, so you participate in the Special Olympics? Aww good job! Did you get a gold medal?’ Implying that I too have a disability.
You think that you’re clever- making such a funny joke.
But what you don’t see is why I do what I do, what it means to me, and how it’s shaped the person that I am today. And, what you don’t understand is that with these thoughts and comments, you’re offending me and you’re offending everything that I stand for.
Everyone has that one experience that changed the course of his or her life. That one action you took or decision you made; that if you wouldn’t have made it, well, you wouldn’t be the person that you are today.
When I decided to give up one recess in second grade to help students in the Special Education class, I never thought that it was going to be the one decision that changed me. I honestly don’t even know what I thought or why I agreed to give up my recess. But, I do know that it was the best decision of my life.
Think about the idea of being in love:
The uncontrollable smile;
The tightness in your stomach;
The longing when you’re separated;
That’s how I am with Special Olympics.
I’m in love with it.
Think about your life. I can only hope that you have something that makes you feel this way; something you’re completely in love with.
Special Olympics is a program with the most pure human beings. They don’t judge; they’re optimistic; they always cheer you on; and they believe in you. Special Olympics is not only an organization I’m involved with-it’s my family.
So, when you have those thoughts and make those comments about my involvement with Special Olympics, you’re offending my love; you’re offending my family. But, if you were to come to a Special Olympics event, our arms would be wide open, welcoming you into our family. If you were to come to a Special Olympics event, you too could find another love. If you were to come a Special Olympics event, you’re life could be changed. Now, ask yourself- why am I involved with Special Olympics and why aren’t you involved?