Special Olympics Florida

Amanda Baar

Unified Partner and Coach, Manatee County

Eighteen years ago my youngest brother, Joey, was born with Down syndrome. Even though I am his big sister, he has taught me more in life than I could ever teach him. I have loved watching him play basketball, bowling, and tennis.  He inspired me to become a Special Olympics Florida volunteer two years ago when I moved home from college. I would soon realize how much Special Olympics would positively impact my life.

I am a Unified partner for flag football and soccer, and I coach basketball 3v3.  As a Unified partner and coach, I have loved watching the amazing sportsmanship, athletic ability, and positivity of all the athletes.  I am also the mentor to two individuals on the Athlete Input Council. It has brought me so much joy watching them excel in their leadership positions.

 As a volunteer, I enjoy watching the athletes strengthen their social and athletic skills.  I love to watch their self-confidence grow as they reach their full potential.  My favorite part of volunteering is attending State Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports.  Every year, I look forward to spending a fun-filled weekend with all of our athletes.

The friendships I have made with these athletes, fellow coaches and volunteers have been ones I will forever cherish. My life is so much brighter now that I am a volunteer for Special Olympics Florida. I am looking forward to the endless memories I will make with my teammates and athletes.