Special Olympics Florida

Jordan Austin

Unified Partner, SO College – University of Miami, Miami-Dade County

Special Olympics is important to me as it provides me with an opportunity to get away from school, work, clinical rotations and all of the other stresses in life. For me, it is a way to not only give back to those in my community but also doing it through sports, which have played an integral part of my life up to this point.

Here at the University of Miami, I look forward to our Tuesday practices as it allows for me to engage with other members of the University of Miami community who love to give back as well but also develop the relationships made with the athlete’s week in and week out. I came in with the intentions of changing lives only to come out with my life changed the most. 

I got involved with Special Olympics back when I was a young kid. My dad was a referee at the time and was asked to help out at the Special Olympics State Games in Wildwood, NJ. We ended up making a family trip out of it and both my mom and brother would volunteer at the event while my dad refereed some of the games.

The first few years I went in and was really only focused on getting community service hours, but after years of continuously going I realized that it was more than getting community service hours. It was about giving back to those in the community regardless of circumstance and ability.

One of the great quotes I still live by is, “Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress.” This definitely resonated to me when I was younger and when I got to that time where I saw Special Olympics as more than a community service hours event it made me appreciate Special Olympics so much more.