Parent Volunteer, Volusia County
Growing up, my father and grandfather taught me to appreciate everyone for who they are and treat them with respect regardless of their background or ability. So, throughout my life, I always believed that everyone has some form of talent and an ability to be successful in their own path.
Soon after my first child was born, I was told he had autistic-like tendencies and that I should not expect much intellectual growth from him. My knowledge of people with disabilities was very limited. So, I did a lot of research. I learned to advocate for my child’s academic and social inclusion.
A few years later, my second son was born and he, too, was diagnosed with autism. During these years, I’ve met many people with disabilities and through them, I have learned how much everyone can contribute in all aspects of life.
As my children were in elementary school, they began to participate in Special Olympics. They amazed me with their athletic skills which made me want to challenge them more. When we moved to Volusia County, my children were in their early teens. I felt it was extremely important for them to be as actively involved as possible so they can create new friendships and be physically active.
Through volunteering with Special Olympics, I have met such an incredible number of amazing people who have shown me such passion and tenacity, which makes me want to give back. I volunteer for four sports and help with as many fundraisers as I can. Not only have my children formed new friendships, I have created a lasting bond with these athletes, coaches and other volunteers. I am so honored to be a part of their lives as they have improved mine by allowing me to see the beauty of breaking barriers.