Hometown: Falls Church
How many years have you been with Special Olympics, and with which sports?
I have participated in Special Olympics for three years, through the basketball and soccer season. I am also involved in Special Olympics by being a co-chair on the Virginia Youth Leadership committee, as well as a co-president on the Marshall High School committee.
How has Special Olympics changed your life?
Special Olympics has made me feel as though I am part of something monumental and immense. Not only am I part of a loving and open community, I am part of a movement that is greater than myself in which I feel proud to participate in. I realized the importance including others, which can be taken on in any form. This changed my life for the better, as I started focusing more on helping others who have it tougher than I do- ultimately leading me to be more empathetic towards others.
What is the biggest problem/obstacle that you`ve had to overcome?
The biggest challenge I have had to overcome was about my mindset. Playing sports through the COVID pandemic year thrust me back into social life and spending a large portion of my day with my peers. I often felt excluded or awkward, which many times hurt my self confidence and made me feel as though I was lesser than. However, I overcame this by realizing that I should feel my self worth through my own mindset, rather than the validation from others.
How are you preparing for the USA Games? Pla[y]ing basketball as much as I can. Staying in shape by working out.