And just like that two years flew by. In just a few weeks I’ll be celebrating my two-year anniversary of working for Special Olympics Iowa. Who knew a Millennial could commit to something for that long! Special Olympics has gone from being an organization I knew nothing about to something I consider a part of my very way of life. Being behind the scenes of one of the most recognized nonprofit organizations in the world has taught me things, of course, but it has also made me realize that I’m in love with things I never would have thought I’d love.
When I tell people I work for Special Olympics their response is always a melancholy, “what a wonderful thing you’re doing for those kids.” I hate that. First of all, working for a nonprofit is a lot of damn work. Do not for a second believe that just because I work for a “good cause” that means I talk about unicorns and butterflies all day. As the PR Manager, my job is to tell our athletes’ stories and it is not always easy. I don’t want to tell the story of how people should feel sorry for our athletes. I want to tell the story of damn cool the athletes of Iowa are. Because they are SO cool. Their determination and competitive nature never stops amazing me. Most of them could run circles around me. And that’s why my goal is to always convey the idea that we’re talking about their abilities, not their disabilities.
There’s a lot about Special Olympics people don’t know. And I get it. Before I was involved, I never took the time to even think about what an intellectual disability even was. Now it’s a second language to me. Continue reading