Have you ever been so inspired that it's extremely difficult to articulate how you feel?
Well, I have that. Right now.
On behalf of New Media Strategies, I am assisting the social media efforts for Special Olympics International during the World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. I’m specifically covering the Games from a blog NMS created called Change Thru Sport. It is an amazing experience; my heart has been touched so many times it could last a lifetime. The inspiration these athletes provide and what you witness in how it improves their lives is immeasurable.
I have been involved in Special Olympics in a variety of capacities for nearly 10 years, as my Uncle Mike Shannon is a life-long Special Olympian and is one of my favorite people ever.
NMS has been a long-time supporter of Special Olympics, including recent campaigns to help end the R-word and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver online petitions pledging acts of kindness. But this is my first time working with Special Olympics on this scale. I have worked on the local level but this is a gargantuan event – 7,000 athletes from 180 countries! Let me tell you, I have worked major sporting events in the past, like the Super Bowl, and this is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done in my life. Hands down.
There is a dark cloud above Greece right now in the form of economic turmoil and protests, but the ray of sunshine through the clouds here in Athens is the Special Olympics World Games. The Games not only serve as spirited competition amongst talented athletes, but a vehicle for positive change and unity among all people.
One of the most inspiring individuals I’ve met this week is Loretta Claiborne. If it wasn’t for sports and Special Olympics, Loretta told me she would be in prison. You can check out more of Loretta’s story here. She is just one example of a million great stories of personal triumph through sport. The Special Olympics represent a movement consisting of equality and inclusion for all. Special indeed.
Please check out my blog and spread the word about Special Olympics. For more information also check out the official website and the World Games website. For even more ways to follow the Special Olympics Summer World Games Athens 2011, reference this one sheet: http://j.mp/mSVhSL
You may be asking, how can I get involved? There are so many ways. Tell a friend. Volunteer. Donate a little bit of cash. Every little bit helps this fantastic organization.