Hawk Olympics

As some of you are aware one of the members of our team/my older sister has Down syndrome. When Jessica was in school she attended our local Special Olympics and competed with/against other students with special needs within our own school district as well as the surrounding districts.

This event has always held a special place in not only Jessica’s heart but in our family’s. If there is a Special Olympics local to you, you really should make a point to attend. Even if it’s just for an hour. This event is so fun but also so humbling. There are children and young adults of all ages from different schools and districts competing in various events (such as track, softball throw, long jump, etc) for place ribbons. Even though these young people are competing they are incredibly supportive of one another. You will see students standing on the sidelines cheering on their peers and sometimes kids that they don’t even know. For me as a child I learned a lot by being on the bleachers and cheering my sister on. Watching these kids support each other taught me what being a good and supportive friend was and also taught me about kindness and humbleness.

I attended everyone of Jessica’s Special Olympics since I was very young all the way up to Jessica’s graduation. When Jessica graduated high school she was no longer able to attend the Special Olympics since it is designed for school age children. Numerous years have gone by that we have not been able to watch her participate; as the years have gone by for one reason or another there is no longer a local Special Olympics so our school district and some of the surrounding districts no longer are able to participate.

Within the last few years the Life Skills teacher at our local high school from the Special Olympics back with the “Hawk Olympics” (our mascot is a Hawk) which not only includes the children within the district who have special needs but also the children who are in learning support classes. This event is not just for our district though; she has taken is a step further and included other districts in the day. So essentially; it’s the Special Olympics by a different name.

My younger brother is in learning support classes so he is able to attend the Hawk Olympics as an athlete. This year was Hank’s second year attending and our second year cheering him and his peers on. As the Hawk Olympics approached this year Jessica expressed a desire to want to donate or do something for the students of our school district. We eventually landed on the idea of making the students water bottles. So Jessica and I sat down and worked on making a personalized water bottle for each Hawk student who would be attending. We are both so proud of how they turned out and so proud of our school’s students for all their hard work and team work that they displayed during the Hawk Olympics.

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If you’re interested in learning more about the Special Olympics you can check out their website here.

**Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored nor is it affiliated with the Special Olympics organization or the Hawk Olympics. The views expressed in this post are the views of the author.
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Seeing the Beauty in Others

Hello All!

I just wanted to take a moment to share a story with you guys. Today’s Monday Motivation on our Instagram is:


and I felt that I should share a recent experience that I had.

Recently I took my mother and sister shopping, while at the store I was getting a little irritated with a woman who seemed to be really watching my mother (to the point of downright staring at times). Now, my mother has cerebral palsy and my sister has Down syndrome; I tend to be a little protective of the two of them so admittedly I was thinking pretty negatively about this woman.

When we left the store my sister and I were working on filling up the car with all the groceries we’d purchased when I noticed this same woman helping someone else (someone with a walker) load up their own groceries. As I stood there working on our cart I overheard her telling this woman that she noticed her and my mother in the store and she was watching the two of them to make sure they had the help they needed.

She explained that her brother has MS and just that morning had been rushed to the hospital, she said he wasn’t doing well and she was struggling with it. She went on to explain that she spends most of her time cooking and caring for him not because he can’t do things on his own but because she loves him so much and just wants him to never have to struggle more than he already does. When he was taken to the hospital she offered to come sit with him but he’d told her that with all the help she’s given him he knows she hasn’t had time to do what she needed to do. So instead of coming to sit with him he wanted her to “take the day off” and take care of herself.

So while doing her grocery shopping she saw my mother and this woman and wanted to be sure that they were both cared for; she noticed this woman was completely alone and felt she needed to do something to help. Eventually my mom walked over and these 3 women started talking and sharing stories. I felt pretty bad for immediately assuming the worst in this woman and made sure to thank her for her kindness and tell her that I felt she was an amazingly kind person.

I left there feeling humbled. So this quote reminds me of situations like that. I think we all have those moments where we assume the worst in someone and get angry or irritated right away. Another example I thought of that we all can probably relate to, is when someone pulls out in front of us while driving. They cut us off and we’re angry that they couldn’t wait “5 more seconds!” or that they “clearly weren’t paying attention!”. But sometimes I try to think to myself “maybe they couldn’t see”. Because where we live there are plenty of stop signs that are on an angled road and even if you’re stopped you have inch forward ever so slowly because it’s a complete blind spot.
So, let’s set a goal for this week to erase our negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. It’s tough but it will make our week seem so much less stressful!

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Share with us how you do!