Male Athlete of the Month
Bill Stabler is the best teammate an athlete could ask for. He first began participating in SOCO programs back in 2005. Initially, he was participating in softball, basketball and swimming. It wasn’t until 2014 that he found his real passion- flag football. When he’s not spending time with his family, you can find Bill on the flag football field playing with his friends. He loves working with new players and encourages them to never give up! He said whenever he sees a friend who is tired or frustrated he tells them “keep going, don’t stop. Push through!” Bill is an amazing friend and the best kind of teammate, a guy who motivates his fellow athletes to do their very best. This is why Bill Stabler is our Male Athlete of the Month. Congratulations Bill!
Female Athlete of the Month
Sandy Pedersen is an amazing and extremely dedicated athlete. Since 2007, Sandy has been competing with Special Olympics Colorado in her favorite sport, bowling! Sandy says she loves bowling because at both practice and at the tournaments, she is able to spend time and enjoy this sport with many of her close friends. When asked what makes her such an amazing athlete, Sandy’s coach Neal Waite stated, “Sandy is a great athlete because, every attempt she makes at throwing the ball down the lane appears so effortless, but in reality is made with immense calculation. Sandy has incredible skills in this sport that do not go unnoticed by other athletes, and when Sandy notices that another athlete might be feeling less confident or distressed by his or her own performance, she is very sensitive in providing positive feedback and reassurance that the next frame will be better.” He continued by sharing, “Sandy is a very thoughtful and caring person and demonstrates this genuine compassion at bowling with every interaction she has with her friends and teammates.” It’s not just about the comradery though. “Sandy’s involvement in Special Olympics has allowed her to feel more independent,” says Coach Neal. “Longmont’s bowling program is offered year-round, and as it is the only sport that Sandy participates in, every week she looks forward to coming to the bowling alley. Sandy likes to do activities away from home, and bowling allows her to do just that. Sandy says that every week she starts her first game with the goal to ‘do better’ than the previous week, and that participating in Special Olympics pushes her to improve her game.”
Over the past ten years Sandy has continued to improve her skills and has grown into such a confident and compassionate young lady. We are extremely proud of Sandy and can’t wait to see what she is able to accomplish in her next ten years! Congrats Sandy!
Volunteer of the Month
Amanda is a wonderful example of a talented and dedicated youth volunteer! Amanda has been involved with Special Olympics Colorado for the past four years and has helped out with six different sports. She currently volunteers as a Unified Sports® Partner for her favorite sport, cycling! First starting out to gain community service hours required by her school, Amanda quickly inspired by the Special Olympics Colorado athletes and continued volunteering well beyond her required hours. Amanda has made a lot of friends through volunteering with SOCO and says her involvement has made her a more understanding person overall. Amanda encourages all persons interested in getting involved to try a few sports, find the one that you like best, and come out with a positive attitude and a smile every time (even in the bad weather!) In one word Amanda describes Special Olympics Colorado as supportive, and we thank Amanda for her constant support as a volunteer!
Coach of the Month
Rachelle Rice, first year head coach of the Cherry Creek AlleyGators bowling team, has stepped in and taken an already successful team to new heights in 2016. Rachelle has been a proud supporter of Special Olympics Colorado as her son Kian has competed as an athlete with SOCO for the past five years. One of the sports that Kian participates in is bowling and when his team’s head coach stepped down after the 2015 season, Rachelle could no longer sit on the sidelines. She decided to get involved and take over the head coaching duties. With over 75 athletes on the team, it would be no easy task to step in and lead the team. However, Rachelle was up for the challenge and she lead the team through the 2016 season with excellence. The team performed well at the regional and state competitions, representing the Cherry Creek program with pride. On top of performing well, the team had a lot of fun this year. Rachelle helped organize a Halloween bowling party, a bowl-a-thon fundraiser, and an end of the year dance for the team. Rachelle’s athletes loved having her as a coach this year. She was always on top of paperwork ensuring that the athletes not only had fun, but they were safe and cared for as well. On behalf of the Cherry Creek AlleyGators, and all of us in the SOCO family, we want to thank Rachelle for her dedication and support in 2016 and beyond.
The Wright Family
Athena, Chris, Dayton, Parker and Corinne
Family of the Month
The Wright Family has been involved with Special Olympics Colorado in the Western Region for over 14 years! There is not much the Wrights haven’t done, as they have been involved as family members, coaches, unified partners, fundraisers, medical team, area management team, and volunteered with the Law Enforcement Torch Run, as Chris is a Colorado Law Enforcement Officer. Chris even had the honor of carrying the torch in Korea prior to the World Games! Their involvement with SOCO has raised their family’s overall awareness and taught them how to work with all different types of disabilities. Athena encourages any interested family to get involved with SOCO, as it provides a safe place for individuals with intellectual disabilities to grow and thrive while providing supportive relationships for family members. SOCO has become an outlet for the Wright family and a place in which they can trust, and they are thankful for the experiences SOCO has brought them. The Wright family goes above and beyond as a Special Olympics Colorado family, their hearts are truly in the program!
Congratulations to our January partner of the month, TD Ameritrade! TD Ameritrade has served as the presenting sponsor of our State Fall Classic for several years. In addition to sponsoring the event they also provided more than XX volunteers to help out at the event. The staff at TD Ameritrade have shown a tremendous commitment to immersing themselves in the culture of Special Olympics- their team pulled a plane at our Plane Pull, volunteered at our Winter Games, and hosted a lunch and learn at their office so the staff could learn more about Special Olympics Colorado and the athletes we serve. Thank you, TD Ameritrade, for the spirit your company brings to Special Olympics Colorado.
Rangeview High School
School of the Month
In 2015, Rangeview High School spearheaded the collaboration with Special Olympics Colorado to develop Aurora Public School’s (APS) first ever Unified Sports Program. This program provides an opportunity for students with and without disabilities to participate in sports together. Rangeview is proud to have started this movement in Aurora Public Schools because it brings to light a type of social inclusion that is often overlooked, and it focuses on students’ abilities, not their disabilities. On the court, everyone is an athlete, and players are able to take pride in their physical skills and feel part of the school community in ways they haven’t before.
Rangeview students have been so thrilled to participate in unified flag football, basketball, and soccer this past year. They wear their uniforms with pride, look forward to coming to school and seeing their new friends in the halls, and feel resounding support from their staff and peers (especially varsity teams). Students who have participated in these Unified teams have learned lessons about equity, sportsmanship, and resiliency on and off the field. The Unified Sports program has been invaluable for our school community, and it is growing rapidly. This winter, Rangeview is excited to play the other high schools in APS who have started Unified Basketball Teams. They are excited to get their first ever APS Unified Basketball season underway! Rangeview has been a model Unified School for APS and competes in SOCO regional and state competitions in addition to their regular season games.