Special Olympics teaches…

CEO CornerSeveral months ago I was talking with a parent of a Special Olympics athlete.  I asked the Dad how Special Olympics had impacted his family.  His response was, “Special Olympics has made it okay for people to look at people with disabilities”.  Immediately I knew what he meant.  Many of us were raised not to stare at people with disabilities.  Special Olympics made it okay to look, and made it okay to engage persons with disabilities in conversation and to have them as friends.  If you have a child with a disability, if you are a volunteer, what has Special Olympics taught you?

– Pat Carpenter Bourgeois, President and CEO of Special Olympics Louisiana

Finding the Words

We recently came across an article in the Huffington Post, titled: Finding The Words To Talk About Disability

Some of the quotes that stood out the most were, “…just because I have a daughter with a disability doesn’t mean that I know how to talk about disabilities with my children.” and “Our particularities were different, but I came to understand that we all have limitations and places of vulnerability and need, and we all have possibilities for joy and relationships and self-giving.” Read the entire article

It is so true that people who have never been exposed to someone with special needs have so many questions in the beginning. But before they know it, they realized how many new things they learn not only about human beings but about differences rather than limitations.

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Changing Perceptions

CEO CornerI meet people every day, some know a lot about Special Olympics and some know very little. I started to think about those who are unfamiliar with Special Olympics…what are their preconceived notions as to who we are and what we do? I believe education helps, and I certainly believe introducing our athletes to those who have never been exposed to Special Olympics is a powerful educational tool, but what else? What else can we do to change people’s perceptions of our organization and our athletes?

– Pat Carpenter Bourgeois, President and CEO of Special Olympics Louisiana