May 2013 – Terri Watts

 Terri Watts was raised in a family where they consistently helped others and did service projects, so it was only natural she would assist with the Special Olympics in college. When a friend had a child with special needs, Terri became even more involved.

For the past 19 years, Terri Watts has been volunteering with the Special Olympics Sports Program through Columbia Parks and Recreation. A large group of volunteers comprise the backbone of this program, serving and assisting the 272 active athletes.

Of the nine sports offered, Terri volunteers for eight. Evenings find her coaching softball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, and bowling. She also lends a hand with swimming, track and field, golf, and the Summer Show Me Games. Playing as a tennis partner with a Special Olympic athlete, she also has court time.

“She truly loves being a part of their lives,” Jody Cook, Columbia Parks and Recreation Specialist of Special Olympic Sports says of Terri’s dedication. “She knows the athletes well. She understands each individual’s idiosyncrasy and gifts, assisting them to perform to their maximum capacity.”
While Terri inspires her athletes, she admits they also inspire her. “It is exciting to see them do things they didn’t know they could do, reach goals they didn’t know they could achieve. To watch them open up and blossom.”

~Written by volunteer Theresa Nelson