For a long time Gloria Schwartz had wanted to coach the Special Olympics, but she thought she didn’t have time. Finally, three years ago, a friend coaxed her into helping at a practice. Then, she not only found the time, but a very rewarding career in coaching.
Gloria has been involved with competitive sports all of her life. And she wanted to help persons with intellectual disabilities experience some of the same excitement, opportunities, and lessons she knew sports could provide. That’s why she volunteers and is now their softball and basketball coach. Gloria tells us it was the “best decision I’ve ever made.”
Jessica Sida, Recreation Specialist for the Special Olympics, says that Gloria’s style of coaching is “nothing short of admirable.” She provides the athletes with a safe and fun space to experience emotional growth and build relational skills with teammates and others; things they can take home and use in other parts of their lives. Gloria “is always bringing out the positives in all our athletes and helping them realize those positives,” she adds.
Thank you, Gloria, for your dedication and passion. Gloria would like to add that if you have any interest in helping with the Special Olympics, don’t hesitate. “You will make a difference in someone’s life and at the same time, it’ll change yours.” .
For information on volunteering for the Special Olympics, call 573-874-7312 or email Jessica.Sida@CoMo.gov. For other volunteer opportunities in the City of Columbia contact 573-874-7499 or volunteer@CoMo.gov.
Written by volunteer Bob Murphy