Me and my sister, Nicole
My sister is a special needs person. Growing up, she was always a bit envious of all of my after school activities. I had dance and cheerleading, theater and debate. I played volleyball (until Sophomore year) and was in the Color Guard. But, twice a year she participated in the Special Olympics where it was truly her time to shine. And she thrived! It was great to see her in her element. Her big event was bowling. After a few Olympic appearances, she was the girl to beat! She was so happy getting her trophies and having her "buddy" there cheering her on. Special Olympics really is a great organization. Which is the point of this post.
Joel and I volunteered at our local Special Olympics Friday. We had about 130 German and American kids from the area for a special bowling event. My athlete's name was Chiara, and she was 17 years old. She didn't speak a lick of English, and I was so nervous that I would be a bad buddy! But, she was great. She was a fantastic sport about everything, cheering every time that she got her ball down the lane. And when she knocked some pins down...watch out! She has a crazy hard high five! She was a wonderful buddy to have, and she got a second place ribbon from our lane. She was so easy-going, responding with an adorable "ya" every time she couldn't understand me! It was too cute! We also made some bracelets together and she made a cookie that was too cute to eat! I saved it for her, so hopefully she will be able to enjoy it later.
I really hope that I was able to make an impact for Chiara the same way that my sister's buddies did for her. She didn't stop talking about her experience for weeks afterwards! My sister is an amazing person who the Doctors said wouldn't make it past for first Birthday. Now, at 31 years old, she is someone that I can truly call more than a sister; she is also my friend.