I had a terrific weekend recently as I served as a mentor
to a special athlete participating in the Hawai‘i
Special Olympic Leadership Conference.
Special Olympics is a worldwide organization that offers
year round athletic training and competition for persons
with intellectual disabilities. Every two years they gather
athletes together to get valuable input to make the program
better. As a mentor, I was there to encourage athletes
as they thought about important issues, talked to each
other about solutions, wrote speeches presenting their
ideas, and voted on new policies.
At first, the discussions were brief and only involved
the vocal few. By the end of the conference all the tables
were buzzing with interaction, and even the shyest moved
to the microphone to represent their group. Every idea
was listened to and valued.
The joy for me was seeing the new-found confidence each
athlete gained in only one short weekend. Like these
athletes, all of us have tremendous opportunity right
here to gain
the skills, knowledge, and confidence to make a positive
difference in shaping our world. We are privileged
and blessed to have this opportunity. Only a small
of the world population has the good fortune to go
to college. I encourage you to give your best effort
out for the needs of others, treasure your family and
friends, and have a thankful heart.