Joshua's Journey of Discovery

April 01, 2011

Joshua Powell is on an exciting journey of discovery. A recent arrival in China, Powell grew up in Colorado where he got involved with sports as a Special Olympics athlete at the age of 7. He's now learning Chinese and helping younger people in China with intellectual disabilities. He wrote this narrative of his adventure so far.

Joshua Powell waves to the camera with a group of students at the Chinese special school where he works two days a week.

Fitting In. Joshua Powell, a Special Olympics athlete from Colorado, US, is in the rear of this group, showing a V sign.

Hi, my name is Joshua Powell.  For the past 19 years I have been deeply involved with Special Olympics. 

I have done the following things.  From the age of 7 years old to approximately 24 years old I was an athlete for Special Olympics, from 24 to 25 years old I was a motivational speaker, coach, and I sang my country's national anthem (United States of America) at various competitions. 

Now at 26 years old I have the amazing opportunity to step out of where I had been, both literally and figuratively.  In January of 2011 I was invited to come to China to learn how to speak Chinese at a University.  Without knowing it, I was about to start an adventure, that I could only dream about in the past. 

I now have the ability to work at a special school in the city of Changchun.  Currently I am able to help there about 2 days a week, in the near future; I would like to work towards being there 3 times a week.  At this school, I not only work with the athletic program.  I also have had the opportunity to work in the schools music program, and other programs, which I will visit soon within the school. 

The students at this school are wonderful… I have found that it is just like back home, as I can start relationships, and help these students towards the future, using their own potential.  In September of 2011 I have been invited by the school to join them for a Special Olympics activity in a different location, and I can only hope that this will spread out further. 

These are the goals that I have specifically in mind for both the short term, and long term future.
Short term goals:
-- I would like to start helping at this school three times a week instead of two times a week.
--I want to start training volunteers, and getting it so that they can help in the school as well.
Long term goals:
-- I want to start traveling to different cities in China to work with Special Olympics programs elsewhere.
--I want to start working towards being a global ambassador, and/or working towards a career with Special Olympics International.

That last goal, to me is most important.  At this time I can work with volunteers, and helping at schools, but by having the opportunity to being an ambassador, or having a career with SO International… I could help the same way, if not more all over the world.  I would like to say… that I am a man of my word… but this can mean many things.  I could say something like “I have an apple” but I could have an orange instead.  I am a man of my word by the actions I put to that word.  I will do all I can, for, and with the people that I meet.

 I thank you for reading this, and I have hopes that you will look at your life, and ask yourself, what do you have to offer to help people with developmental disabilities.  I will end with a phrase I have known for most of my life, and will remember it for all the days to come.

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let be brave in the attempt.”

This phrase belongs to all athletes, all over the world.


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