One of the many things that inspire me the most about Special Olympics is the fact that this program changes the lives of many athletes with intellectual disabilities (and I'm no exception). It gives us opportunities to gain self-confidence by competing, becoming athlete leaders (Global Messengers, Coaches, Board members, etc.) and shows others that we are NOT worthless people as some would believe-we are valuable members of the human race and NOT the unwitting targets of abusers who think we're nothing but worthless junk. It shows others that we are capable (and deserving) of respect.
About Mark Swiconek: I am a 40-year member of Special Olympics, having started my career in Connectictut, .way back in 1973. I have served in many leadership positions in the movement-as the 1st ever Athlete board member of Special Olympics Connecticut, one of the very 1st Global Messengers for Special Olympics ,and served on numerous committees for Special Olympics.