Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Highlights of 2019, New Year 2020!

Okay, so WOW! I absolutely cannot believe another year has gone by and a new year is going to begin! Is that even possible?! This year has flew by so fast, but it was a great one! Christmas was really good too! Saw my other brother and his family for 5 days! It wasn’t a long enough trip, but it will do! My niece has a special part in the Christmas Eve program at church, she did very well! After the church Christmas Eve service, we visited with some church friends and then went home. Ate dinner, relaxed and went to bed. On Christmas morning, we all woke up and opened our gifts and our stockings. It was fun to watch everyone open their gifts, especially when I saw my niece and nephew, their expressions on their faces are priceless. Had an awesome breakfast, biscuit and gravy, hasbrows, and scrambled eggs. Relaxed most of the day.

So here are my highlights for the year of 2019: (the pictures are above and are in order)

*I did my first polar plunge on January 26, 2019. I raised $610.00
*I attended my first Special Olympics Capital Hill day on February 11, 2019
* Held my first step challenge on March 1, 2019 between Special Olympics Health Messengers ( I held 3 challenges between health messengers) I held 3 challenges between Special Olympics Missouri Athletes, coaches, and Staff, and held 3 challenges for non Special Olympics Missouri Participants and Special Olympics Oklahoma
* Graduated from ALPs (athlete leadership programs) through Special Olympics, I earned my communication degree (I’m working on my technology degree at the moment) 
* My family was named the outstanding family in Kansas City area for Special Olympics Missouri

My Hopes for 2020:

* Finish my technology capstone project
* Do more challenges (step etc)
* Spend more time with family and friends
* Spend less time on social networks 
* Focus on myself 
* Stop saying Sorry all of the time (it’s on going process)
* Get a chance to try out on Team Missouri for Special Olympics National Games
* Do more live videos on Facebook regarding wellness Wednesday tips

I would like to say the year 2019, was a great one! I can’t wait what 2020 has to offer me! Thank you to all of my readers, family, Special Olympics Missouri Organization, friends and everyone in my life! 

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Kansas City Metro Bowling Tournament 11-2-19

So this morning I woke up at 6:30am. I don’t bowl until this afternoon, but I wanted to see my uncle bowl and give him support! I made my breakfast smoothie last night. I’m very excited for today! It will be a long day but a good one! And it isn’t that far either. It’s at Lunar Bowl in Blue Springs. 

There is 300 bowlers here. Darion got 4th place. He competes against some tough competitors. He gave his best, and that’s all we can do! Jesse and I bowl at 1pm. 
 My first game was 89, my second game was 117 and 97. I got GOLD! Jesse first games was 88, second game 86 and his third game was 77. He got GOLD! 

Well it was a LONG day, I wanted to support Darion, that’s why I went to watch him. Darion, Grandaddy and I came home after Darion was done with the tournament. Then Jesse and I got ready for our turn to bowl. We tried something new this year, we bowl 3 games instead 2 games. It was a good change! I liked it! I think Jesse likes it too! I saw a lot of new people and saw some I knew already. Which is nice! I bowled against another athlete, it seems like we always compete against each other at area tournaments. So it was a good little reunion. There was a lot of volunteers, and it was very nice to have them! I thank the volunteers who was in my lane. I said thank you for coming out! I  believe that the athletes should say thank you for giving up their time to come out and help us out! A sport season ends and another starts. Basketball is next! 

It was also nice to see a camp counselor from sports camp this past summer! It was good to catch up with her! 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Special Olympics Missouri Leadership Conference 10-19-19

This morning my alarm went off at 7:30 am. Did my morning routine and got ready for the day. My family are going to Columbia Missouri, to attend the 31st annual awards banquet. The ceremony was held at Holiday Inn Executive center. We were nominated for the outstanding family award in Kansas City Metro! I'm also graduating from ALPs (athlete leadership programs). I will be getting my communication degree. We arrived around 10:50 am ish. I went around the room to say hi to the people I knew! Then I went to sit down and waited for the program to start. Dinner was served. It was Mexican! One of my favorites!! It was really hard to stay on my meal/health program, but somehow I did it!. After dinner ended, I went up the stage and welcomed everyone. I think I did a good job, my mom said I did a really good job. After I did my little speech, I went to the back of the room with my mentor, and got my cap and gown on and got ready to walk with the rest of 4 athletes leaders graduates. We got dipoloma for the degree we majored in. Took group pictures, and sat back down in our seats. Then the nominations started, the categories are: outstanding athlete, outstanding coach, outstanding volunteer and outstanding family. There is 5 areas in Missouri (St. Louis, Southeast, Southwest, Central and Kansas City metro). It was awesome ceremony. Oh, I also helped with the raffle for the jeep (Special Olympics Missouri) have been raffling off for a year.

(I couldn’t get/ or find all of the pictures I wanted) 

(In BOLD means that person won that category)

Outstanding Families

The King Family (Central)

(Annette has served as a volunteer coach for a number of years within two different groups in Columbia. She give tireless hours to make sure the athletes are at training and competitions. She comes to competitions with such a positive attitude, and when she sees something, she offers a solution rather than just a complaint.

Howard and Lena are both SOMO athletes. However, just like their mom, they rarely come to an event without asking to help. Howard likes to use his muscles to help set up and carry boxes. Lena is very helpful and likes presenting awards to other athletes.)

The Hodgson Family (KC Metro)

Lynna is a role model, ambassador, competitor, and most importantly a friend in the SOMO family. She is a certified Global Messenger and recently became a certified Health Messenger through Special Olympics Inc. Lynna will graduate from the Athlete Leadership Program with major in Health, and she will complete a second degree in Technology next year. Rand is her mentor, attending classes and helping ensure she stays on track with her practicum.
      Rand and Lynna traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in Hill Day this winter speaking to legislators about the importance of Special Olympics in their community. Lynna is also extremely active on social media, encouraging other special Olympics athletes, sharing health tips and celebrated earned medals. 
     Jesse is also a model athlete. He is always ready to give helpful advice to any of his coaches, help his teammates and is always the biggest cheerleader on the sideline. He and his sister both competed in track and field at the 2018 USA games in Seattle.
      Darla works hard to ensure that both Jesse and Lynna thrive within their own environments. Rand is knowledgeable about any disability benefits and is willing to help any parents understand and fight for the benefits they deserve. The Hodgson family is truly an asset to the KC Metro Area and SOMO as whole. 

The Ferdig Family (North)

The Ferdig family has two athletes who participate in Special Olympics Missouri events, Josh and Justin. Their parents, Lynisa and Carl, help in a lot of ways to ensure that their team is good to go. They are at practices helping no matter what sport it may be. Carl and Lynisa also travel to regional and state events to colunteer as chaperones for the Tri-Cahp teams. They are always willing to help their coach in any way possible. This includes taking on extra responsibilities that ensure they can coach if they need to. Carl and Lynsia are really part of the Tri-Cahp family and they strive to make it the best team for their sons as well as the rest of the athletes that participate on tha tea.

The Berryhill/Dinkins Family (Southeast)

Lisa Berryhill has been participating in Special Olympics for the past 16 years. Her entire family quickly realized the magnitude of the program and what it meant to her. 
  They serve as chaperones, Unified Partners and coaches.Peggy volunteers as the bowling and bocce coach and she is involved with family outreach and in the fan club. She has been very influential in grwoing family involvement in southeast Missouri.
    Peggy, Amy and Billy have a passion for what Special Olympics does, not only for Lisa, but for all of the athletes. Most recently, Peggy's sisters became Unified Partners in bocce as well as serving as team chauffeurs.
   The Berryhill family works hard to secure sponsorship. The Berryhill family is nominated for this award because of the family's displayed dedication to Special Olympics Missouri and the athletes. 

The Maupin Family (Southwest)

New to Missouri, but not to Special Olympics, the Maupin family joined SOMO in 2018. Sandy and Dusty help with the Truck Convoy-making goody bags, loading and unloading, and helping at the event in a variety of ways
    Dusty participates with the Community Support Services Team and Sandy is a dedicated supporter. At area events, Sandy always jumps in to help where needed. Whether it is helping at registration, assisting on a lane at bowling or driving a cart at gold, the Maupin family does it with a smile. They respect and engage with all the athletes at the events. It is always a pleasure having the Maupin family around.

The Lance/Gregg/Wells Family (STL Metro)

SOMO athlete Robbie and his mom, Jamie, both reppelled from t he roof of Bank of America Plaza last month. When SOMO needed to find a new venue for OVer the Edge, Jamie was instrumental in connecting SOMO with the management company for BOA Plaza. Both Robbie and Jaime serve on the OTE committee. Robbie has become the athlete voice for OTE, giving on-air TV interviews and encouraging everyone he meets to register and go OVer the Edge. Robbie's brother, Zach is a Unified Partner.
  Robbie, Jaime and Zach attended the Tip-A-Cop and Spare Change event at a St. Louis Cardinals game on Aug 1. They were enthusiastic about making the event a family outing and a bonding experience. Robbie did a great job engaging the customers and fans at the game and encouraging them to donate to Special Olympics Missouri to help athletes like him.
   Robbie and Zach were on Team Missouri's Unified basketball team that went to Seattle for the USA Games where they won the silver mdeal. Jaimie and Pat were both very involved in the year-looking process leading up to the games and during the weeks in Seattle.

Outstanding Volunteer

Derina Shelton (Central)

Derina has been helping Central Area with events for several years. She originally was in the banking business, but has since moved to a job where she can serve individuals with special needs in the Columbia Public Schools. She interacts incredibly well with the students she serves. When asked about her background, she gives credit to her volunteer duties with SOMO. Now Derina is passing her passion on to her son, Nathanyl. He is the kind of student who notices those with special needs and when no one is sitting with them at lunch.
   Central Area has some key volunteers who are the go-to people for help and Derina is one of them. She has served on the registration team at the Columbia Polar Plunge since the first year. The expert for the day-of-registration line, Derina greets the Plungers with a smile.
    Central Area is grateful to Derina (and Nathanyl) for always coming out to share their smile and enthusiasm with the athletes. 

Lou Holtman (Headquarters)

Lou has been volunteering at various Special Olympics Missouri events for more than 25 years. He has dedicated his life to serving people with intellectual disabilities and fighting for the respect and enhancement of their quality of life. Most recently, he took the position of Special Olympics Chairman for the Missouri Knights of Columbus. Over the last three years, Lou has put more than 100,000 miles on his car traveling to Knights of Columbus Councils spreading the message of SOMO's programs and volunteering at competitions and fundraiser throughout the state. He treats his role of service as if it were a full-time job, never asking for anything in return.

Jeremie Ballinger (KC Metro)

Jeremie has been with SOMO for 14 years. He serves as an event manager at almost every area and state event. Jeremie upholds the integrity of the competition for the athletes. His general knowledge and experience of SOMO sports rules is always so useful! He also participates in the Polar Plunge most years. 
  The Most recent job, Jeremie maintained the area partnership with Kansas City Corporate Challenge, providing volunteers for SOMO events as well as loathing other KCCC resources to make SOMO events run smoothly.
  On top of being an event manager, Jeremie has also participated as a Unified Partner in several sports. His oldest son, Dalton was an event manager at the State Indoor Games and a Unified Partner for softball. His daughter, Payton, attended sports camp as a junior counselor, sang the anthem at the Kansas City Area track meet and donated the Shiver bear bostume at the Polar Plunge, Jeremie was also part of the moving crew whtn the KC office has to move from Lee Company to it's new office space. His connection to the landlord is what led SOMO to the space for the new office. 
  Jeremie's attitude and willingness to help are unmatched and we are so lucky to have him in Kansas City Area!

Lindsay Bernard (North)

Lindsay has been a volunteer in some capacity with Special Olympics for 10 years now. She has helped with local events by helping recruit volunteers. She also participated in several fundraiser over the years including the celebrity softball game, Ladies Night Out, sponsorship campaigns and the Making A Change event.
   Lindsay was instrumental in working with the City of St. Joseph to place a bid to host the State Indoor Games for three years, securing facilities, funding, volunteers, meals, etc. She served as the chair of the Games Management Team for the State Indoor Games the past two years. Lindsay has truly stepped up and been someone the other volunteers and business leaders could depend on. 

Sarah Wichern (Southeast)

Sarah approached the Southeast Area office about a year and a half ago to get more information about volunteering and since then has become a great asset for the area. She is the president of Kappa Beta Gamma and encourages their involvement. S was the Polar Plunge intern and helped SOMO make a connection with many new schools.
   She and her sorority created a new fundraiser for the Southeast Area, raising more than $500 just by setting up a selfie station and request donations. She quickly taught herself GMS and has spent countless hours entering athletes into events and recording results as well. In addition to being a present at event in Cape Girardeau, she has traveled to competitions in other areas in the region to assist at those events as well. Sarah's volunteer work does not end at hours of data entry. She has helped file physicals, worked Special Olympics tables at area events, cleaned the office and sold Drive it Home raffle tickets. Sarah quickly came to be friends with many of the athletes. She truly recognizes that her behind-the-scenes dedication is very important in providing great programs for the athletes and SOMO is very thankful to have her support. 

John & Julie Clarke (Southwest)

John and Julie have been volunteers for many years and have helped with several events in the area as well as state events. If you want an event to be successful, you call the two of them.
  They were instrumental in making the Bartender's Charity Ball a success in the past and have recently started serving on the Polar Plunge Committee.
  John and Julie are willing to help in any way possible to raise money. They have great ideas and contacts. They think outside the box and make things happen. Words cannot described how blessed SOMO is have this duo. 

Outstanding Coaches

Kathy Butler (Central)

Kathy is not new to Special Olympics, but each year she seems to start something new for the athletes in her area. When a local track meet was offered by the local school district, Kathy was right there with her support and willingness to do whatever was needed. 
  Both of Kathy's older children, Victoria and Evan, caught the Special Olympics bug because of what they witnessed from their mom. Her husband is also extremely supportive. 
  Not only is Kathy coaching, she is organizing other coaches, and even serves a mentor of an athlete-leader. This past spring, Kathy suggested that teams could bring canned foods or non-perishable items to the state indoor Games held in St. Joseph, because at tha time, the city and its surrounding communities were experiencing a flood. She also holds an annual prom for the athletes in the community. She plans, sets up and enjoys the prom each year with a special theme! It is clear that Kathy has a huge heart, loves her family, community and her athletes.

Pam Rohlfing (KC Metro)

For Pam, Special Olympics has never been something you do only a few hours a week. She has successfully lobbied the North Kansas City School District to consider the Northstars as a true school district team. Through her work, the Special Olympics high school athletes have received varsity letters and pins for years and have six sports from which to choose.
  As a special education educator, she has insight into the lives of SOMO's athletes and their families that goes far beyond Special Olympics. The Northstars have more than 100 athletes and she knows each by name. As her athletes graduate from high school, she is working to make sure they have a smooth transition and are able to continue their Special Olympics careers after high school.
  Pam encourages other coaches to push their athletes to maximize the tools they have and be netter than they think they can be. While competitiveness is front and center, she demands this occur in a fun environment and with sportsmanship being an essential ingredient.
  Overall, Pam loves her athletes and is always looking to create an energetic, inclusive athletic environment full of fun and celebration.

Amanda Starks (North)

Amanda is a newer coach that took on all three of the sports that the Kirksville Titans offer. Coach Straks also organized some of her Truman State University students to assist in a variety of ways.
  These college students respect her and want to help at Special Olympics events and with the Kircksville Titans because of the relationship they have built with er. She has recruited, fundraised, promoted awareness, coaches, provided rides, and assisted in starting the Kirksville Titans- an adult SOMO program for the North Area.
  Coach Startks not only did all of this with a smile on her face, but was raising a toddler and working full time at Truman State University at the same time. She is now doing all of this as she is expecting her second child and still shows up with a smile, positivity, and determination to make this team the best it can possible be for her athletes.

Jeanetta Sansoucie (Southeast)

Jeanetta is one of the most patient, compassionate and caring coaches in the Southeast Area. She coaches track and field and bowling. She makes it a priority to give all her athletes individual attention. It's easy to tell from her interaction with her athletes how much they respect her. Watching her cheer on her athletes and give them advice to aprove their skills shows her passion for not only her athletes, but also sports in general.
  She puts in the extra time and effort required to successfulyy run a Special Olympics program, in addition to her daily full-time job as a teacher. Other attributes that are characteristics of Jeanetta include her knowledge, organization, flexibility, compassion, and ability to recognize and meet the needs of her athletes.  Many times these needs go beyond teaching a sports skill; more often it is teaching a life skill. She gives so much time and effort to improving the lives of her athletes.
  This award nomination is just a small way SOMO can acknowledge the energy she gives to this program year after year.

Kevin Chapman (Southwest)

Kevin started the Special Olympics program at Clever schools in 2017. Over the past few years, he has not only grown the program in terms of athlete involvement, but has also introduced Unified Partners to the program. Kevin has recruited new coaches and volunteers to help coach and assist as they have added more sports to their program. The Clever Special Olympics program is active at area, regional and state events in bowling, basketball, volleyball and track & field.
  Kevin strives to provide his team with competition opportunities that allow them to grow and compete at their highest level. He has also worked with other area Special Olympics coaches to host Special Olympics basketball games in conjunction with their high school games. This has provided as great opportunity to showcase the athletes of Special Olympics in their local community.
  In 2019, Kevin approached Clever High School about hosting the 2019 Southeast Area Spring Games. Through his effort along with a team of administration and school faculty, Clever High School hosted a very successful event. The entire school supported the event, along with many members of the community and area Law Enforcement.
  Kevin also served as a softball umpire for the Southwest Area Softball Tournament. SOMO appreciates Kevin's enthusiasm and dedication to the athletes in Southwest Missouri.

Kirk & Tammy Halveland (STL Metro)

To just nominate Kirk & Tammy would as Paul Harvey would say, leave out "the rest of the story" Kirk & Tammy kids, Lilah and Patrick, have been Unified Partners that the Special Olympics Falcon athletes look up to, respect and consider best friends. The entire family is outstanding and each one of them is an outstanding coach.

Outstanding Athlete

Clarence Bentley (Central)

As Joe DiMaggio said: "A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, by example." Clarence embodies this quote through his participation in Special Olympics. He is a quiet leader who always give his very best to whatever sport he is competing in.
  Clarence is working toward becoming a coach through Athlete Leadership Programs. He wants to help other athletes do their very best, gain skills and get stronger. When you see Clarence working or talking with other athletes, you can see the respect that they have for him.
  Clarence enjoys going around the state for competitions and has met many new friends. He offers his assistance with fundraisers and other opportunities where athletes are needed. This summer he was faced with a difficult situation when one of his favorite coaches left. He didn't think he wanted to continue, but after being asked, he came back. Teammates and coaches alike are glad when Clarence is around.

Collin Garrison (KC Metro)

Collin has competed in Special Olympics Missouri for 13 years and has participated in bocce, basketball, softball, track, bowling, aquatics, flag football, soccer and tennis. He participated in track and field in the 2010 USA Games in Nebraska.
  Last year, Colin competed in bocce at the USA Games in Seattle. This year, Colin was Missouri's only athlete on Special Olympics USA at the World Games in Abu Dhabi and came home with gold, silver, and bronze medals in bocce.
  In the Kansas City community, Colin works at Goodwill assisting with computer recycling. Due to his accomplishments as a Special Olympics athlete and an excellent employee, he was selected to throw out the first pitch at a Kansas City Royals game.
  When competing in Missouri or around the world, Colin is an impressive representative of Missouri, showing confidence and encouraging others. The fans always cheer for Colin because he demonstrates excitement with outstretched arms with making a basket, a point in bocce, or just running by them in track.
  If an athlete needs help or someone to pump them up, it is Colin. He probably knows more athletes' names than anyone else in the state! Colin is a positive role model for all athletes. 

Jared Niemeyer (North)

Jared has gone above and beyond competing in Special Olympics Missouri sports. He sits on the Board of Directors serving as the athlete representative. He is a graduate of the Athlete Leadership Programs and he is a Charter Class member, where he raised funds for the Training for Life Campus. He served as a Plunge Ambassador for two years and he was on of the first Global Messengers for Missouri.
  This summer, he visited 16 Casey's General Stores to thank them for their employees' fundraising efforts! For the second time, he visited the United Nations in June and spoke about life for people with intellectual disabilities. Jared participates in everything that the local LETR does; Cops on Top, Drive it Home Raffle ticket sales, Tip-A-Cop, the local annual Torch Run in Kirksville, and more.
  On top of everything he does for Special Olympics, he has worked eight years at the Kirksville Hy-Vee. Jared is a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church and a Knights of Columbus member. He started his own business called Jared's Jams, which sells jams and jellies at the Kirksville Farmer's Market and regional festivals with some of the proceeds coming back to benefit SOMO.
  Jared is an advocate for inclusion because he believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to be all they can be.

Lucas Blattel (Southeast)

Lucas has completed in 291 events in 157 games just through SOMO. In addition, Lucas has participated in USA and World Games. In addition to his well-rounded athletic performance on the field, he is an asset off the field to this program as well. He participates in all Southeast Area fundraisers. He plunges each year, helps at area Tip-A-Cop events, helps sell Drive It Home Raffle tickets and assisted at the first ever Scott Wright Memorial Cornhole Tournament. Lucas also spends several long each May at the Wagon and Trail Ride fundraiser.
  He helps with several teams his mom coaches. He is a mentor to new athletes joining Cape Independent. Often the coaches rely on him to get athletes rounded up a certain place or ready to go at a certain time. He is well-respected by his teammates and coaches, as both great athlete and reliable teammate.
  Lucas Blattel's hard work and dedication to Special Olympics is deserving of recognition as an Outstanding Athlete!

Kit Hillihan (Southwest)

Kit has been a model athlete and an inspiration to Special Olympics coaches, volunteers and other athletes. He meets challenges head on and welcomes the opportunity to conquer any challenge that he encounters.
  He holds himself to high standards of excellence, is an inspiration to all, and motivates others to do the same. Rather than giving up and quitting due to stress, Kit never stopped or allowed himself to be hindered by societal injustices. He always come back song. 

Jacob Ritter (STL Metro)

In the past year, Jacob has recently grown into a leader within the SOMO community. Jacob is an athlete for Warren County Handicapped Services, where he competes in just about every sport available to him. For the first time in his athletic career, Jacob attended SOMO Sports Camp this summer to add to his knowledge of sports. While there, he soaked in all the pointers and drills he could.
  Jacob attended the Missouri Association off Student Council’s week-long camp earlier this year, where he met new people from around the state and learned leadership qualities and inclusive activities he can bring back to his own school. Every event Jacob comes to, he comes with a positive attitude and make sure he follows Special Olympics Athlete’s Oath.

Other 2019 Winners

Youth Volunteer 

Aiden Petterson (Central)

Kendal Starke (North)

Keeley Spence (KC Metro)


Odessa School District (Central)

Novak Leadership Institute (Headquarters)

Epic Sports Lodge (KC Metro)

First Christian Church of Savannah (North)

Ft. Zumwalt West Middle School (STL Metro)

Law Enforcement 

Trooper Joseph Peart (Central)

Josh Gasper (KC Metro)

Rita Ketchem (North)

Matthew Kappler (STL Metro)


Rod Smith (Central)

Mike Clayton (Headquarters)

North Missourian (North)

Joy FM (STL Metro)