I Wish Upon A Star

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same.” -Franz Peter Schubert 

Three years ago, when I moved to a new community, I met a woman my age and her husband and three boys at church. She and her husband were given the responsibility and honor of raising a special needs son. When we first met, she talked with  me about their family’s involvement with the Special Olympics and what their volunteer efforts have meant to their entire family. They have found such enjoyment in the athletic events, the camaraderie felt between Special Olympians and other families with special needs children. She visited our Kiwanis Club and described the mission of the Special Olympics, too. http://bit.ly/oDJ4n3.

As time has gone by our friendship has grown closer. We have had meaningful talks about her special son, and how God has endowed him with the ability to communicate with others about faith in very unique and profound ways. 

The other day, I began to think what an opportune time it is for parents, families and individuals to share stories of special needs children who are making their distinctive mark on the world. The dynamic and growing world of independent publishing provides a fulfilling platform for teaching other families about the lessons and gifts their special needs children contribute to their family’s life. 

I wish upon a star that more families everywhere will find the means and a voice to tell their stories so others will better understand the joys and challenges of raising special needs children. 

 For more information on how ordinary people are telling extraordinary stories by educating, inspiring and informing others through non-traditional books and films, there is a new 18 minute on-line webinar published by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association that discusses the basics of independent publishing. Please visit http://bit.ly/oIkV2g.

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Special Olympics Fulfills Dreams

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“You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.”  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Last week we had a special guest at our weekly Kiwanis International  meeting! We were graced with the presence of a Special Olympian, who shared with us a few of the medals that she has earned and that decorate her room. She expressed the personal fulfillment and enjoyment she and all her friends find in participating as athletes in the Special Olympics.

Our Kiwanis Club also learned some of the history of the Special Olympics organization which was established in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. There are now athletes, with disabilities, in 150 countries around the world, that participate  in the Special Olympics. In 1977, the very first International Special Olympics Winter Games were held in the town of Steamboat Springs – of all places!

One of our Kiwaniians, of Macedonian heritage, went on to explain that thanks to the help of Kiwanis International, a chapter of the Special Olympics was formed in her native country in 2000 and it still exists very strongly to this day. The next International Special Olympics games will be held in the region of her roots, the Balkans. Athens, Greece will be hosting the Special Olympics from June 25 to July 4, 2011.

Without the help of scores of volunteers, the Special Olympics could not exist. Not only do the Special Olympians find satisfaction in being involved with this organization, it also brings great rewards to the volunteers who witness the smiles, the camaraderie and the motto, put into action,  of every special athlete  “Let me win. But, if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt.” 

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