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What I Learned as a Special Olympics Tennessee Intern

From fundraising events to athletic competitions, the Special Olympics community is amazing
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When I began interning with Special Olympics Tennessee in January, I knew little about what they did but soon learned it was much more. When my advisor sent me a list of places to intern, I decided this could be a great opportunity. Working with kids daily gave me the extra push to go for it, especially after hearing about how Special Olympics is about making their community inclusive for everybody and ensuring they all get the opportunity to participate in something they enjoy.

At every event I attended, everyone, from the athletes and their families to the volunteers, was always smiling, encouraging and always having fun. This stood out to me.

At the Polar Plunge events, everyone was there to support their Special Olympics community, from the group costumes to the areas I attended, hitting their fundraising goals. Everyone was truly “freezin' for a reason!”

One of my favorite events to attend was the Nashville Soccer Club Unified Team’s signing day. When the athletes and partners were on the field for their first practice, you would have thought they were the official pros. It was an amazing event to experience, especially when everyone there had so much fun.

I went to eight events of various varieties. I took videos and pictures at these events, interviewed and wrote stories about athletes, and created highlight reels. The events ranged from polar plunges to flag football.

In every photo and video I took everyone was smiling and having fun.

All of the interviews that I got to do were always positive. Even if an athlete had just lost a game, all they did was talk about how much fun they had that day and that the experience they had that day was amazing.

One of my favorite moments was interviewing the Rutherford County Rockets at Middle Tennessee Regional Basketball. They had just won one of their games, and they ended up being from Murfreesboro, where I live. When interviewing both the athletes and coaches, you could see and hear in their voices how much fun they had that day, and it made writing the article that much more rewarding.

The most important thing I learned about Special Olympics is that they make it possible for everyone to be an athlete. They offer many different sports for all their athletes and make their community inclusive. This organization holds some of the most hardworking people I have gotten to know. They work their hardest to ensure that all of their events are inclusive and everyone has the best experiences possible. At tournaments, they provide divisions making sure everyone can compete at their level to provide that opportunity. Special Olympics deserves all of the support and awareness they receive and much more.

Loving what you do is important, and I loved this opportunity with Special Olympics Tennessee. Getting to create and write pieces was rewarding because it meant that I could do it myself, but it was also rewarding because it was for an organization that is so passionate about what it stands for. Being surrounded by people who truly care about this community and inclusivity is an experience I will never forget.

To learn more about Marketing & Communications internships, please contact Justin Bradford at [email protected].

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