Team Member SCoop
We would like to give a shout out to Southern Region Supervisor Mary Ellen Stephens who has been a volunteer with Special Olympics Maryland for 25 years! Beginning in high school in Charles County and continuing through college and beyond, Mary Ellen has had many roles including coaching soccer, bowling and basketball. Over the past few years, Mary Ellen has been involved at the state level with event planning; you can find her at various State Competitions throughout the year and at Towson University each June coordinating support for the Summer State Games.
Mary Ellen got involved with Special Olympics as a way to honor her youngest brother Bobby who had profound and multiple disabilities. Growing up with Bobby and helping to care for him, she met many great professionals in the field including “Ms. D” who was Bobby’s home/hospital teacher at the time and she saw Mary Ellen’s potential and suggested she volunteer at Charles County Special Olympics Spring Games in 1994.
Over the years, Mary Ellen has seen many changes in Special Olympics; when she started they still used “Huggers” to congratulate athletes. Now many of the sports and teams are unified and include people with and without disabilities. She enjoys watching newbie volunteers because they may start with an attitude of sympathy and quickly get to “Wow, these athletes are really talented and competitive!” One of the things Mary Ellen loves is that SO gives people the opportunity to develop skill and sportsmanship and to shine. She has witnessed firsthand the value for families who demonstrate their love and support for their family member, share in the enjoyment and build networks that last over time.
If you are interested in more information about SO, please feel free to contact Mary Ellen: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the next Scoop for another SO initiative, “Brave in the Attempt.”