Athletes Looking to Explore New Opportunities with Special Olympics Through Public Speaking

Athletes, do you have a passion for sport? For Special Olympics? Would you like to share your stories with others so that they might become more aware and more engaged with Special Olympics?

Global Messenger Kailee McLaughlin
Global Messenger and SOILL Board Member Kaylee McLaughlin

There are currently more than 100 athletes in Illinois who serve as Global Messengers, ambassadors, leaders of the movement. In 2015, this group made 345 presentations. These athletes/Global Messengers are telling audiences and journalists about the remarkable changes that Special Olympics helped bring to their lives.

Special Olympics Illinois will be hosting a training for athletes interested in becoming a part of the Athlete Leadership Program on Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 1-2, at the Special Olympics Illinois Headquarters in Normal. The only requirements for participation are that each athlete have a valid medical form on file and have a mentor or speech coach who is willing to attend the training with them and assist them as needed for presentations that they wish to do. These mentors will also need to complete the Class A volunteer process.

The Global Messengers are part of the Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Program which allows athletes to explore opportunities for greater participation in our movement beyond sports training and competition: as coaches, officials, team captains, spokespeople and Board and committee members.

Global Messengers Ryan McDonough and Zynyra Ross at the Inspire Greatness Gala
Global Messengers Ryan McDonough and Zynyra Ross at the Inspire Greatness Gala

These roles give athletes a voice in shaping the Special Olympics Movement and a chance to spread the word about the transformations Special Olympics can bring to individuals and families. Athlete Leadership Programs also provide a way for athletes to showcase talents and interests that may have gone unnoticed, such as public speaking.

Many athletes choose to undergo training to learn presentation skills so they can help spread the message of Special Olympics to the general public. Athletes of ALL ages and abilities are welcomed and participate and grow at their own pace.

See the attached flyer for additional information. If you are interested in this program or have questions, please contact Karen Milligan, Director of Athlete Leadership & Families, at 309-888-2013.