By Daniel Smrokowski, Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger, Special Olympics Illinois
The week of June 21-26, our Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) community celebrates the second annual Virtual Summer Games. For the second year, our normal in-person competitions and events have either ceased or slowed to a few socially-distanced and mask-wearing events. SOILL has introduced esports, virtual sports and virtual programming to their lineup for people with and without intellectual disabilities. On June 26, I hope you will join our SOILL community in the Virtual Celebration primetime event.
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the three Athlete Board Members, Zinyra Ross. In a Special Chronicles Exclusive Conversation, we’ll give you a preview of her upcoming speech.
Zinyra was a little bit nervous about speaking at the Virtual Summer Games. “It took me like three videos to get the speech right,” said Zinyra.
In Zinyra’s upcoming speech, she will talk about the sports she plays and how that connects with going to Summer Games. The theme of connection speaks to a message Zinyra will share during her Virtual Summer Games 2021 speech. Zinyra noted how, “even though we [SOILL Athletes] have challenges in life, we always find a way to work around it,” said Zinyra. “We always found people who will support us no matter what and people who are willing to learn to support too.”
Similar to how as Special Olympics athletes, we have found support to help in overcoming our personal obstacles, during this global pandemic Special Olympics Illinois found a way for all of us to stay connected. Zinyra talked about how virtual programming gave athletes the hope that we needed when it comes to staying connected in times of isolation. Special Olympics Illinois still found a way to support us. It met some obstacles but they figured out a way to help us find connection.
In the theme of connection, Zinyra and I both hope you will connect with our SOILL community during the 2021 Summer Games: Virtual Celebration. Watch it live on Saturday, June 26 at 6:30 PM CT on our Facebook page and Twitch channel — just search for @SpecialOlympicsIllinois or watch live on our website: virtualsummergames.soill.org. To participate, just tune in at 6:30 PM CT.
Check out Zinyra’s website to schedule her to speak at your event, buy her art creations, and learn more about her story at: JustZ.org.
Listen to Daniel’s previous Unified at Work podcast conversation with Z at specialchronicles.com/ZinyraRossPodcast and watch the Special Chronicles Exclusive Conversation Video: