Geneva Rose: A Future Defined by Unified Sports

My involvement with Special Olympics began in the 11th grade. I volunteered to convene the ringette/floor hockey tournament. Since that event I have convened the soccer and bocce ball tournaments. I have been a Unified player with my school's teams for basketball, bocce ball twice and floorball.

The turning point came when I convened the Special Olympics Soccer tournament this school year. That night, I came home and I told my parents this was what I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. I immediately planned what post-secondary programs I was interested in and which programs could take me where I wanted to go. I was accepted into and Honours Bachelor of Human Kinetics – Education and Coaching program at the University of Ottawa. This program will give me the knowledge and ability to continue working with Special Olympics.

Participating as a Unified partner has added a lot to my life. Working with students, hosting the events and seeing the joy on faces when I ask them how excited they are is really all I need. I gain so much from this environment. I get to participate and play sports while helping and offering guidance to others. I am a previous camp counsellor and current site supervisor for a camp, so getting to be enthusiastic and cheer on my peers is one of my favourite activities.

Being a Unified player became a lot more than just the title for me. It became my biggest way to give back to my community. The students I get to hang out with and compete with are my friends, they have taught me the true meaning of perseverance and determination. The education assistants and teachers I have met are all phenomenal and I want to work alongside them and offer support to them through these programs. These students are truly some of the sweetest, funniest and most talented people I have met. I want to continue working with them and helping my community grow and strengthen. Everyone deserves access to safe and inclusive physical education and sport and plan to be someone offering this in the future. I hope I have made half the impact these kids have made on me.