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Game Changer: Volunteer Linda Flynn

Linda Flynn is a longtime volunteer with Special Olympics Massachusetts. She currently leads the Pioneer Valley (PV) Green Monsters softball team as their Local Program Coordinator (and even added bocce and corn hole for the team last summer!) “I started in Special Olympics about 25 years ago when a family friend was looking for Unified partners (teammates) for their softball team. Her brother was on the team, as an athlete, and she had just taken over coaching it. I’ve played softball all my life so thought that it was a good fit. I started with attending the qualifiers session…

Author: Charles Hirsch

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3 Tips for Engaging Employees with a Corporate Social Responsibility Program, Virtually 

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) goes far beyond offering volunteer time off to support the local soup kitchen or animal shelter. While it’s important to involve employees in these opportunities, CSR means integrating your company’s mission and purpose with sustainable values, and supporting community goals in ways that connect to your company’s business. It’s an ongoing effort that requires engagement from the top down. However, it is often difficult to find the right work-life balance. It is especially hard to maintain this relationship with the COVID-19 pandemic as many volunteer activities have been made virtual. Businesses can positively impact their…

Author: Charles Hirsch

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National Volunteer Week!

Celebrating How Special Olympics Volunteers Rose to the Occasion this Past Year What do snowshoeing, Wiffle balls, and polar plunges have in common? They’re all ways that Special Olympics Massachusetts volunteers stepped up to plate this past year to keep athletes healthy, active, and most importantly, included! As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we’re giving extra thanks to the incredible volunteers of Special Olympics Massachusetts. Prior to March 2020, everything for Special Olympics was in person. In-person training, in-person competitions, in-person fundraising events. And the more people, the better! COVID-19 changed all of that instantly. There were challenges, obstacles,…

Author: Charles Hirsch

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Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Whitted

Anna Whitted has been a Game Changer for the past two years, volunteering at numerous tournaments and fundraising events and being a true ambassador for the Special Olympics movement. Her first event was Tournament of Champions, newly relocated to the greater Marlborough area back in 2016. “I love to serve and support my community, so I researched how to get involved with Special Olympics,” she said. “After my first experience volunteering with the athletes, staff, Unified partners, and other volunteers, there was no other decision: Make Special Olympics a permanent volunteer opportunity and invite others to join me!” Since the…

Author: Catherine Twing

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Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Jill Stone

By Peyton Heller Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern Growing up in Hanover, MA and spending her summers on the Cape, Jill Stone has run the Falmouth Road Race in both 2014 and 2015, and is very happy to be back running this year for Special Olympics Xtra Mile Team with her best friend, Elizabeth Downs. Motivated by Special Olympics Massachusetts athlete Andrew Lawson, Elizabeth’s cousin, as well as her husband’s cousin, Seth Dame who is a Special Olympics Rhode Island athlete, Jill is running for #LawsonStrong and #SethStrong. “Andrew and Seth are two of the sweetest guys you’ll ever…

Author: Special Olympics Massachusetts

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The Mind of an Intern: Q&A Edition

Ryan Vazza is an intern for Special Olympics Massachusetts through the Bank of America Student Leader Program. This program pairs juniors and seniors with nonprofits and allows them to work with these organizations for the summer. In addition, the program brings Student Leaders from across the country to Washington, D.C for a week-long summit filled with speakers, lessons, and learning. This is his reflection on his experience.  Describe Special Olympics Massachusetts’s mission in your own words. Special Olympics Massachusetts’s mission can be described in three words; equality through sports. Sports serve as a portal into the real world. They are…

Author: Special Olympics Massachusetts

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Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Tanya Sullivan

By Peyton Heller Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern Tanya Sullivan’s involvement with Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) started about 5 years ago when her son, William, was asked to take part in the Five Town School Day Games where he and many other school aged athletes were able to compete in a specific sport-themed event. With the day filled with excitement, dedication and even a surprise special guest, Tanya says it was a day she will never forget. “Last year, Rob Gronkowski (yes, Gronk!) surprised everyone by showing up in Ashland to run football plays with every athlete at the…

Author: Special Olympics Massachusetts

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Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Elizabeth Downs

By Peyton Heller Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern Elizabeth Downs started getting involved with Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) when her cousin, Andrew Lawson, joined several years ago. “I got involved with Special Olympics through my cousin Andrew. I would attend his swimming events and just be blown away at the excitement of the athletes, coaches, and spectators.”  Elizabeth is part of the 2017 Xtra Mile team for the Falmouth Road Race. With this being her third time running this race, she uses the motivation from Andrew to continue running. “This year my motivation behind Falmouth is my cousin Andrew. Andrew…

Author: Special Olympics Massachusetts

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Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Katelin Cwieka

By Peyton Heller Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern Why Special Olympics? Katelin’s connection with Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) started about 7 or 8 years ago when one of her close friends, who has a son with Down Syndrome, convinced her to get involved. Katelin began slowly with fundraising then participated in an LETR run as well as a polar plunge and she was hooked. She continued to get involved and volunteer more, and now years later, here she is running the Falmouth Road Race as part of the Special Olympics Massachusetts Xtra Mile team. Running since she was 14…

Author: Special Olympics Massachusetts

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Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Christina Lombardi

By Peyton Heller Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern Starting her running career when she was just 13 years old, Christina Lombardi had no idea what she was getting herself into. “I competed in a total of 16 seasons of Cross Country and Track and Field. I stopped in college to focus more on studies but never stopped visiting the road. Once college was over, I really just enjoyed running on my own. My biggest challenge was my half marathon back in 2014 in Disney.” Running has always been something she has enjoyed, and being an athlete since such a…

Author: Special Olympics Massachusetts

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