Finding your ‘why’ while donating your time

What does the first week of October mean to you? To me it means the culmination of training, learning new skills and building friendships. It also means I get to focus my efforts on supporting my community and giving back to one of Alpha Sigma Alpha’s philanthropic partners.

I am the local coordinator for Special Olympics and on Oct. 1 we will be hosting a soccer skills and bocce competition. This yearly event reaches approximately 100 soccer athletes and 20 bocce athletes, ages 5 years to adulthood, from three neighboring counties.

This competition is important locally because it highlights the hard work of the Special Olympics athletes but it also determines who will advance to the state level completion a month later.

Although the competition is at the start of D.O.T. Days, the rest of the week is spent publicizing the results, selecting athletes for the next level of completion, talking with families and submitting necessary paperwork to the state office.

Why do I do it? It is simple, really. It is the right thing for me to do. For the last 34 years, I have made a career in special education. I have provided for and defended the rights of children with disabilities. It just seems logical to me to extend my efforts to include Special Olympics so that students and adults I was trained to support educationally have the same opportunities in the athletic realm.

Again you may ask why, “it must be because you have an athlete in the family….”.  While that is true, it is not why I started. My 27-year-old son is an athlete and has been competing since he was eight. However, I was a volunteer before he was born and he accompanied me to his first event when he was about a month old.

He is certainly my “at home” motivation. His view of life is so pure and happy. He does not have a competitive bone in his body, but he likes to complete an event for the high fives and cheers that go along with it.

Hence, the ‘why’ for me is simple; I donate my time to Special Olympics so that all athletes get to experience the joy of competition, the fulfillment of training hard and the continued opportunity to experience life and athletics like their peers.


-Joanne Weber Catron, A

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