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Giving Us the Voice to Make an Impact Beyond Sport

My name is Daniel Smrokowski and I am an athlete leader from Special Olympics Illinois and a Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger. Before I became an athlete leader, I did not have much confidence and communication has been a struggle for me, specifically in public speaking, but it is also my biggest passion.

It was not until about 15 years ago that I started competing in swimming and basketball. Then I became an athlete leader in my home state of Illinois, the birthplace of the Special Olympics Games.

Together, as we lead the inclusion revolution, we can bring full inclusion to society at large.
Daniel Smrokowski, Special Olympics Illinois Athlete and Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger

Special Olympics gave me the voice to make an impact beyond sport. One of my proudest achievements was the opportunity to work unified on the Marketing & Communications Committee for the 50th Anniversary Celebration that took place in Chicago in July 2018. I am most proud of the opportunity that I had to write a guest column in The Chicago Sun-Times newspaper. This was possible because the community within Special Olympics believed in me and this major market newspaper staff accepted and included me. Another proud moment for me was the opportunity to interview Timothy Shriver, Chairman of our movement, and when I introduced him during the U.S. Business Meeting of all the CEOs of the Special Olympics North America Programs.

The future of Special Olympics is one where Special Olympics athletes are moving off the athletic field and into the workplace. Since becoming a Special Olympics athlete leader ten years ago, I have founded Special Chronicles, a nonprofit that gives respect and voice to people with special needs. Through podcasts, speaking and written stories, I have created a platform for those of us with disabilities to be understood and accepted by the mainstream community.

Together, as we lead the Inclusion Revolution, we can bring full inclusion to society at large.

I am thankful for all the opportunities I am provided through Special Olympics and for the second family that this movement has given me. Finally, I am grateful to be a Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger and share, on the global stage, how Special Olympics changes our lives for the better. Special Olympics truly is leading the Inclusion Revolution.

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