BY: USA GAMES CORRESPONDENT, MIKE GASTINEAU
Ask anyone who works within Special Olympics and they’ll tell you that a key element to continued success within the organization is the work done by volunteers. Every day, in cities and towns throughout America, Special Olympics employees count on people who are willing to do the work required to keep things moving forward without asking for a paycheck.
“Our lifeblood is all of our volunteers,” said St. Louis metro area program director Jocelyn Diehl. “But when you get someone who is interested in helping at the next level, that’s going above and beyond.”
Diehl is speaking of Audrey Verret who she nominated for recognition by the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in our #ImAGameChanger campaign.
Verret first got involved with Special Olympics as a college student at Washington State University. After college, she lived in Los Angeles and worked as a volunteer there for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. She helped out with other Special Olympics activities in Southern California and when her career took her to a new job in St. Louis, she immediately began to look for ways to join Special Olympics Missouri.
“For someone to be so passionate about an organization that they actively seek you out after moving is inspiring,” Diehl said. She thinks there were pragmatic reasons for Verret to continue working with Special Olympics.
“She didn’t know anyone here and I think she thought this was a good way to connect with a similar community to what she had in Los Angeles. She’s created friends and family through her relationships with people in Special Olympics. It’s benefitted her but it’s also benefitted us with all she’s done.”
What she’s done is remarkable.