Support Coordination

Dena Dives into the Community through Special Olympics

April 26, 2024

Dena poses for a closeup photo holding her pickleball paddle. She is wearing atheletic clothes.A local athlete is making waves, both literally and figuratively. Dena, a multi-talented Special Olympics participant, has found more than just medals in her athletic pursuits; she’s found a sense of connection and community.

Dena’s Support Coordinator Fawsia ensures she has funding to pay for Special Olympics tournaments, practices and transportation. This support helps showcase her skills in swimming, volleyball, basketball, bowling, softball and pickleball – with swimming being her favorite.

This year, Dena was approached to take on a new role with Special Olympics as an assistant coach. Her experience swimming since the age of eight made her the perfect fit.

“I just jump in if they need extra help,” Dena explains. “We have to teach them how to swim. And then if other people have trouble swimming in the lanes, we also jump in and help with that.”

Always eager to try something new, Dena recently picked up pickleball and encourages others to expand their horizons.

“I would say to people just try it and see if you like it, it’s not like you have to commit,” said Dena. “And you get to meet new people.”

Dena enjoys being active through competing and coaching, but expressed that her favorite part of Special Olympics is building connections and engaging with the community.