Susanne Parker of Andrews in Cherokee County was named the 2020 Special Olympics North Carolina Coordinator of the Year, according to Keith L. Fishburne, president/CEO of Special Olympics North Carolina. Parker received the award during the 2020 Special Olympics North Carolina Leadership Conference, held virtually on August 18, in recognition of her leadership of the local Special Olympics program in Cherokee County.
A retired special education teacher at Peachtree Elementary School of Cherokee County Schools as of June 2020, Parker will continue in her volunteer position with Special Olympics North Carolina, one that she has held for over 12 years. Serving 170 athletes, Special Olympics Cherokee County offers five Olympic-type sports for individuals with intellectual disabilities: athletics (track and field), bocce, bowling, swimming and volleyball.
In addition to planning the annual Far West Games, a competition event for western Special Olympics programs, Parker has prioritized sports and health programs development through an increase in individual contributions, general sponsorships, and service club participation that results in over $16,000 being raised annually. A mentor to both new and experienced Special Olympics volunteers, Parker is a positive, motivating agent for Special Olympics athletes, volunteers and fans alike.
“Special Olympics has been a passion of mine since I was in college in the 1970s,” Parker said. “I am honored to continue working with Special Olympics North Carolina and look forward to the day we can resume in-person practices and activities together.”
“Parker represents everything Special Olympics needs in a volunteer leader,” Fishburne said. “Her organizational skills, compassion and love of sports make her such a success.”
Special Olympics Cherokee County is currently recruiting new athletes, volunteers, coaches and sponsors. Interested individuals can reach Susanne Parker at email@example.com. To get involved in Special Olympics in any county in North Carolina, visit http://sonc.net/local-programs/.
Special Olympics North Carolina has a local program coordinator in each county of the state. This volunteer acts as the accredited representative responsible for leading Special Olympics activities within their county or community. This role includes, but is not limited to, recruiting enthusiastic community members to serve in leadership roles, attending educational training opportunities throughout the year, ensuring volunteers are properly trained and maintain certification status, connecting community resources to fund opportunities for local athletes, maintaining proper records, ensuring that all paperwork is submitted in a timely manner and managing the fundraising efforts of the local program.
About Special Olympics North Carolina
Since 1968, the organization has used the transformative power of sports to improve the lives of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Nearly 40,000 athletes in North Carolina inspire thousands of coaches, sports officials, local program committee members and event organizers involved in Special Olympics statewide. SONC offers year-round training and competition in 20 Olympic-type sports on local and state levels as well as health and wellness initiatives to improve the health status and increase access to community health resources for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Youth become agents of change through Unified Champion Schools, an education and sports-based program created by Special Olympics to build an inclusive environment among youth with and without intellectual disabilities as well as empower them to become youth leaders and create change in their community. Visit Special Olympics North Carolina at www.specialolympicsnc.com. Engage with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.