Matt Paoletti is one busy guy.
From participating in Special Olympics Buncombe County to acting in a local theater and volunteering around his community, the Asheville resident truly enjoys staying active.
“Being this active gives him a chance to be included and show others that there is more to someone with developmental disabilities than what is portrayed,” his mother, Susan Paoletti, said.
Paoletti, 26, has been participating with Special Olympics North Carolina for approximately 17 years and became a Global Messenger in 2007. He competes and trains in a variety of sports: bocce, soccer, bowling, basketball, golf, sailing equestrian, powerlifting and soccer. He also played on his high school baseball and golf team while maintaining his competition schedule for SONC.
In the SONC state level basketball tournament in 2014, Paoletti and his basketball team practiced diligently and were ecstatic to bring home a gold medal!
“It was such a rewarding moment to see all of their hard work pay off,” Susan said.
Paoletti’s father, Steven, coaches his basketball team and his mother coaches bocce.
Apart from being an athlete, Paoletti enjoys performing on stage. For the past four years, he has been acting with the D.E.F.T Theater Arts Program, a community theater program that brings together people with disabilities and those without. He recently played the Nutcracker in a holiday production and has also performed in Robin Hood, The Wizard of Oz, and an adaptation of Peter and the Wolf.
“He really budgets his time and maintains a year-round training schedule,” Susan said. “We’re lucky to live in an area where everyone is always supportive of people with special needs.”
Paoletti is a student at the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and volunteers his time with Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Asheville Therapeutic Recreation. Along with his busy schedule, Paoletti loves playing video games and going to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.
“He is considered a leader by his peers and is an all-around nice guy,” Susan said.
Congratulations Matt Paoletti, the 2015 January “Athlete of the Month”!
Ice Cream – Chocolate
Food – Pizza
TV Show – The Andy Griffith Show
Sports Team – Panthers
Favorite Musician – Elton John, Michael Buble