University of California - Santa Barbara
Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations
Neither Ray nor I knew what miracles were possible. At one hundred and eighty-five pounds, five foot ten inches tall, and a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome, Ray was a Special Olympic athlete with a dream to become a champion, but his mental handicap blocked his path.
Although my family and I had long volunteered for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Meals on Wheels, and other charity organizations, helping the Special Olympics never interested me. I needed community service hours for a leadership group, however, and decided to apply to be a Special Olympics referee and mentor.
In November, the chair of the Special Olympics committee introduced me to Ray, the young man whose mentor I would become. We had only one week together before his upcoming floor hockey championship. At first, Ray was unmotivated and uncooperative; this made me feel impatient and uninterested as well. I tried repeatedly to make him practice and improve his athleticism, but at the end of the day I felt about as unmotivated as Ray did. It wasn’t until the day I found Ray crying in the back of the locker room that a sudden realization struck me. Sobbing, he explained that he felt like a poor athlete and an embarrassment to his father, an overly competitive...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 968 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7748 literature essays, 2170 sample college application essays, 323 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in