Special Olympics Glastonbury

The Local Chapter Relies on a Dedicated Group of Volunteers

For more than 30 years a group of parents, siblings, students, and teachers have worked together volunteering to provide athletic opportunities for a select group of people.

The Special Olympics Glastonbury team was started in 1990 when Gina Vance, special education teacher and then Director of Special Education, had a vision for her students with special needs. She recruited founders Tina Yenkner, parent and Physical Education teacher and Janice Skene, Physical Education teacher, who have continued their coaching and leadership since the program’s inception.

Today, the Glastonbury delegation has about 100 volunteers and coaches who provide training and competition to about 80 local athletes in competitive sports - alpine skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, track and field, croquet, bowling and Unified Basketball. Unified teams join people with and without intellectual disabilities.

"Several of our sports provide the Unified team experience in relay form," says Lucie Carangelo, a coordinator for the local chapter.  

“The teams compete and train year-round. The program allows athletes to compete once they reach 8 years of age. Currently our athletes range in age from 10- 58. ”

Currently, Lucie and Stephanie Norwood are Local Coordinators along with Tina Yenkner, working together to manage teams, recruit coaches and partners, maintain partnerships within the Special Olympic Connecticut office staff, procure practice sites to name a few of their responsibilities.

“Lucie is instrumental in organizing teams and maintaining many requirements for the State office. Stephanie is hands-on working with athletes in various sports and helping them reach their potential”. Tina says.

Volunteers include parents, siblings, students, teachers, and various community members who want to help the athletes realize their dreams of taking part in competitive sports. “Without the dedicated volunteers we wouldn’t exist, they enhance the lives of all of our athletes.” Lucie says. “We are always welcoming new volunteers.”

Special Olympics Connecticut offers 27 Olympic-type sports and hosts four state games annually, as well as additional qualifiers and competitions throughout the year, the state group's website says. 

“Our program is unique and a very family-oriented program including parents and siblings, not only as coaches and partners, but also in the fun filled social events.”  Lucie adds. "Sports programs offer much more for all participants than just skill development and competition. Our athletes enjoy the social aspect of being with their friends while attempting to reach their potential, especially if it involves winning a medal."

Special Olympics Glastonbury

Lucie Carangelo



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