Bank of America Helps to Grow Athlete Leadership Program

The Athlete Leadership Program, sponsored by Bank of America, is an initiative designed to empower athletes to find their voice and become Global Messengers for Special Olympics Northern California (SONC).

Global Messengers are Special Olympics athletes who help spread the message and vision of the movement as well as the benefits they have gained by participating in Special Olympics. Along with attending and speaking at Special Olympics events, fundraisers and meetings, Global Messengers are instilled with confidence and equipped with a variety of new skills that they can transfer into the workplace, their school and/or community.

Recently, SONC hosted an Athlete Leadership Training in Concord for 12 athletes and their respective speech coaches. The two-day training covered the ins & outs of Special Olympics and SONC; the roles and importance of athlete leadership; speech writing and preparation; public speaking tips; and more.

“It was fun and I enjoyed it a lot,” said Angela, a SONC Global Messenger. “I learned a lot during the weekend. It helped me to start to get a little more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd.”

Whether the Global Messenger had presented dozens of times or had never spoken in public before, the training course was designed to help them grow as athlete leaders and empower them to become even greater ambassadors for SONC.

“This is an unbelievable experience,” said Andrea, a parent and speech coach. “As with all Special Olympics events, it is something that cannot be explained simply with words. As a parent, it is wonderful to see how far your child has come.”

In three trainings since 2018, roughly dozens of Global Messengers have been trained through the Athlete Leadership Program. Many have spoken at an assortment of events, including large conferences, school assemblies, fundraisers and more.

Bank of America is helping to make the Athlete Leadership Program possible through the Bank of America Foundation grant program, which supported more than 70 local organizations with an incredible $1.85 million in funding this year. Find out about the Athlete Leadership program.

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To invite an athlete to speak at your business or event, please contact