Like so many dedicated volunteers, Dave and Linda Clements’ involvement with Special Olympics started out small. And just like so many others, it quickly turned into more.
“We started going to our grandson Keith’s track and field practices and asked if they needed any help coaching,” Linda explained. “The next thing we know, we were coaching. We have coached basketball, track and field, bocce, swimming and bowling.”
The Clements have been volunteering for Special Olympics for six years now and have also coached youth soccer for more than 15 years. They say that the most gratifying experience has been the close relationships that they’ve been able to build with Special Olympics athletes, their families and other volunteers.
“You can see that you’re making a difference in their lives,” said Linda. “There are always those moments when you see that an athlete has finally made their goal. It is a good feeling to see the improvements and happiness that each athlete takes away from each and every practice. These little changes really make a difference in the lives of the athletes.”
As parents and grandparents themselves, the Clements can relate to the joy that families experience with the athlete’s success. And while they never seek recognition for their work, hearing from those involved means the world.
“This year after Spring Games and Summer Games, we had various parents come up to Dave and I,” said Linda. “They wanted to thank us for all the work that we have done with their athletes. This is the moment that you know why you became a Special Olympics coach.”