February 2024 Change Makers

February 2024 Change Makers

Jimmy Kropp

Athlete of the Month

Jimmy first got involved with Special Olympics Colorado when he and his family moved to Colorado in 2019. That year, he competed in bocce, which he had previously competed in, and also joined powerlifting, a sport he had never done before and soon became his favorite sport.

Jimmy’s is very involved in Special Olympics Colorado and enjoys doing a variety of things in addition to competing. He takes photos at events like the Polar Plunge and Plane Pull, gives speeches about Inclusive Health, is a Veteran Fitness Captain, and also makes fitness videos for the SOCO YouTube Channel.

Inclusive Health has become a big part of Jimmy’s life. He is a certified personal trainer and said that health and fitness are very important to him. He also enjoys helping people working in healthcare learn more about how to better serve people with intellectual disabilities, especially after some personal experience he had after moving to Colorado.

While Jimmy’s favorite part about SOCO is teaching healthcare professionals about Inclusive Health, he has many incredible memories. One being attending the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, FL, where he was on the Team Colorado bocce team. His team had the exciting opportunity to fly to Florida in a private plane, and he brought home a silver medal in singles and a gold medal in doubles.

Additionally, Jimmy was involved in the School of Strength Snack Zone videos that Special Olympics International recently released. He got to meet Alex Singleton from the Denver Broncos and worked with several other SOCO athletes. That was another great memory of Jimmy’s.

When Jimmy isn’t competing, you can find him at Home Depot, where he has been working for 5 years now and the last 3 of those years he has been working full time.

Congratulations on being recognized as the February Athlete of the Month, Jimmy!


Kathy Mikolasy

Coach of the Month

Kathy began coaching and volunteering with Special Olympics Colorado when she moved here in 1996. When she first arrived in the Vail Valley, she inquired about volunteering with the Adaptive Ski School at Gold Peak on Vail Mountain. Once she started doing that, she was told about the Special Olympics Ski Program and it sounded like it would be something she was interested in and would enjoy. “And, as they say, the rest is history and I have been involved with the SO ski program ever since,” said Kathy.

When she’s not coaching skiing, she is cheering on bowling and cycling athletes. “I believe that commitment is huge with the Special Needs population and consistency is of the utmost importance,” Kathy explained. “Since skiing is my main focus I do my very best to not miss a Sunday for our practices and to never miss a Regional or State Competition. Thinking back, I believe I have achieved that mission!”

Kathy mentioned that she has many favorite memories with Sepcial Olympics Colorado that it’s difficult to pic just one, but what came to her mind is the comradery she witnesses every time athletes and coaches are together. “They are not only athletes and coaches, but they are friends who cheer each other on and wish only success for one another,” Kathy said. “At our practices, as each team member arrives, there are hugs, claps and cheers. They truly love the togetherness and want only the best for each other. It brings tears to my eyes. As you know, many of our athletes are segregated in so many areas of their lives, but when we get together they are ‘one’ and they have formed a friendship group where they are safe, welcomed and loved.”

Kathy said that every Wednesday evening in the Vail area, there is a community Church Dinner at the Eagle River Presbyterian Church in Avon. For the past 15+ years, Kathy has attended and picks up 4 of athletes and they break bread together. “I have been told by some of the parents that their athlete would not miss it for the world. It is so fun to see them enjoy one another, laugh and talk about their day,” explained Kathy. “So many of our athletes don’t have much of a social network, so going to dinner each week is so many times a highlight for them. It is for me too!”

Kathy truly enjoys her time with Special Olympics. “As I sit here and compose this email, there are some tears that are falling down my cheeks. My connection with the athletes and coaches has enriched my life,” Kathy said. “And speaking of coaches, our team has the best of the best. And I know they feel the same as I do about enriching their lives. It is so evident by their commitment and connection with our athletes. Without our athletes and coaches my life would be missing something that is so important to me.”

Congratulations, Kathy, on being recognized as the February Coach of the Month!

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