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February 2021 Change Makers

Micah Compton
Athlete of the Month

Micah Compton is a Special Olympics Colorado athlete who has been competing since he was 11 years old. Aspen DeField, a Special Olympics Colorado coach, encouraged Micah to get involved. Micah has competed in swimming, basketball, soccer, flag football, softball, and tennis. His two favorites are softball and basketball.

Micah is also an athlete in the Unified program at Legend High School, which is a National Unified Champion Banner School. Micah said the best part about attending a national banner school is all the new friendships he has made through sports, classes, as a Link Crew Leader and as a member of Student Government. He also loves seeing his school recognized for including others.

One of his favorite memories with Special Olympics Colorado was when he spoke at the 2019 Hall of Fame. He spoke with fellow athlete Anna Casebolt and Unified Partner, Emi Carlson. Micah gave a speech to more than 1,000 attendees about how the Unified program at Legend High School changed his life and made him feel more included.

Recently, Micah had the opportunity to participate in Special Olympics Capitol Hill Day, where he served as a self-advocate and educated lawmakers and their staff about the significant consequences that arise from the stigma and stereotypes faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Congratulations Micah on being recognized as our February Athlete of the Month!

Mary Macleod
Coach of the Month

Mary Macleod has been coaching for Special Olympics Colorado for 15 years and has been involved with athletics, bocce, bowling, cycling, snowshoe, and speed skating. Her journey began 37 years ago when her son, Jeremy, was old enough to begin competing for Special Olympics. She was always there at competitions and practices to cheer on her son and his teammates. Once they joined the Southsiders program, she began to help out some of the coaches. “Next thing I knew, I was hooked,” said Mary.

Mary’s favorite memories as a coach are centered around the times when an athlete accomplishes something great, no matter how big or small.  She explains that it might be a cyclist who finally understands how to keep pedaling, an athlete who makes the furthest long jump ever in competition, or the athlete who gets to compete at Nationals or a World Games.  “All those times when an athlete shares his or her biggest moments with me are just priceless,” she said.

Mary said that being a coach for Special Olympics brings so much joy and purpose to her life and that it’s all about the athletes. “It’s the friendships and feeling like part of a big family,” she said. “And it’s the fun we have along the way.”

Jenny Montoya, Special Olympics Colorado’s Volunteer Manager, stated that Mary is a valued membered of our coaching community. This past year she has done a phenomenal job, keeping athletes active and engaged, while meeting all COVID-19 safety guidelines and ensuring athlete safety is the top priority at practice. Mary is always willing to go the extra mile- and always with a positive attitude and a smile on her face. Jenny recently attended one of her practices and said it was incredible to see her connection with the athletes, parents, and fellow coaches. She is actively involved in many of our Coaches Corner sessions, and just last October, served as part of a coach panel who helped to present on the topic of Team Fundraising.

Mary, we are honored to have you as part of the Special Olympics Colorado family. Congratulations on being recognized as our February Coach of the Month!

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Heidi Barneck Athlete of the Month Heidi began competing for Special Olympics Colorado in 1997. Since then, she’s competed in basketball, soccer, bocce, and volleyball. Her favorite Special Olympics Colorado