October 2022 Change Makers

Benjamin “BJ” Archer

Athlete of the Month

BJ first got involved with Special Olympics Colorado five years ago. His father was asked to become a volunteer and he joined his dad initially as a volunteer, and then he became an athlete with the Spectrum Skyhawks. Now, BJ competes in basketball, soccer and flag football.

“I love sports and I’ve been doing sports since I was in elementary school,” said BJ. “In the past, I didn’t feel very welcome and accepted. Now I feel welcome and accepted.

Recently, BJ had the opportunity to compete with the Spectrum Skyhawks soccer team at the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, FL. The Skyhawks gave it their all and came home with a 4th place ribbon!

Congratulations, BJ, on being recognized as the October Athlete of the Month!


Johanna Long

Coach of the Month

Johanna has been a head coach for Special Olympics Colorado for less than a year now, but has been a Unified partner and assistant coach for 4 years. She originally got involved through a few former students of hers in order to stay connected with them. Over the years, she has coached soccer, t-ball and bowling, and has also been involved with basketball and softball.

When asked about her favorite Special Olympics Colorado memory, Johanna said, “I don’t have a specific favorite memory, but things that come to mind are the amazing friendships that form between athletes and partners and the joy and pride that our athletes feel when they accomplish a goal or win a game.”

Johanna said she enjoys coaching for Special Olympics Colorado because she enjoys giving individuals with intellectual disabilities access to these activities. “I love how it helps them develop skills as athletes, supports their physical and mental health, and gives them social opportunities,” she explained. “I love the impact that having a Unified team has on our athletes and our partners alike. Coaching for Special Olympics Colorado has helped keep me active and has given me the opportunity to support my community.”

Overall, Johanna says she truly believes that the work Special Olympics is doing has an incredibly positive impact and she loves being part of that impact!

Thank you, Johanna, for all you do and congratulations on being recognized as the October Coach of the Month!

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