Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Scoop: 2012 Mid Atlantic Regional Award Winner, Scott Gerson

MID ATLANTIC REGIONAL WINNER Scott Gerson was nominated by Special Olympics Staff member, Chass Seymour, as well as others that took notice in the exceptional example he sets for others.  Hevolunteers for Special Olympics, has been active in various Spread the Word to End the Word efforts, and participates in Special Olympics Project UNIFY.  Here's what some of the nominators had to say about him.

Nominated by Special Olympics Staff member, Chass SeymourAthletics are a close second in Scott's world. His first passion is to always strive to be an awesome human being and role model for people of all ages and abilities. Scott Gerson is finishing up his sophomore year of high school, but has been involved with Special Olympics Maryland in various roles since 2006. He began volunteering locally in Southern MD with the tennis program, working his way up to being not only a volunteer but a full-on advocate off the court and an active participant on the court. He now serves as a leader on the Youth Unity Committee (among other committees and focus groups), competes as a Unified Partner in Unified Sports at his high school, coordinates the "Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign" with his school staff and peers, and volunteers (when not completing Internship hours) for Special Olympics Project UNIFY as a social media specialist. Not only does this young man speak up about bullying, he shows by effortless example that inclusion works! Scott makes it easy and fun for me to do my job as an SOMD staff member, Unified Sports trainer, and huge fan of inclusion. He honestly embodies and portrays what all human beings should strive for.

Susan Gerson, his mother
Scott has been an active volunteer and unified partner in Special Olympics for the past five years. In addition to spending nearly every weekend at practice, local qualifiers, and state games, he has spread his involvement into the local high school by joining the Special Olympics club, fundraising for and participating in the Polar Bear Plunge, and joining the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. His Facebook page proudly promotes his involvement in Special Olympics and Camp Pals, and he works at the state level on the Project Unify youth committee. As a parent, I would not normally nominate my own child for an award, but candidly his infectious enjoyment of Special Olympics has impacted our whole family and all of his friends. Recently a parent of one of his basketball teammates told me she wished my son went to school with hers. Her son tells her that his classmates pretend to be nice when adults are around but then ignore him in the halls and at lunch. She wanted me to know that Scott would never do that. She could tell that his relationships were genuine. I was so proud!

A few words from Scott
I began my work with Special Olympics in 2006 when I first volunteered for my local tennis program.  If you have had any experience with people with intellectual disabilities, you will understand why I instantly fell in love with the program.  Since then, I have also participated in many other sports, including golf, softball, track and field, basketball, and t-ball, through Unified Sports and Project Unify programs.  As my involvement grew, I became a member of the Maryland Youth Activation Committee and the Special Olympics Club at my school.  The real reason that I continue to volunteer and advocate for people with intellectual disabilities is because I really enjoy building bonds and lasting friendships with the athletes and other members of the Special Olympics community.  Through my involvement I have taught the athletes about not only sports but also courage, cooperation, and confidence, traits that will help them in sports as well as all other aspects of their lives.  

Here are some links to charitable organizations that Scott has helped.

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