For Chris Meservey, Special Olympics is a part of the family.
“My son has special needs and he started to swim with Special Olympics,” he said. “I like being around my son, so naturally, I like to be part of what he does. This desire was strengthened after going to his first meet, when I realized the magnitude of the event and the profound affect that it has on the community. I decided then that I wanted to be a part of it – and not just as a spectator.”
Meservey, a teacher and coach at Centennial High School in Las Vegas, has now been a volunteer coach in swimming for the past five years. He attended the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in 2015 and helped lead Team Nevada’s swimmers at this year’s USA Games in Seattle. He has enjoyed seeing the growth of athletes, both within the pool and in social situations, schools and in the community.
“I enjoy watching the athletes develop into social beings, knowing that they are among people who love and accept them,” said Meservey. “I know that children with special needs are often lonely and don’t get the opportunity to develop deep friendships. I love seeing their relationships grow.”
Along with his relationship with the athletes, Meservey cherishes the bonds that he’s made with other parents and family members who can lean on each other for support.
“During my first year coaching, I remember talking to parents about my own experience with my son and Special Olympics and seeing their faces light up with hope,” he explained. “They realize that their children can be happy and grow. You see, parents with special needs often do not have a support group. In Special Olympics, they find people with whom they can share their journey.”