Carolyn's Road to Rio

Hi everyone!

My name is Carolyn, and I'm a student at Pace University in NYC and an intern at Special Olympics NYC! This summer, I will be volunteering at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro! This is a dream come true for me because after college, I want to work for the Olympic Movement, whether it be for the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Paralympic Committee, or Special Olympics. The Olympic Movement is a force that unites people across cultures and countries and inspires people to be better than they ever thought they could be. As a volunteer, I'll have a hand in making this happen!

One of my life mottos is by 1984 Olympic gymnast, Mary Lou Retton: “Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.” Going to the Olympics is my passion, and I will be there in August volunteering and working on my Honors senior thesis. However, I need some help to get there!

My Honors senior thesis is about introducing Unified Sports, a Special Olympics program where athletes with and without intellectual disabilities compete on the same teams, into the Olympics. While volunteering, I will be able to interview the people  I meet (spectators, other volunteers, Olympians, Rio 2016 staff, etc.) and ask them their opinions on making this happen.

I received an Honors grant of $1000 to cover my airfare, but I will need some help covering the cost of food and living expenses while in Brazil. I am staying from August 1 to August 24 in Jardim Botânico, and I'm working really hard to be able to afford it. Your donation means so much to me because it means that my dream of going to the Olympics will happen.  After the London 2012 Olympics, I made a promise to myself that I would be at the next Olympics, and because of you, I will be there volunteering, researching, and doing what I'm meant to do.

I was accepted as a volunteer in 2015. However, I still don't know what my exact position is. As soon as I know, I will put it in an update on this page! As a volunteer, I will probably be working at one of the Games venues to help a sporting event take place, and I will likely be able to meet the Olympians who compete there!

I am so grateful to everyone for your support. Whether it is a monetary donation, sharing my campaign on social media, wishing me luck, or helping me to prepare in other ways, I could not do it without any of you. I will remember these Olympic Games and everyone who helped me get there for the rest of my life. I cannot thank you enough.

If you are interested in where I am in my Olympic journey or what I have been doing in the Olympic Movement so far, check out my blog:!

Here's a photo of me volunteering at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, which was one of the best experiences of my life. I think these Olympics will change that!

Me with the World Games athletes in the Empire State Building:

At the World Games Opening Ceremony with two Special Olympics NY athletes!

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Carolyn Phillips 
New York, NY
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