I think if we have been on the Internet or social media at all recently, we are aware of the negativity and at times very sad about often misleading information that is being shared.

Also, there are some very hard and difficult stories about what people are doing to each other. 

I know many who have said they are tired of it and have even stepped away from the Internet for a season.

So with all that being said I want to share a story with you that may give you some hope and encouragement. In sharing this, I am praying it will encourage you to see the good things that are happening in our beautiful community.

A story that despite our differences - there are still people who are loving and are caring for others well.

My oldest boy is on the Autism spectrum. He is in middle school and plays on a unified Special Olympics basketball team through Sutherlin High School. 

Recently Sutherlin High School was host to a Douglas County Special Olympics tournament. Many people experiencing disability participated alongside partners who would encourage them in their skills and participation of the game.

I have always been super impressed with what I have seen at those games and also by the partners of the Sutherlin students. They are pretty amazing and have great coaches who encourage that camaraderie and teamwork of their athletes and partners.

But as I sat in the bleachers on Saturday morning cheering on my son and his team, I witnessed something very powerful and moving.

My son’s team, Blue Thunder, was playing Roseburg High unified team. I noticed a very tall, beautiful young lady work super hard at encouraging the athletes on her own team.

But as the game progressed, I noticed she spoke to my son and asked him his name. Then she addressed him by his name and pointed to where he should be standing and guarding - it happened a few times during the game. Not only with my son to but to the other players.

I got really choked up. She didn't need to do it, as it wasn't her team, but she did and it was noticed and appreciated by this mom.

I think this shows what unified sports and these types of nonprofit organizations are doing. The motto for Special Olympics is “Inspire Greatness”. I definitely witnessed greatness being inspired on Saturday through that young lady, but the ripples of it will go on for a long time.

I don't think that young lady probably was even aware of how much her simple gestures and encouragement meant to me and others who sat on the sidelines watching. I think this story, though simple, needs to be shared.

Whether you are part of something like Special Olympics or just out in the community, we always have opportunity to inspire greatness. This has challenged me as I sit behind my computer or phone screen before I post something, to stop and be aware if this is indeed inspiring greatness.

Also as a mom raising three boys, this inspires me to be always teaching and encouraging my boys to be respectful to everyone and to be inspiring greatness in my children every day.

So to the young lady at Roseburg High School - thank you for inspiring greatness in the lives of those you meet daily, to my son and also to your community.

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