Hi! My name is Amanda Fontenot. I am currently a junior at McNeese State University in Lake Charles; I am majoring in Early Childhood Development with a focus on Special Education.
I began volunteering with Special Olympics my freshman year of high school at the Fall Classic held in Carencro (2006), and never stopped. I have always known about Special Olympics, and felt very strongly about the equal opportunity and social justice for those with "disabilities" mainly because of my cousin, Dennis.
Dennis was born with Williams Syndrome, and adopted by my Aunt and Uncle when he was seven. I never saw him as different when I was young, I didn't even know he was different. I loved Dennis because he was Dennis. This is the type of thinking I want to instill in others, especially the young children I will soon begin teaching.
In 2009-2010, I joined R.I.S.E. Up a youth committee dedicated to respect, education, support, and inclusion. The summer of 2010 I was able to attend the YAC (Youth Activation Committee) National Conference in Omaha Nebraska. The conference only strengthened my hope for equality and social justice. It was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had, not only in Special Olympics, but in my life. It taught me that this mission, though sometimes hard, should never be forgotten. This does not only affect Louisiana, it affects the whole world. We have a global stigma to change and that will be the most demanding, yet rewarding involvement.