Stephanie Hammond is a leader

Five ways be a leader

by JACQUIE PETERSON

The day self-made leader Stephanie Hammond first participated in Special Olympics changed her life forever.  At age 18, Stephanie competed in her first Special Olympic track and field event held in her hometown in Martinez, Calif.

Stephanie Hammond plays bocce ball.

Stephanie Hammond plays bocce ball.

Participating made her happy because, finally, she got to take part in sports just like her brother, Steve.

Having a close relationship with her brother, Stephanid said, “I was always sad because I couldn’t be with my brother every day, and I was jealous that he was able to drive to school and to his many sports.”

Stephanie continues to compete. Golf, bocce ball (left), basketball, soccer and bowling are her go-to events.

Participation definitely built her confidence. But even bigger than sports, Stephanie also found her talent – which is making new friends.

Her first day of Special Olympics 20 years ago marks the beginning of a passion Stephanie never knew could exist. It’s safe to say that day back in 1998 is a day she’ll never forget.

Click here to find out how Stephanie befriended law enforcement around the world.

Becoming a self-advocate

Now recognized as a Law Enforcement Torch Run Athlete Ambassador, an International Global Ambassador for Special Olympics and a volunteer for Project Unify, Stephanie encourages others to do whatever it takes to overcome their biggest challenge.

She visits different communities, businesses, groups and schools, speaking up about bullying, acceptance, equality and respect for people with disabilities.

Stephanie says she felt she was often picked on and bullied in school. At one point, bullying led to a broken leg. But, no longer a victim of childhood bullying, Stephanie has developed into a strong self-advocate and leader.

“I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for the Special Olympics and law enforcement!” she said.

Stephanie gives these five tips to becoming a leader, which she learned in her role as a self-advocate:

Five ways to become a leader

  1. Stand up for what you believe in.
  2. Take initiative to make a difference.
  3. Believe in yourself.
  4. Be confident.
  5. Be a voice for people with intellectual disabilities.

Click here to find out how Stephanie befriended law enforcement around the world.

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