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Joseph Stewart

Coach • Massapequa Park, NY • Floor Hockey

Joseph Stewart is an adaptive physical education teacher from Massapequa Park, N.Y., set to attend the 2017 World Winter Games as a Unified floor hockey coach.

Stewart first became involved with Special Olympics 14 years ago after forming a track and field team. From there, Stewart added more sports and has since built quite the Special Olympics powerhouse. His high school Special Olympics program has won its fair share of tournaments.

What Stewart thought would be a temporary stop in his teaching career with special education PE quickly became a life passion.

“After my first year … I realized that this is what I want to do for a career,” Stewart said. “Special Olympics has really impacted my life. Despite the challenges that I may face, the athletes have taught me to try my best, keep moving forward and to never give up.”

This will be Stewart’s first World Games experience and he doesn’t take it for granted.

“(It’s) a tremendous honor,” he said. “Seeing my Special Olympics athlete and the (Unified Partners) form a team is a powerful achievement. On this team there are no judgments, no labels … just teammates. It is truly a life-changing experience for all who are involved.”

Stewart said he is most looking forward to meeting other Special Olympics athletes and coaches from around the world.

To Stewart, Special Olympics is so much more than just sports. It’s about opportunities both on and off the field of play, increased self-esteem, setting and achieving goals and so much more.

“Overall, I feel that Special Olympics has provided athletes and their families an authentic sports experience, which comes with dignity and pride,” Stewart said.

 

“Special Olympics is important because it provides an avenue for people who might not have it elsewhere – to compete with their peers and experience the pride and dignity of being an athlete.”

 
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