Name: Collie Cha
From: Fresno, Ca
Grade: High School Sophomore
School: Mclane High School
Growing up with my older brother Colin Cha was a special gift to me because I
was inspired by his charismatic personality. At birth, Colin was
born with Down Syndrome and being the last daughter of 14 siblings, I
did not attend the same high school with him even though his age is
not that apart from mines. Being different in public or even in
stores, people would look at him and would think negativity and what
still disgust me today is their facial expression toward us like we
are some kind of freaks.
What hurt the most, is that we are special in a way and we should not be
treated awkward because of our looks, background, and especially our
indifferences. As time goes by, I joined a unique organization in
2016 at my school call, “Special Olympic”. Special Olympic is an
organization that gives thousand of students who have down syndrome
or intellectual disability a chances to become competitors and to
make their dream become true. Terms that we referred to students who
are intellectual disability or with down syndrome are call “Athlete”
and as the term we use for is “Coaches”.
Becoming a coach, we went on a 3 day trip to China Peak with our athlete that
was assigned to us. My responsibility was to take care of my athlete,
to become a mentor and most important to become a friend. It was the
most challenging assign job that was given to me because it was a
task that I had never experienced before. The athlete that had work
with me was name Richard and his age is the same as mine. At first, I
was shy and nervous working alongside with Richard but as we sat on
the bus, we greet each other with warm welcoming.
As the day end, I reflect on what I learned as a coach and what I learn
is that trust and patients are the two key to open a person’s
heart. I had never thought of quitting because I know that back at my
house I have a brother who have down syndrome as well. Becoming a
coach that helps other students become confident, is a gift that I as
an individual can give to other people. Richard was more than
athlete, he was mine friend that was competed against other students.
Even though if he won or loss, I will always cheer for him because on
the inside, we want to become champions.
Even today, becoming a mentor will help other succeed but becoming a
friend will always stay in your heart. I am looking forward to become
an icon for those students who have intellectual disability or with
down syndrome. There is a saying that, “A strong stand up for
themselves, but a stronger person stands up for other” by an Chris
Gardner. As for myself, I hope to see myself becoming a leader and
helping other to achieve their goal.