Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Jocelynn Vigo & Kristy Whitekettle

#50for50: Volume 21
▪️ Jocelynn Vigo & Kristy Whitekettle
▪️ 14 & 41 years old
▪️ Berks County

Jocelynn: “Gymnastics. That was my first sport. I was really scared, but they were very welcoming. I was afraid I was going to mess up or fall on the balance beam. But I did floor, vault, balance beam and bars. I like being on a team. I like making friends. My favorite is vault. It just kinda speaks to me. … The first time I went to Penn State was in 2016. It was weird to stay in a dorm room. I liked meeting the Penn State athletes at the dance and the Creamery was cool. … I do diamond art. There’s these little diamonds and you take them, one by one, and put it on this canvas. I like to learn how to do makeup and I like to bake, too.”

Kristy: ” School was very rough for Jocelynn. To look at her, you don’t see disabilities. To other students, it was just, ‘she’s the weaker one.’ There was some bullying and things like that. It was not a very good situation. A lot of that weighed on her, being teased and picked on. Her way of coping with her disabilities was to find ways to hide them so people didn’t know they were there. But going to Special Olympics gave her the opportunity to realize, ‘it’s OK, this is how I’m made. I can be me and be free and it’s OK.’ They were welcoming and accepting and helped her see it was OK to be who she is. … Having worked in the field for 20-some years, I knew that Special Olympics was available for Jocelynn. I was looking for somewhere that she could participate that was a little more open and accepting of her abilities. A place that she wouldn’t feel embarrassed or stick out from the rest. I was previously a vocational instructor for adults with developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities and recently I went back to college and got a degree in social science and psychology. I’m a Program Specialist at Prospectus Berco, a vocational center. … She did really enjoy staying on campus. She felt important. She got her Penn State pass and she kept it. It was her first big, ‘put herself out there’ kind of thing. That was big for her because she does have some anxiety, so she doesn’t always step out of her comfort zone. We still have that pass hanging on the wall with her medals and it says ‘No. 1 Gymnast.'”

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Special Olympics Pennsylvania

The mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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