Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Kailey Jefferson

#50for50: Volume 34
▪️ Kailey Jefferson
▪️ 23 years old
▪️ Schuylkill County

“I started in 2013 for volleyball. One of my friends told my mom about it and I was like ‘Cool, I want to try it.’ It sounded interesting. And when I did start, it was a lot of fun because I got to know people really quickly. I didn’t compete my first year at all, I was just practicing. We didn’t really have enough people to compete, but the second year is when I started doing bowling and softball and stuff. My first competition for volleyball was in Hershey and we got a gold medal. I couldn’t go to Penn State because I had high school graduation. But the next year I got to go and I got 4th and I met some Penn State Football players and stuff and it was a lot of fun. I even met Sue Paterno at the dance. … The family atmosphere is my favorite — being really close with your friends, meeting people at competitions. I even got to carry the banner one year for my county at Penn State. … One year I met one of my favorite Penn State athletes, a volleyball player by the name of Nia Reed. I’ve been a fan of Penn State Volleyball for the past two years and I love every minute of it. This past year, I was a guest assistant coach for a day. I got to go to practice in the morning and then I got to go to dinner with them and stuff. And then I went down on the court after the game and I saw some of the players. I got to know one of my other favorites, Serena Gray, and she even gave us tickets to one of the games and the seats were really good. My favorite part was getting the group picture after the practice with all the athletes. And to meet the assistant coach, Katie [Schumacher-Cawley]. She is really nice and I’m still in contact with her and I talk to her sometimes. … I really like Broadway, musical theater type stuff. I’ve seen four different Broadway shows, Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Les Miserables and Come From Away. I got to go backstage when I saw Cats for my 21st birthday. I like nature photography, too. When I first got my phone I started taking pictures. I didn’t get a phone until after I graduated high school, and maybe a year or so after that is when I started getting really into taking pictures. I look for if the sky is really cool or birds or flowers that are really pretty. Or creating your own photography, like bubbles or animals — if you can get them. Which, I’ve learned to take animal pictures because of my dog, Jackson. He’s five years old and has his own Instagram. Last year, I helped out Sally at Summer Games [with the therapy dogs] Max and Lacey. I was making sure they wouldn’t get into trouble and helping with leashes, giving them water and greeting the athletes when they would come up to see them. … I hope to maybe work some day. Maybe something in the floral industry or a greenhouse. Or be a professional photographer, maybe. I love the ocean, the beach, and being around my family. When I do competitions, they come and cheer me on. Especially at Penn State. The last day, my brother and dad and two aunts and uncle would usually come and cheer. … Our county doesn’t have too many athletes. I would love to try and get more people involved, but it’s kind of hard. Softball this past year we didn’t have anyone, which was really sad because I really wanted to do it. And we didn’t have any volleyball this year either because we didn’t have a coach. I hope we’ll be able to do it in the fall again if it’s not too bad with the coronavirus.”

Published by

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s