Athlete Highlight – Mary Stevens

Meet Mary Stevens, a Special Olympics Oregon athlete from Jackson County who’s been participating since 2002.  Mary competes in bocce, bowling and snowshoeing.  In 2014 Mary had the opportunity to represent SOOR at the USA Games in New Jersey where she brought home two silver medals in bowling.   

The pandemic has been isolating and depressing for Mary, as it’s been for many other athletes.  It’s been difficult not being able to see friends and teammates on a regular basis, and not having the ability to compete in SOOR sports.  But there has been a silver lining for Mary throughout this experience.  Mary started participating in SOOR Active’s fitness and wellness classes last summer and it’s provided her with a whole new perspective on life and she’s learning more about herself than she thought she knew.   

“I’m usually very shy.  When I met someone for the first time I would hide because I was really nervous and shy, but now that SOOR Active found me I haven’t been as shy as I used to be.  I’m much more brave than I used to be and I’m much more confident in myself than I used to be.  I have more friends than I’ve ever had and I’m not as isolated as I was.  I see more people virtually and am connected to many new friends.” 

Being involved in SOOR Active’s weekly classes has given Mary structure, made her feel a part of a community and given her things to look forward to.  She also really likes our class facilitators and says they’ve inspired her tremendously.  Mary’s favorite SOOR Active memory was attending Mindful Morning for the first time and learning helpful ways to approach stress, anxiety and overall mental wellness.  “I’d never done anything like that before and so I tried it and it was fun!  It helps when I get really frustrated. I will take 5 deep breaths and tell myself it’s okay, you can calm down, just relax.”  Mary has also stepped up as a leader in Mindful Mornings and is helping lead guided meditations for the class.  

 Thank you for being such an amazing part of our SOOR community, Mary!