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State Honoree

Sherrill Sandstrom

Colorado

Sherrill Sandstrom, 17, of Holyoke, Colo., a senior at Holyoke High School, was cited for her role in organizing and coaching an adaptive aquatics swim team for developmentally disabled youth in her community. As a member of her school’s Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) club, Sherrill and two friends were looking for a volunteer service project and discovered that the local Special Olympics organization offered no water activities for the developmentally disabled. Since she is a swimmer and lifeguard, a water-related activity was a natural choice for Sherrill. She promoted her idea and recruited swimmers at special education classes in local elementary schools, and persuaded other high school students to volunteer their time. The Red Cross donated swimsuits and a Red Cross certified lifeguard and coach donated her time to assist with team practices. Sherrill and two other students trained to become swim coaches and received certification from Special Olympics. Of the 16 young people who participated on Sherrill’s team, eight advanced to the state Special Olympics competition. “The volunteers who helped with this project learned to be patient and compassionate role models,” said Sherrill. “We also reaped the rewards of helping others accomplish their goals.”