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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Jayson Wanner

Jayson Wanner

Montana

Jayson Wanner, 13, of Great Falls, Mont., an eighth-grader at East Middle School, volunteers to assist kids with special needs both as a unified partner for a Special Olympics athlete and as an assistant in the special education room at his school. Jayson's mother is a special ed teacher at a local high school, and he wanted to get involved in helping young people with disabilities, too. He asked to have his school schedule changed so that he could work in the special ed room at East Middle School, helping the students there with their assignments and doing whatever else the teacher wants him to do.

Jayson saw another opportunity to pursue his volunteer interests when he heard about the Special Olympics program. He contacted the organization and the head coach of a local team, and then signed on as a unified partner to help an athlete with disabilities compete in Special Olympics sporting events. Soon after, Jayson persuaded his mother and sister to become Special Olympics volunteers, as well. "I have pride in what I do," said Jayson. "All of the people I have worked with, as well as myself, have benefited."