Swim certified as Special Olympics Illinois Global Messenger

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Brendan Swim of Rock Island was one of eleven Special Olympics athletes to become a certified Special Olympics Global Messenger at a training session at Northeast DuPage Special Recreation Association (NEDSRA) in Addison in April. A Global Messenger is a Special Olympics athlete who communicates the message and vision of the organization, while also sharing the benefits they have gained from participating. Each Global Messenger completes a two-day training session with a focus on public speaking and presentations.

Various groups throughout the state call upon Global Messengers to give presentations about their involvement with Special Olympics in hopes of increasing awareness about the program. Special Olympics Illinois launched the first Global Messenger program in 1997. This year’s class of Global Messengers brings Illinois’ total number of certified messengers to 75.

Brendan has participated in Special Olympics for 14 years, competing in athletics, bowling and swimming.

In his free time, Brendan enjoys playing baseball, being an usher at his church, learning about history and science, and volunteering with the Knights of Columbus.

Brendan is the son of Pam Swim, who is a Special Olympics coach. His mother attended the training session and will serve as his speech mentor.

“Global Messengers have proven to be a popular and successful way to demonstrate the benefits of Special Olympics participation,” said Karen Milligan, Director of Families and Athlete Leadership Programs for Special Olympics Illinois. “The people who have benefited directly from Special Olympics indeed make the most credible and effective spokespeople for the organization.”

If you are interested in having Brendan speak to your organization, club or gathering, please contact Cathy Betar, Area Director for Special Olympics Illinois Western/Area 4, at 309-734-5903.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 6,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support.  If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at