Special Olympics PEI athletes are thriving in roles on and off the playing fields. In 2020, Special Olympics PEI launched an Athlete Leadership Academy! The Academy is an opportunity for Island athletes, beyond sports training and competition, to gain knowledge and experience in a number of modules/courses. As athletes explore and complete these workshops they will build community and feel more empowered to reach their full potential.
Health Messenger, one of the four workshops available to Athlete Leaders, empowers Special Olympics Athletes to develop healthy lifestyles, influence other athletes to lead healthier lives, advocate within their communities for inclusion around health and wellness services, education and resources, and advocate for the health needs of people with ID. Health Messengers choose a focus area and serve as health and wellness leaders, educators, advocates, and role models that align with the mission and vision of Special Olympics PEI's Healthy Communities program.
Introducing our Health Messengers and Mentors:
Heidi Mallett & GENNA PHELAN
1️⃣ Heidi has been an athlete since 2008 participating in Golf, Snowshoe, Bocce, and 5 Pin-Bowling;
2️⃣ Genna has worked with SOPEI since 2011
3️⃣ Heidi is an Athlete Leader for both the Global and Canadian Athlete Leadership Councils;
4️⃣ Heidi wanted to be a Health Messenger to help other athletes be healthier and active in their daily lives;
5️⃣ Heidi and Genna encourage others to exercise daily and get out in the community!
Janet & Jackie Charchuk
1️⃣ Janet has been an athlete since 1998 in Golf, Bocce, 5-Pin Bowling, and Snowshoe;
2️⃣ Jackie has been volunteering with SOPEI in multiple roles since the 1980's and proud mom of 3 wonderful children;
3️⃣ Janet co-hosts our Annual Awards;
4️⃣ Janet wanted to be a Health Messenger to make a difference in the lives of her fellow athletes;
5️⃣ Janet and Jackie encourage you to never give up, reach for the stars, and dare to be who you are!
Lisa Bernard & Judy Gallant
1️⃣ Lisa has been an athlete since 2011, and participates in Bocce, 5-Pin Bowling, Synergy Fitness Performance Program, Soccer, Floor Hockey and Softball;
2️⃣ Judy has been volunteering with SOPEI in multiple roles since 2004 and is a proud mom of twin girls;
3️⃣ Lisa lists her biggest accomplishment in sport to date as winning Gold with Team PEI Floor Hockey at the 2020 SOC Winter Games in Thunder Bay;
4️⃣ Lisa wanted to be a Health Messenger to help her fellow athletes. Both Judy and Lisa encourage athletes to be ready to have some fun and go outside of their comfort zone!
5️⃣ Lisa participated in a UPEI research project, which, thanks to an app called AVIAL, allows her to create tasks she wants to do during the day, including some of the Health Messenger topics!
Ellen & Kathleen MacNearney
1️⃣ Ellen has been an athlete since 2008 and participates in Cross Country Skiing, 5-Pin Bowling, Swimming, Curling, Performance Programs, and Basketball;
2️⃣ Kathleen has been volunteering in multiple roles since 2013 and proud mom of 4 amazing adults;
3️⃣ Ellen has been Special Olympics Canada's Female Athlete of the Year TWICE!
4️⃣ Ellen wanted to be a Health Messenger to learn skills to help her throughout her life; Kathleen supports any skill-building and encourages others to consider the Athlete Leadership Academy too!
5️⃣ Ellen has a fantastic fruit smoothie recipe!
Cameron Gordon & Catherine MAcinnis
1️⃣ Cameron has been an athlete since 2009, and participates in Athletics, Powerlifting, Snowshoeing, and Swimming;
2️⃣ Catherine has been volunteering with SOPEI as a mentor since 2020 and a proud mom of 2 incredible children;
3️⃣ Cameron wanted to be a Health Messenger to hone his leadership skills;
4️⃣ Catherine explains being a leadership mentor gives her much more than she puts in, and feels inspired every time Cameron rises up to the challenge;
5️⃣ Cameron is very active on social media, sharing videos promoting ideas and activities for healthy living! He won the 2021 PEI Dancing with the Stars competition!