Naomi Fei

In the fall of 2008 I founded the Marlins swim team, a swim team designed specifically for special needs athletes. As this team was the first of its kind in our region, planning and coaching it was certainly a service learning experience. Between fundraising, advertising, scheduling practices, and managing the team I felt my organizational and leadership abilities were positively challenged. Coaching the athletes and interacting with their parents also offered opportunities for me to recognize my own weaknesses and build upon my strengths. I particularly treasure this service learning activity as I am a pre-medical student and a former competitive swimmer. By coaching this team I have the unique opportunity to apply my talents and classroom knowledge in a very practical manner. Currently, the team has over 15 members whose disabilities vary from ADHD to FAS to Autism to Bipolar Disorder. Practices are held for two hours weekly and athletes participate in both local and out of town swim meets. In the future I hope to lead some of the more talented athletes to both regional and national levels through the Special Olympics organization.