By: Kathryn Todd
Amber Young, Program Outreach Coordinator at Special Olympics Missouri, has many duties including contributing to the Special Olympics of Missouri’s social media. Amber received her Bachelors of Science in General Education from University of Missouri with emphasis in special education, psychology, and behavioral science. While she originally wanted to become a special education teacher, Young found her passion in non-profit work.The first non-profit Amber worked with was the United Way of Greater Kansas City, where she did development. However, Special Olympics gave her a better opportunity to work with those struggling with intellectual disabilities. The world’s largest sports organization, Special Olympics supports almost 4 million athletes with 21 Olympic style sports and other programs.
Amber first became involved with this organization in high school, when her involvement in Missouri Association of Student Councils lead her to volunteer with Special Olympics. Every year she volunteered for track and field and worked with younger athletes who couldn’t yet complete. A young boy named Jesse had a positive attitude and loving personality which always stood out to Amber. During her second year working with Jesse he had an “accident” but still ran around and gave out hugs to his friends. Seeing how Jesse wasn’t embarrassed to be himself taught Amber a valuable lesson and the two enjoyed singing “Fly Away” by Tim McGraw on the way home. Shortly after this Jesse passed away and the words to that song resonate with Amber to this day.
Amber first got experience with social media in college when she managed the social media of a restaurant and bar she managed. Now, working for such a large organization has its challenges. With nearly 16,500 athletes in Missouri, there are a lot of fundraising events, partnerships, and sports to cover. During the holiday season Amber faced challenges in advertising partnerships with Finish Line (http://www.specialolympics.org/Finish_Line_Special_Olympics_Partnership.aspx) and Alex and Ani (http://www.alexandani.com/power-of-unity-charm-bangle.html?gclid=CLvHh9_d_cMCFQaLaQodjpIARQ) without clogging her feed with advertisements and donation requests. Employees work together to create a spreadsheet of topics and how many posts should go out for each one and then periodically post these topics. Keeping track of past and future posts helped bring personality and presence to Special Olympics’ social media.
Favorite SOMO Sport: Bowling, because a wide range of athletes can compete
Favorite part of working on social media: Having the excuse to get involved with organizations around St. Louis and seeing what other organizations are working on.