Special Olympic Athlete Anna Reagle
The interview and story were written by Paige Librandi, Self-Advocate Coordinator, South Region DDS
The Self-Advocate coordinators are collaborating with the Special Olympics athletes. I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing a woman by the name of Anna Reagle. I could see right away that Anna was exciting and would be easy to talk to. She is 23 years old and lives in New Haven, CT with her roommate Debbie. When I asked her how she described herself, she said that she is very put-together and organized.
Anna really enjoys being an athlete for the Special Olympics. She is passionate about swimming and also competed in track. In swimming she has done the 50-meter free-style and the backstroke. In track she ran the 50-meter race which is also referred to as the 50-meter sprint. She said, “being an athlete requires hard work but it’s a lot of fun”! One of her biggest motivations was when she attended the Nationals in 2022. These games were held in Orlando Florida. She was asked to speak in front of one thousand people. She said, “I was really nervous but encouraged everyone to be brave and always do their best.” Another part of what Anna does with the Special Olympics is to work in their office. She expressed that, “it is an honor to work there”. She attends meetings and helps in any way that she can. Anna loves being part of the special Olympics as an athlete and behind the scenes.
Anna is the president of the program StayStrong Ministry in New Britain CT. She is a peer support worker and advocate. When I asked what she likes about this program she said, “I like making a positive impact on people's lives”. She got a scholarship for ruby's rainbow, a program for people with mental health and down syndrome. And has hopes to direct a documentary. Her hobbies include coloring, zoom meetings, walking, watching tv and listening to music. She stated that she really likes church music.
Challenges and Aspirations
When I asked her what some of the challenges you have had to overcome? She said learning how to take public transportation by herself was hard, but she can now do it. She said, “I like being independent and shopping for my own groceries”. She also mentioned having a weakness in math, to make improvements in math she works on different skills daily. Anna is also taking online courses at Gateway Community college.
Anna looks up to her family and friends who support her in her life and considers them her mentors. Her message is don’t give up, keep pushing and keep believing in yourself. When I ask her what advice, she would give herself in three years from now. She said, “to work harder, dream bigger and love her journey”.