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Special Olympics Participant Turns Event Into Job Opportunity

by on June 09, 2013 8:15 AM

The Special Olympics of Pennsylvania Summer Games are familiar territory for Paul Matlosz, but the just-completed competition might have been his most rewarding one yet.

Most athletes hope to come away with a medal from their event, and Matlosz, a golfer, was no different. But unlike some of the other athletes, Matlosz used the event to do some networking as part of his job hunt.

The 21-year old from Williamsport had the opportunity to talk with several Special Olympics officials during the three-day competition. Matlosz told them that he's been looking for work but was hitting a dead end.

That led to a contact with the Sheetz convenience store chain. Sheetz has been a major corporate sponsor of the summer games for the past 21 years.

Matlosz is going to send Sheetz his resume upon returning home and hopes it turns into something for him in the not so distant future.

Even if a job with Sheetz doesn't work out, it was still an enjoyable few days for Matlosz.

He competed and took third place in a Level 4 golf event, the second highest level of competition in Special Olympics golf.

The 14-year Special Olympics veteran has also competed in bowling in past years. This time, he made the hour trip from Williamsport to State College a bit early to be a guest speaker on Wednesday at Toftrees Golf Resort.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Matlosz. “I tried to tell everyone why I like the Special Olympics so much and wanted to inspire them.”

Matt Aaron has been CEO and President of Special Olympics Pennsylvania since November 2008. Matlosz is a shining example of Aaron's goal to create a more athlete-centered event.

“It’s really important to us to get the athletes engaged in different roles,” Aaron said after presiding over his fifth event. “We don’t just want athletes to be participants. We want them to have a voice and be leaders too.”

Aaron said that some athletes have even been doubling as coaches and wants to make sure athletes really have an opportunity to lead.

“Training is definitely part of it, but if you don’t give them practical opportunities to be leaders, the training becomes de-emphasized. They need to have the chance to apply that training and show what they learned.”

Matlosz enjoys making friends year after year at the summer games.

“I love to see everyone together at closing ceremonies. The great sportsmanship makes me happy. When I was out golfing, I could hear people cheering loudly all the way out on the softball fields. That right there is what it’s all about.”

Related Stories:

Special Olympics Profile: Bella Bregar – Teacher, Coach, Volunteer

Seasoned Special Olympians Share Memories



Drew Balis is a Penn State graduate, freelance reporter and frequent contributor to StateCollege.com.
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