A shared love of the game
Public Sector Director Tim Sutton has two passions: sports and making a difference in other people’s lives. Through volunteering, Tim has found a way to live out both while helping others pursue their passions as well.
In high school, while competing on football, basketball and baseball teams, Tim also volunteered with a special education teacher, helping around the classroom and forming bonds with other students. Years later while in college, he received a call from that teacher, informing him that she had entered his name as the next basketball coach for the Washington Township Special Olympics, and that saying no wasn’t really an option.
“Looking back, that was one of the most magical phone calls of my life,” said Tim. “I never expected to get the opportunity to make such a big difference by doing what I love.”
As a Special Olympics coach, Tim has worked with the same group of athletes for 21 years, starting when they were just 12 years old. For many of them, Tim is more than just a basketball coach. Basketball also provides a chance to build social skills and lasting relationships.
“I’m a mentor, older brother, best friend and father figure for some of these kids,” said Tim. “It's such a special thing to be involved with.”
Out on the court, games get competitive, but participation is just as important as winning —everyone gets a chance to play and score a basket during the game.
“We’re there to have fun and if we’re not having fun, we shouldn’t be doing it,” said Tim. “The athletes care about each other's success. Just making a shot is like winning the Super Bowl to them.”