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Nancy Black

2018 Sports Honouree

Nancy Black is founder of the Special Olympics swimming team in Aurora, which led to the formation of the official local chapter, Special Olympics Ontario – Aurora. The organization is celebrating its tenth anniversary and has grown to include a total of seven sports serving over 120 athletes. Nancy has held various positions and is currently Head Coach of the Special Ducks, back where she began in 2008.

Nancy’s years of giving back came around full circle in another way recently. In January of 2017, her stepson, Brendan, approached her about doing a fundraising swim across Lake Ontario to both celebrate Canada’s 150th and raise money and awareness for the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics. Brendan had helped coach Special Olympics (as had Nancy’s stepdaughter Jaclyn and daughter Hayley). As it turned out, the lake crossing was successful, and raised over $50,000., however what was most meaningful was that Brendan was also following Nancy’s path.

Nancy’s motto is JUST SAY YES, and she believes that saying YES opens doors and opportunities, especially by volunteering.

Like most volunteers, Nancy says that the surprising part of giving is getting. Her Christian faith and life experiences embody and embrace this truth fully; without a doubt, you receive more than you give, yet you still never ever expect the wonderful rewards that follow.

So, to encourage community involvement, it’s important to remind others that in being altruistic, they will absolutely GET more in return and that actions today will build one’s legacy for their tomorrows. Nancy doesn’t mean that you should give back for any reason other than to serve the causes you care about. At the same time, people should keep in mind that their actions (or inactions) will be what they are remembered for.

Nancy also believe that it would clearly be of value for individuals and businesses to constantly rethink their own impacts environmentally and socially. From a logistical standpoint, it can be complicated, but assessing and evaluating our ripple effects as a community must be part of an organization’s annual plan and its strategic planning process. From an individual perspective though, she wonders if most people are as equipped to self-evaluate. Either way, it takes us all working together.

For the future, Nancy feels strongly about the value of sport in general and even more so for young girls. Eventually, she would like to start an organization whose primary goals are to 1) get girls involved in sport and 2) KEEP girls involved in sport beyond the ages of 12-14 when so many drop out. That will be a priority for her in 2020.


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