Achilles has some of the most amazing volunteers, many of whom have been with us for years! We want to recognize them here every month. To nominate someone, please email Fiona.
This month, we highlight volunteer Carolyn Wynne!
How and when did you first hear about Achilles?
I first heard about Achilles when my sister Megan accepted a position there in 2008. It sounded like such a wonderful and inspiring organization that was truly working to better the lives of individuals with special needs.
When did you first become a volunteer / guide?
I first volunteered at a JCC (Jewish Community Center) workout in the spring of 2009 when I had to write a paper for a “Therapeutic Language Interaction” class on how individuals lead and organize programs for people with special needs. When Megan began the Saturday morning training program I was so excited to help these amazing athletes train for and participate in mainstream races!
What has that experience been like for you?
Volunteering with Achilles has greatly impacted my life and has helped me grow both personally and professionally as an Occupational Therapist. Watching these kids become stronger and faster runners has taught me to never give up on a goal.
Describe one or two special memories being an Achilles volunteer guide:
I had the opportunity to be in charge of the Achilles Kids Program in 2013 while Megan was on maternity leave. Watching every single kid cross the finish line at Hope & Possibility was amazing and something I will never forget! This past January I had the awesome experience of being able to run as a guide during the Disney 5K with Dylan whom I have been running with for over a year now. My flight landed at 1:30 a.m. and I had to be up 3:30. Running on 2 hours of sleep Dylan, myself and an amazing Cigna guide ran through Disney World!! Dylan ran his fastest time in a 5K ever. I was so proud and grateful for that incredible moment. It was one of the best days ever!
Please name one or two athletes you have guided:
I have been running with Dylan who is 8 years old for over a year. We all joke that Dylan and I run more than everyone else because we zigzag all over the path! I am so proud of all that Dylan has accomplished--from running in his first 5k in March 2014, to the crazy hot and humid Autism Speaks 4 mile race, and the “Dash to the Finish” Race which was the first time Dylan completed a 5k without stopping! No matter rain or shine Dylan is out there running his heart out and attempting to climb trees. I wouldn’t want to spend my Saturday mornings any other way!
If there was anything you would like to bring to the public's attention about being a guide for Achilles what would it be?
Being a guide teaches you so much about perseverance. All Achilles athletes (from the kids to the adults) are out running in all types of weather conditions and travel from all over the city to get to the workouts and the races. They never give up. Helping them run in mainstream races gives me a sense of accomplishment unlike any other I have ever experienced.”
Mention a little about your own background: where you are from? How long you have lived in NYC? What your work entails? Any other special interests or hobbies?
I was born and raised in Long Island and went to school at SUNY at Buffalo where I majored in Occupational Therapy. I am now an OT at a preschool for children with special needs in Brooklyn. I also live in Brooklyn! In my free time I love to spend time with family and friends especially my two favorite girls Abby and Emma (my nieces!)
Read more about our volunteer program.