Twenty-two year-old Portia Johnson is looking forward to putting some of her great ideas into action when she becomes a Special Olympics Global Messenger!
“I think I’ve got ideas on what and how I can tell people about the good things about Special Olympics and how they can join and have fun too,” Portia says. “One of the things I’d like to do is try and get a Paralympic medalist to hand out special awards at swim meets and other events.”
Portia has been competing with Special Olympics Te Awamutu for about 10 years and takes part in swimming and horse-riding. She competed at the Special Olympics National Summer Games in Dunedin in 2013, where she was very proud to win two gold medals and three bronze medals for swimming.
“Special Olympics has improved my swimming a lot, and my confidence and self-esteem as well. Whenever I talk to people about Special Olympics I feel important because they know what Special Olympics is. And I have also met lots of friends and new people, and travelled throughout New Zealand with Special Olympics.”
These days Portia is kept pretty busy with her Administration Assistant role at the Waikato Times, but she has also been involved in a lot of volunteer work for community organisations including the Red Cross and Hamilton Central Fire Station, as well as the SPCA, Hamilton Zoo, a retirement village and an early childhood centre.
She’s also a seasoned public speaker, Vice President of People First and has done modelling for a number of charities.