Competing for many years in Bolivia's Special Olympics in rhythmic gymnastics, Miriam lives her life to the fullest and encourages others to always be grateful.
Aug 29 2016

Special Olympics gymnast finds her rhythm

Competing for many years in Bolivia's Special Olympics in rhythmic gymnastics, Miriam lives her life to the fullest and encourages others to always be grateful.

Competing for many years in Bolivia’s Special Olympics in rhythmic gymnastics, Miriam lives her life to the fullest and encourages others to always be grateful.


Miriam is a 22-year-old sponsored youth in Bolivia — and a big medal winner in the Bolivian National Special Olympics.

Miriam has been sponsored by Dan and Maureen in Oregon since 2006. She has an intellectual disability that affects her speech and learning.

One day in 2008, she saw a video at school about rhythmic gymnastics.

“I liked it! I wanted to do it,” Miriam said. “I practiced a lot at school and at home. I enjoyed imitating video routines.”

A few years later, she went from imitating routines at home to competing in the citywide Special Olympics competition in Santa Cruz. Over the next few years, Miriam would go on to win stacks of medals in city, state and national-level competitions, including attending the Bolivian National Special Olympics four times.

Miriam’s day-to-day routine involves cooking, which she enjoys, cleaning up around the house, going to school and having tea with her mother, Honorina. But three months before the Special Olympics competitions, she also had to make time for extra training sessions.

“We train all the time but it gets harder three months before the games,” Miriam said. “Our [trainer] makes us work a lot.”

Before Miriam was sponsored, her mother had problems securing food and proper clothing for Miriam and her two siblings. Sponsorship helps provide for Miriam’s basic needs, and she has room to dream of a promising future, which is especially important now that she’s 22 and can no longer compete in gymnastics because of age restrictions.

“I dream of teaching gymnastics to younger girls,” she said.

Honorina calls Miriam’s sponsors “good-hearted people” and is grateful for the stability that has come to her family. For Miriam, her experience with sponsorship has given her hope that others will get the same opportunities she has received.

To potential sponsors, she said, “You will do a lot of good for someone who really needs you.”

Take Miriam’s words to heart. Sponsor today.

Maureen Lunn

Contributing Writer

With a master’s degree in international studies, Maureen has long been passionate about international development and loves using writing as a means to share that passion. She is a globetrotter, movie lover, Sporting KC fan, yoga teacher and self-designated crazy cat lady. Maureen and her husband, Toby, sponsor an elder in Kenya named M’Nkanatha and a young woman in Guatemala named Vivian.

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