By Quyen Nguyen
A passion for health and fitness led Max Glaser to Special Olympics Southern California, where he is a volunteer fitness coach. Through the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge (HLC) and his weekly HLC Fitness Club online meetups, he provides a range of engaging virtual workouts and helps athletes set healthy patterns in their daily lives. He has volunteered with SOSC for 10 years and continues to make a great impact in many ways.
Before becoming a SOSC volunteer, Max’s journey to Special Olympics began as a college student in Wisconsin. He was eager to find extra volunteer work within the sports and fitness world and connected with the local Special Olympics chapter where he soon realized his knack for working alongside athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities. From that moment, he showed up every Sunday to help with a wide range of events.
Once he made his way to Southern California, he kept with the Special Olympics spirit and sought out local chapters to volunteer with. Since, he has shifted from an events volunteer to actualizing his sports and fitness interests by contributing to unique programs like the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge and HLC Fitness Club with the purpose of providing elite-level workouts for those who may or may not have the necessary resources. “I provide different kinds of workouts – challenges and things that athletes can utilize if I’m not live online or in-person,” he says. “They have the resources and the ability to find good physical fitness that is backed by research that has been proven and tested for this demographic of athletes.”
Max’s goal, aside from providing a range of workouts, is to give athletes a safe environment to be themselves. “They [athletes] are able to be leaders in society,” he shares. “I enjoy giving them the confidence to let them know that they can take the same steps I do.” Max is passionate about working with a demographic that is often forgotten in society. He fervently believes that people with intellectual disabilities have much to offer and that they should not be excluded in any facet of life. During his work with the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, he makes a point of encouraging athletes, telling them that they are strong and capable of doing anything that they put their minds to.
Even after a decade of volunteering, Max continues to make an impact in athletes’ lives. His upbeat and energizing personality coupled with his passion and love for fitness shines through every athlete and he looks forward to seeing them become champions.
“The thing that has impacted me the most is watching athletes develop in front of my eyes because of the things that I am putting forward,” Max says with a smile. “It allows me to keep showing up with a ton of energy and allows me to continue to want to be a part of Special Olympics Southern California.”
In the future, Max is dedicated to working towards helping bring positive change in the lives of Special Olympics athletes nationwide, motivating everyone to strive to be the best versions of themselves.
Visit www.sosc.org/volunteer for more information on how you can get involved with Special Olympics.