Melissa Jacobs of Henkel: Special Olympics Volunteer Bound for Berlin!


By: SOCT/Melissa Jacobs

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Henkel, a sponsor of Special Olympics Connecticut headquartered in Germany, is sending Melissa Jacobs to Berlin to volunteer at the 2023 Special Olympics World Games.

Melissa just recently volunteered at our Summer Games and helps out at other events, including Winter Games.

As she prepares to embark on her journey to Berlin, she shared what motivates her to support our athletes and why she continues to give her time to our organization.


SOCT: How did you first get involved with Special Olympics, how long have you been involved and what motivates you to continue to remain involved?    

Melissa: My children and I have volunteered since 2016 at the Healthy Athletes stations (Sun Safety, Water Safety and Body Metric Screenings) and have also assisted athletes at the winter skiing events.  Since 2019, I have been Special Olympics' key point person for Henkel.  

On a personal level, my son has struggled with a learning disability and helping out at these events has shown him firsthand that our community is not only diverse, but that with perseverance and hard work, you can overcome any challenge no matter what disabilities a person may have.


SOCT: Can you share a Special Olympics "experience" or "moment" that is especially memorable or made a significant impact?  

Melissa: It’s hard to pick one moment because there are so many incredible moments watching athletes achieve their goals.  If I were to pick a fun day, it would be the Winter Games in 2020. The kids and I escorted an athlete who was a cross-country skier. We spent the day with her and had a wonderful time cheering her on.


SOCT: How were you selected to go to the World Games in Berlin and with who will you be making the journey? 

Melissa: I was nominated by our head of the social engagement program in North America and the committee in Germany chose me to be part of the volunteer team. As the North America representative, I will be volunteering with a team of 60 Henkel employees from around the world!


SOCT: Do you know what your role will be at the World Games? 

Melissa: Yes, I will be working at the Bocce venue. Henkel is the Sponsor of the Bocce competition. 


SOCT: What are you looking forward to most about going to Berlin for the Games?  

Melissa: I am super excited about meeting Henkel colleagues from around the world. I have been following the many teams from around the world leaving for Berlin on social media and the excitement is growing.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am going to make the most out of it.


SOCT: What are you hoping to take away from the Games?  

Melissa: In a world full of uncertainty, violence and hardships, the Games are truly an inclusive experience bringing the world together to support and celebrate as one community and this is something I am most looking forward to experiencing.


SOCT: What is your position at Henkel and how long have you been with the company?  

Melissa: I am a Senior Paralegal in the Law Department and I just celebrated my 15th anniversary with Henkel.


SOCT: When will you be traveling to Berlin? When will you be returning? 

Melissa: I will be arriving in Berlin on Tuesday, June 20th and departing late on June 25th.


SOCT: Is there anything else related to Special Olympics or the World Games in Berlin that you'd like to share? 

Melissa: I feel incredibly lucky to be able to interact with the athletes, their families and coaches during the Winter and Summer Games and have met wonderful, caring individuals in the process.