Make it Happen

January 27, 2017

Daina (left) with her niece Faith

Daina (left) with her niece Faith

By Faith Schroeder

(Faith Schroeder is the 15-year-old niece of Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Daina Shilts. This story was written for her high school English class and is being reproduced with her permission. It has been lightly edited for clarity.)

Life is different for everyone: It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do, life will always have its ups and downs. People love conquering their dreams, and others have difficulties and obstacles in the way. I believe that people can do whatever they want, as long as they keep their mind to it.

Daina Shilts, a twenty-five-year-old advanced Special Olympics snowboarder has conquered so many goals in her life. This snowboarder happens to be my aunt. She has always had challenges with health issues, adapting, and learning – but she never gave up. Throughout her journey she has inspired people to push themselves to do the things that they loved. She has been pushing herself since she was a kid: she joined groups, tried new things, and got involved with Special Olympics.

I believe that people couldn’t do things without support and compassion. Throughout her journeys I have been so proud of her. She has shown excitement for every competition she has competed in and love for every person she has met along the way. She encourages others to get on a board and feel the rush. I believe that people can do whatever they want if they keep their mind to it.

When Daina competes, she glides through the snow like a penguin. Snowboarding is the light of her life. Daina has showed me that no matter the disabilities or challenges you have, you can still do the things you love. I believe that people are destined to achieve their goals.

Daina has competed in the World Games in South Korea, and has competed in the X Games three times! In March she will be competing in the World Games in Austria and luckily I’ll have the chance to be there to cheer her on. Every time she gets up on a board she’s proving a point.

I am so glad to have Daina in my life – she isn’t just a role model for me but for people all around the world. She has taught me so many valuable lessons and tries to encourage me every step of the way.

One thing that I’ve learned is that people deserve a chance in this world. They deserve to be heard.


  • David Bigelow

    Over the years I am pleased to say that I have been able to observe Daina grow to the young woman she is. It has been a pleasure to do so, the confidence, the maturation and the taking on expanded responsibilities continues to amaze me. Her coaches are the best in the business and assist her in her growth on a daily basis. Great story Faith for a special lady.

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