At Our Core

For the past seven months a group of twenty people representing Special Olympics New Mexico have been working with representatives from the New Mexico Ethics Alliance to identify and define our organization’s Core Values.  I have been looking forward to this process for a long time and am happy to share that with only one meeting to go – I believe our SONM “family” can feel proud of the work that has been done.  It was not easy work – and there were times that stretched all of us, but those values we have selected fit us.  They will hopefully serve as our cornerstone – forever.  These values by the way include and represent our athletes, families, community and corporate partners, donors, volunteers, and staff.

In case this subject is unfamiliar to you, our organizational core values are those values that represent our highest priorities and beliefs.  They help guide our decisions, our conduct and behavior, and how we go about our work.  Our values speak to others about the essence of who we are and what we represent.   When I think about our athletes all across New Mexico I am reminded of the significance of this work.

From an initial list of 51 possibilities, we have decided on the following five core values and  have written descriptors under each.  This is a lot of reading, but should you be so inclined, I hope these ring true to you as you think about Special Olympics New Mexico and what we strive to be and how we strive to  act as we carry out our mission.

Unquestionable Integrity
1. Make decisions based on the collective interest of our athletes, staying mission-driven and athlete-focused.
2. Conduct business in a manner that maintains the highest level of dignity and respect. 
3. Maintain systems and processes around organizational governance ensuring fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability.
4. Develop the capacity of our athletes, so they are engaged in inclusive and meaningful ways which transcend sport. 
5. Embrace the integrity of sport without compromising the rules or the way the game is meant to be played because of the disability or athlete limitations.

 Unwavering Excellence
1. Pursue our personal best with pride, discipline, and honor.
2. Demonstrate passion that brings the Special Olympics mission to life; taking risks and setting the bar high.
3. Commit to going the extra mile to ensure quality in our relationships, events, and interactions.  
4. Establish a culture that promotes the stability and sustainability of Special Olympics New Mexico.

Unbelievable Fun
1. Celebrate the human spirit through effort and accomplishment.
2. Enjoy the excitement, enthusiasm, spontaneity and laughter inherent in the Special Olympics experience. 
3. Experience the joy and friendship that comes with belonging to a team.
4. It’s all about “the dance.”

Undeniable Respect
1. Embrace diversity and acceptance of all individuals.     
2. Appreciate and share in the challenges and experiences of Special Olympics athletes and their support systems. 
3. Show compassion and belief in everyone’s potential for success. 
4. Encourage personal freedom to take actions and make decisions using individual skills and talents.   

Unlimited Family
1. Provide a safe environment that supports personal and social development.
2. Create a sense of belonging where all are welcome and appreciated.
3. Foster a growing network of families who support and encourage one another through shared experiences.

My gratitude to all who labored in making sure we got this right.  My hope is that each value is lived out every day in a way that is honoring to the Special Olympics movement of which we are privileged to be a part.

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