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Published August 14 2012

Jamestown seniors give back to community through sports

Hannah Heilman and Miah Dabill

Ages: Both are 17

Hometown: Jamestown, N.D.

Parents: Rod and Colette Heilman; Tim and Nancy Dabill

Future career plans: Both girls will be seniors at Jamestown High School this fall.

Hannah is thinking about going to Minnesota State University Moorhead next fall for early childhood education.

Miah is interested in a career in nursing.

How they make a difference in their community: Both girls are involved with Special Olympics. Hannah is active with Special Olympics soccer, volleyball, and track and field. She partners with athletes and helps at events, including setup, cleaning, taking stats, overseeing contests, serving lunches and fundraising.

Miah helps with Special Olympics swimming practices and meets.

Hannah is also involved in choir, volleyball and National Honor Society at school. Miah is involved with National Honor Society, basketball and tennis.

What their nominator said: “Miah is a student with a passion for helping others. She has a kind and giving heart and is perfectly suited for her work with Special Olympics. Hannah has a gift for working with children. Her zest for life is apparent when she speaks of her work with Special Olympians. She is a tireless, compassionate young lady who has contributed countless hours to Special Olympics.”

Why it’s important to Hannah to be so involved: “Both my parents help out a lot. They’re what got me started with it. They’ve been the directors of Area 9 Special Olympics for awhile, and my brother plays and so that’s kind of fun. It’s a way to help support my brother and his sports that he does because he comes to all my sports and cheers me on, so that’s fun.

“It’s just fun to be involved with all of them, and their attitudes are so much different than, like, my sports, how people take the sport. They’re more for playing it and not so much winning.”

Why it’s important to Miah to be so involved: “I guess I just really like being around them. They put a smile on your face. When you’re having the worst day, they are there. They give me more than I can give them. They help me with patience.”

Hannah’s favorite volunteering moment: “I really liked when I got to play (Special Olympics) volleyball because that’s my sport that I play during the actual season. We got to go and play volleyball, and our team was pretty good. It was just fun to watch them progress. My sister actually was coaching that team, too, that I was on, and I got to partner along with the athletes. They were learning the same stuff that the high school varsity team would have learned, and they were picking it up. It was just fun to watch that, experience that.”

Miah’s favorite volunteering moment: “I’d have to say when I go to state (and) watching them all swim because it’s a huge deal to them ... the swimmers will cheer for all the other teams and stuff.”

Note: This is the fourth story in a six-part series recognizing teenagers who make a difference in their communities.

Coming up

Thursday: A Dickinson, N.D., teen who reaches out to a diverse population

Friday: A Moorhead teen who helps youth thrive through knowledge

Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications