For Cindy Bentley, life was difficult from the start. Because her mother abused alcohol, Cindy had an intellectual disability that made it hard for her to learn new things. Cindy grew up in foster homes and at Southern Wisconsin Center, an institution for people with disabilities. No one-not even Cindy-thought she would ever succeed at anything.
Then her life changed. With the encouragement of a teacher at the Center, Cindy began to run and to compete in Special Olympics. As she succeeded at one sport, she tried others. She gained confidence as she worked with teammates and earned medals.
Follow Cindy as she leaves Southern Center to live on her own in Milwaukee. Cheer her on as she travels the globe as a Special Olympics athlete. Celebrate as she becomes a leader who encourages others with disabilities to speak up for their rights.
Find out what inspired this champion and how she inspires others!
About the Author
Bob Kann, author of several Badger Biographies, is a well-known storyteller, juggler, and magician who performs at schools, libraries, and festivals throughout the country. He also holds workshops on humor, motivation, creativity, and storytelling. His book Belle and Bob La Follette: Partners in Politics won a 2009 National Indie Excellence Award.
Caroline Hoffman, now retired, worked for 20 years for the Wisconsin Council on Developmental Disabilities as a policy advocate. She has also lectured in the UW Madison School of Social Work and is coauthor with Bob on a 2009 curriculum on community service projects for youth titled "It's Our World, Too."
Table of Contents
1 Meet Cindy Bentley 1
2 Nobody Loved Her 4
3 An Unhappy Childhood 8
4 A First Friend 14
5 On Her Own 24
6 Female Athlete of the Year 33
7 "We're Not Kids. We're Athletes!" 41
8 Speaking for 2.5 Million Athletes 47
9 Cindy's Dream Job 53
10 Cindy Gives Away Her Gold Medals 60
11 Choose the Pond, Not the Fishbowl! 67
Appendix: Cindy's Time Line 73
Reading Group Guide and Activities 82
To Learn More about Disabilities 84