Empowering youth with intellectual disabilities – on and off the slopes

It’s very satisfying to be in an organization that cares so deeply about the community.

Robert Eberley
U.S. Trust

Robert Eberley, a New York-based U.S. Trust employee, developed his passion for skiing at age seven. He pursued ski instructor certification later in life, so he could share his love of the sport with others. During one of his first days of teaching, a fellow instructor cancelled last-minute, providing Eberley a unique opportunity to teach special needs kids how to ski. “I found it to be very rewarding,” he said. “They were so enthusiastic, very hard-working and so appreciative of having the opportunity to do something like this and show success. To see these kids go from being afraid of the snow to skiing down the hill was satisfying.”

Thirty years later, Eberley’s passion was reignited when he learned that Bank of America was sponsoring the Special Olympics Winter Games at Mountain Creek, New Jersey. He jumped at the opportunity to volunteer and spent the event working with youth with intellectual disabilities, helping them develop a love for skiing. He also became part of Bank of America’s sponsorship of Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America, a historic event that delivers the Flame of Hope from Athens, Greece, to Los Angeles for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. The flame passes through all 50 states, giving residents the unique opportunity to carry the flame for a half-mile segment.

As the relay made its way through New York City on June 4, Eberley joined Bank of America colleagues, Robin Roberts and the Good Morning America team as they carried the torch down 7th Avenue. His contribution to the Special Olympics’ inclusive, purposeful mission is a continuation of his mentorship of special needs children. “You touch the Flame of Hope and it’s a moving experience. It’s a tradition that represents so much that’s great about sports: you have a community and a unifying experience,” he said.

Eberley feels fortunate to be at U.S. Trust, where he has ample opportunity to give back – on and off the slopes. “It’s very satisfying to be in an organization that cares so deeply about the community,” he said.



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