Hope Jacobson

Miami-Dade County

Retirement hasn’t been what Hope Jacobson expected.

On the day she left Miami-Dade County schools – after a 35-year career – the longtime Special Olympics Florida volunteer found herself in charge of a 5k. It was suddenly hers to run and hers to manage. And that suited her just fine.  “I feel so lucky” that happened, Jacobson says today. “It gave me meaning for life.” 

Organizing that 5k reinforced her already strong ties to Special Olympics Florida and its mission. She became involved in Athlete Leadership and came to view the athletes she serves as her extended family and support system. She’s proud that Special Olympics Florida has worked to integrate those athletes into its decision-making process, giving them the chance to showcase their leadership abilities. 

Jacobson recently moved into a new home, but said she deliberately chose a house in the same neighborhood, so as not to leave the athletes she’s come to care for so deeply.   

“They are the reason I get out of bed in the morning,” she said. “When I first became involved in Special Olympics Florida in 1974, I never dreamed it would bring me where I am today. Who would have thought that 48 years later I’d be involved in the same organization?” 



As we mark 50 years of making the world a more inclusive place, we want to hear your Special Olympics Florida story. Tell us your story by sharing a favorite memory or let us know what our programs have meant to you or the impact they’ve made in your life.  TOGETHER WE CELEBRATE!