Vilonia Special Olympics coach selected as one of KARK’s Remarkable Women

Remarkable Women
January 01 2022 12:00 am

VILONIA, Ark. – As part of the celebration for International Women’s Month in March, KARK is recognizing local women, nominated by our viewers, who inspire others.

Rhonda Standridge is a finalist in our Remarkable Women contest. She is making a difference in the lives of special needs children.

Those who know her will tell you she has a servant’s heart.

“I’m doing what I love to do. I love helping these kids. I love coaching them,” she says.

Standridge is the head coach for Special Olympics at Vilonia Public Schools.

She was inspired years ago by her own special needs daughter Emily. Her passion for helping her grew and so did her heart.

“I saw all these other kids and just giving them a little bit of encouragment and showing them that they can do all these things. They can play sports,” she explains.

Liz Kelly felt Rhonda was an unsung hero and nominated her as a Remarkable Woman.

“Both for children with disablities and without disabilities, she works umpteen hours to bring those two groups together to make them feel valued and appreciated,” Kelly says.

In fact, Rhonda, her daughter and others just returned from Capitol Hill, where they met with Arkansas lawmakers pushing unified sports.

“There have been studies that show bullying has dropped dramatically with unified sports,” Standridge says.

Despite all that she does on and off the court, this Remarkable Women nominee feels the title is undeserved.

“I am so not worthy,” she says with a laugh.

But those who see Rhonda in action say otherwise.

“She just really exhibits everything that you’d want to see from a Vilonia School District employee and then more.”

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