WI Champion: You Have To Believe In Yourself
MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin woman who spent much of her childhood at the Southern Wisconsin Center for the Developmentally Disabled, and who eventually become a Special Olympics Champion and Global Messenger, is the subect of a new book published by the Wisconsin State Historical Society.
"Cindy Bentley: Spirit of a Champion," is the latest in the Badger Biography series for young readers. Bentley says her hope is that young people will learn some lessons from reading the book.
"I hope they learn that they can also be champions and that if they have had a bad child life, that they can come above that, and to believe in their self, and furthermore, love their self, and to forgive people that are not always nice to other people."
Bentley says important things she has learned in life include overcoming anger about her negative childhood experiences, and learning to make her own decisions about her life. She says participation in Special Olympics truly turned her life around.
Although she has met several world leaders and has been the guest of two U.S. Presidents, Bentley says the most important person she ever met was Eunice Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics.
"She believes in people like myself and other athletes, that we can do more than just be put away in an institution. We could do our sports, and we could be citizens in our city, and we could go to work and earn money, and to be accepted in our community."
Bentley still competes in Special Olympics, and just won two silver medals at the national games, as well as third place in the Wisconsin Special Olympics Tennis Tournament in Eau Claire. She has a busy speaking and book-signing schedule, but allows herself some down time, too.
"My favorite things that I like to do when I'm not competing is chilling out in front of the TV, scrapbooking, and hanging out with my friends."
Bentley firmly believes that you don't have to have a happy childhood to be a happy adult. She lives in her own home in Milwaukee with her two cats, Blossom and Oreo.
Bentley will sign copies of the book at the Barnes and Noble store in Bayshore Mall in Glendale, Wednesday, August 18 at 7 p.m., and at the Barnes and Noble in Madison near West Towne Mall on September 16th at 7 p.m.