DUBLIN’S DEAN ROCK MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE TO SPECIAL OLYMPIANS
Dean Rock certainly makes a difference on the field of play, that was discernibly demonstrated with his free in the dying minutes of the All Ireland Final back in September that secured Dublin’s third All Ireland title in a row.
But away from the bright lights of Championship action the Ballymun Kickhams clubman is making a real difference to Special Olympians at Stewart’s Care in Palmerstown where he works.
Stewarts Care is a community based organisation that provides services and supports for people with intellectual disabilities.
Rock has worked full time at the facility for the past 18 months helping Special Olympic athletes with their training programmes.
Dean has taken up a new position as Fundraising and Marketing manager and one of his first duties will be to raise funds to build purpose built disability changing-rooms beside the pool at the Stewarts Care facility.
The changing-rooms will be of huge benefit to pool users with profound disabilities as it could cut the time in half that it currently takes for them to take a short swim.
“There’s a real community feel here,” Rock told RTÉ Sport. “Stewarts is unique and the people in the local community are so good because they understand that we are a centre for people with intellectual disabilities and they buy into that.
“They are involved in lots that we do, along with the service users. That kind of inclusion makes it a very warm place to be involved in.
“It’s something that inspires me every day,” said the 27-year-old.
“It gives me the opportunity to help people and that’s what I want to do with my life. I have a huge passion for helping people with intellectual difficulties.
“I was first exposed to it four years ago and since then it’s what I want to do with my career.”