Mike is a big believer that being a part of a team is critical for development physically, mentally, and emotionally. When a new client joins Mike’s gym, they are welcomed by Coach Mike and given a jersey to symbolize being part of the team.
Being a part of a team allows clients to learn respect, communication, and teamwork skills, as well as be a part of a supportive community that emphasizes the social aspect of what they are doing. Coach Mike’s personal goal is to bring awareness and inclusivity to the special needs community in his area. One can quickly see how much Coach Mike cares for his clients through his verbal and physical fist bumps, his dedication to their wellbeing, and his desire to help anyone who walks through his door.
In addition to helping clients learn how to exercise safely and properly, Coach Mike teaches his clients how to succeed independently. They learn all the skillsets they need to exercise on their own, so they are prepared for whatever the future brings.
“Watching my kids and young adults have fun and improving their physical and mental wellbeing is the greatest achievement possible. The progress that some are making is tremendously rewarding!”
Growing Up in the Special Needs Community
Mike's passion for helping those with special needs originated when he was young. His sister has Down Syndrome, and his mother worked with pre-teens with special needs. His mother taught him how to be compassionate for all people and that everyone should be treated with love and respect. With these circumstances, Mike had the pleasure of growing up in the special needs community; but with this, he witnessed how few resources were available for those with unique challenges.
Twenty-some years ago, there were few physical outlets for those with special needs. Even now, there is still a severe shortage of these services available. Once an individual with special needs leaves high school, no programs are available to help them lead healthy lives. Mike found that with his sister and others he knew, the lack of access to sports and exercise negatively impacted their health, both body and mind.
That Light Bulb Moment
Finding one’s passion and life’s work rarely happens right away; the same holds true for Mike. Before joining the Special Strong franchise, Mike was working as a VP of a local Houston company. He led a typical 9-5 job of sales and marketing.
One day, Mike discovered Daniel, the creator of Special Strong, on LinkedIn. After watching his videos, seeing how Daniel helped those with special needs achieve what was thought of as "impossible," he had that light bulb moment. He realized that he wanted to make his time meaningful by making a difference in the lives of others.
Mike soon jumped at the chance to join the Special Strong team. After getting to shadow Daniel and work with a few clients, he knew without a doubt that this was the path for him. It was his moment of calling, and he leaped for it.
Into the Future
Coach Mike is just getting started on his mission. Since opening his doors in 2021, he has already seen incredible progress from his clients. Just one example is Henry. Henry was a hit and run victim that led to the need for a wheelchair and brain trauma, which affects his memory, speech, and mobility. Since starting with Coach Mike, Henry has already seen incredible improvement in his physical and emotional health. He is getting stronger, is hopeful for the future, and is regaining his confidence; he often recites “curls for the girls” while doing his reps.
Enhancing someone's quality of life is the greatest reward, and Coach Mike hopes to one day have several franchises throughout Texas and in his home state of Montana.
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”