Jessica Chapelski Souza

Head Coach: Vancouver Special Olympics Learn-To-Skate and Figure Skating Programs

Professional Qualifications:
Skate Canada CanSkate, Regional and Special Olympics Certified

I have been involved in skating since before I could walk, watching my sisters skate and hoping to get on the ice one day. Skating competitively brought me so much joy, especially finishing my gold skills and diamond dance tests. After receiving my Skate Canada coaching certification, I  taught CanSkate and competitive skaters until I received my teaching certificate. I credit teaching skating for my successful transition to a classroom teacher.

Once I started working with the Vancouver School Board, I volunteered with the Special Olympics to stay connected to the sport. 15 years later, I am the coordinator and head coach for the Vancouver Special Olympics Learn to Skate and figure skating programs. I have been the head coach for Team Vancouver at Special Olympics BC Winter Games,  Special Olympics Canada National Winter Games,  Special Olympics at Canada Winter Games, and a Team Canada coach for Special Olympics World Winter Games. I’ve coached at regional, provincial, national, and world champions, act as a technical advisor for SOBC and sit on the Program Advisory Committee for Skate Canada.

My favourite part of coaching is seeing the Special Olympics athletes have a welcoming space, expressing who they are, and being supported in a way that allows them to be their best selves.

“The athletes have taught me so much about life, joy, and the power of believing in others’ abilities.”