Allison Atwood – 20 Under 40

Moody Family YMCA

35 | Truman State University

Allison Atwood has spent the last nine years working for the Moody Family YMCA.

She teaches exercise classes at the Y and in the community and is championing the Y’s new Special Olympics program.

“This is our first year, and we have had too much fun getting to know the athletes and families,” Atwood said. “Our goal is to provide a safe and healthy environment for (the) adult special needs population.”

The program so far has offered bowling, pickleball, and basketball.

Another job highlight is teaching classes for memory care groups.

“These memory care day programs allow for caregivers to have a day of rest knowing their loved one is being taken care of,” she said. “The participants are offered a day of fun in a safe environment.”

Atwood says she comes away from working with special needs and memory care populations “knowing I have the best job and have made someone’s day a little better.” 

She expects to keep working at the Y for many years and see the Special Olympics program become well-established.

Atwood has also used her sports background to coach at Lone Star, a local volleyball club, for the last 10 years.

“This has allowed me to stay involved in a sport that means so much to me,” she said. “I have played since I was 11 and was able to play in college, and now (I) get to help young girls find that same passion.”

The mom of three also leads her oldest daughter’s Girl Scout Daisy troop.

“Seeing those young ladies get excited about helping people and each other is a rewarding experience,” Atwood said.

What’s a fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you? 

I have a twin brother!

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

I worked as a landscaper for a family friend. I learned the value of hard work and punctuality. Also, I worked with my brother, so I learned that it is OK to have fun at work. I still cherish those memories I have with him.

What advice do you have for other young professionals? 

If you can, do what makes you happy and find fun in what you do. Find an employer that allows you to be who you are and brings out the best versions of you.

What (or who) motivated you to get involved in the community?

Mona Callaghan.

Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

I would love to still be working for the Y and have a well-established Special Olympics program. In ten years, we will have another legal driver in our house, and I see us having three respectful and polite daughters. At that point, we will not have any small children or toddlers in the house anymore, so I will definitely be looking to increase my involvement with the Y however they will allow me!

What is your favorite local restaurant or shop?

Franki’s Pizza & Pasta – best pizza in town!

What’s on your bucket list?

“Forcing” my husband to take all of his girls on European vacations. We need to take all of our girls to Harry Potter World in Florida. I would love for us to own a vacation home in Montana.

Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?

My husband – he is the hardest worker I know. I wouldn’t be able to have the involvement I have without his dedication to our family.

How do you motivate yourself and others?

My motivation strategy for others is unending support and positivity. I will be anybody’s biggest cheerleader.

What would you tell an 18-year-old you?

Don’t be afraid of change!

If someone made a movie about your life, what would it be called and who would play you?

It would definitely be the “Hallmark Christmas” style, so I would probably be played by a D-list “celebrity.”

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