I’m so often asked when I decided that I NEEDED to dedicate my life to helping children with special needs reach their excellence.
It happened during my senior year of high school…
Throughout that year, I was a “Best Buddy” for the Special Olympics helping at the soccer event. I was working with a younger boy from another county, and we had the BEST DAY EVER together.
I remember leaving with smiles because he was such a joy to work, and we had so much fun!
Months passed, and I was asked if I wanted to work and help out at the Track and Field Event.
On the day of the Track and Field event, my life was changed. I was helping a little boy out, and suddenly, I felt these arms wrap around my leg.
The little boy from Soccer had found me and was SO excited to see me.
It was at that very moment; I knew that I wanted to work with children when I grew up!
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In 1968, Eunice Kennedy Shriver changed the future of sports for millions of children by creating The Special Olympics.
The Special Olympics is a group that helps to provide something specific to those children and adults that have intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities.
The Special Olympics provides sporting opportunities all over the world to athletes who usually wouldn’t get the chance to compete.
Special Olympics; The Inside Scoop
Although some people are familiar with the Special Olympics, I want to tell you my favorite things about this organization.
I was asked to join this Amazing Club called The Best Buddies while I was in high school.
The Best Buddies was a club in high school that allowed general education students to work with athletes during the school year to train.
True dedication was shown during every sporting event! There are many memories of those beautiful events.
In Soccer, I remember seeing some of the happiest kids on the planet. They gave so much dedication and effort to their event.
Along with the kids and buddies being dedicated, many staff members showed significant commitment to the Special Olympics. Many of the staff spent countless hours planning training sessions for the athletes and planning events with the county/area.
As a Special Olympics buddy, I was honored to be able to help and participate with the athletes.
One thing I realized about the Special Olympics is the community involvement aspect. This organization is heavily involved with the community.
For example, at almost every event many community members were present, including;
- Law Enforcement
- Local Business Owners
- Community School Board Members
I’m so impressed by the amount of the community that volunteers their time to each of the events.
I also noticed that every year, the local law enforcement participated within a state Torch Run that helps to raise awareness and money for the Special Olympics.
Along with the Torch Run, they also do a Polar Plunge event every winter to raise awareness and money. The Polar Plunge even includes individuals of all walks/careers/communities come and plunge into the freezing cold water.
This event in Virginia last year raised $1.23 Million to help the state of Virginia’s Special Olympics Organization.
The Special Olympics organization is VERY Dynamic.
For example, did you know they actually have events in which athletes travel the world to compete? They also have many of the same Olympic events as the World Olympics.
Not only are they dynamic by Sporting options and events, but they also have many dynamic volunteers and supporters. Many of the polar plunge participants were not necessarily full volunteers since the organization has different classifications for volunteers.
This organization is one big family.
I grew up in a county where we were all like family. In each of the events, I felt that I was just helping a sibling or family member participate in seasonal sports.
In college, I volunteered with an adult bowling group and felt like I was helping an aunt or uncle to learn to bowl. As a teacher, I have been able to raise money through the Polar Plunge Event.
In the last ten years, I have truly enjoyed having this incredible family.
The Special Olympics can truly change you and your families life…
This organization has been impacting and providing opportunities for athletes to shine in sporting events, and you should join the family!
Check out their website to get started!
Are you already involved in the Special Olympics organization? What’s been your experience?
Please share in the comments!