Iit was the first time for me to be a volunteer to attended the Special Olympics game in Frimingham on April 15. There were kinds of events , and during the interval, athletes took part in games , which could make athletes exciting. Athletes were all kids under 16 years old. They were accompanied by their families, coatches, friends, classmates. Audience cheered, applauded, gave their undetstanding and respect to these lovely and persevered children. All the volunteers did their best to make kids comportble and happy. I was responsible bowlling game. I was very happy to make participators joyful. I saw excitement and love on people's faces and eyes. It is a big family, people support each other, encourage each other. It is really inspired.
This organization tends to be okay in some ways. Depending on the local program you volunteer with, some teams might be great with helping with the atheles while others may not. You just have to watch out on which Local Programs you compete on either as a athlete, Unfied Partner, or volunteer as a coach. One of the local programs I competed with at one time (Bowling, Alpine Skiing, and Aquatics) did have not very good volunteers running that program as some of the volunteers in that one local program did not care to help some of the athletes pretty much. However, I did complain to the Section Director in my area about my situation and she was more than willing to help refer me to another local Program that was very willing go above and beyond to help the athletes. To this day, I learned my big lesson in being careful into choosing Special Olympic teams that are big or small. It is very important to connect with the right people who are willing to go beyond and above to help athletes and other volunteers such as a chaperone, coach, or Unfied Partner go into competition such as State Games.
As the parents of a 39 year old man with intellectual disability, we are so grateful for the huge positive impact that Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) has had on our son since he joined at age 8 (now open to 2 year-olds through Young Athletes Program!). Although originally we were told by the doctor that he would be unable to do much beyond sitting and rocking in a corner, he has trained and competed in 15 sports (of SOMA's 27) ranging from track and field, to power-lifting, alpine skiing, equestrian, sailing, and all the "ball"sports.
Through SOMA, he has competed in 3 Special Olympics World Games, including Dublin, Ireland, earning Gold Medals in each.
While the great physical fitness he has gained from his participation in Special Olympics for 31 years is impressive, far more important is the self-confidence and self-esteem he has gained. That confidence has enabled him to become an Eagle Scout, and to earn his driver's license.
While a prime example of the huge impact of this wonderful organization, he is only one of some 13,000 athletes who are continuing to participate and benefit from Special Olympics Massachusetts, all of whom are achieving beyond the expectations of others.
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