Everyone knows about the Special Olympics, but do they really understand the impact? Sure, it gives those with special needs an opportunity for involvement that they otherwise might not have, but it goes far beyond the competition and the activities. The real impact of the Special Olympics is in the comradery and community spirt it works to create.
Behind the Special Olympics
The best way to understand exactly what the Special Olympics are all about is to read their mission.
“Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. We are helping to make the world a better, healthier and more joyful place — one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time.”
As you can see, community is at the heart of the Special Olympics, creating a unique bond between families. Children no longer have to feel segregated from their peers and parents no longer feel as though they are going it alone. Linked together, families have the opportunity to share similar values, frustrations, and experiences. Often times when families start off on their journey with the Special Olympics they see it as just a local event, but as they proceed they will find themselves addicted to the comradery.
How to Get Involved
When it comes to the Special Olympics, it all starts in your own community. Here is where you can find the information for your local Special Olympics Representative. Involvement can then grow to the state, national, and even global level. Anyone can get involved regardless of age. The Special Olympics provide opportunities for youth, college students, and beyond.
The Special Olympics also has a Unified Sports program with an emphasis on team sports such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, and many more. This program encourages teamwork and discipline and builds a social bond between teammates.
You don’t have to be in the Special Olympics to be an advocate. Talk with your kids about understanding special needs and ways to connect with people who are different.
With all this being said, bottom line—it comes down to the kids. Getting them involved is an accomplishment and is a great way to widen your community.