Since it was founded in 1968, the Special Olympics Games have provided year-round sports training and competitions for adults and children with intellectual and physical disabilities.
Through these sporting events, the program hopes to promote participation and involvement, while encouraging welcomeness for all members of a community. Wednesday marks the second time this year that the Best Buddies chapter on campus will compete in the games by playing basketball at the Frisco Fieldhouse.
“Special Olympics give kids with special needs an opportunity to feel included,” special education teacher Cheryl Madani said via email. “It also gives opportunities to general education students to enjoy their time getting to know our athletes. The Best Buddies that accompany us provide mentorship to our students, and are extremely helpful in keeping the day organized. The peers improve their understanding of people with disabilities.”
The students have been working in their Partners PE class with helpers and coaches to practice shooting, dribbling, and passing.
“They really enjoy their time on court showing their skills and abilities,” Best Buddies sponsor Suzanne Shuping said. “I can’t wait to see their huge smiles, and they can’t wait to see their friends and family cheer them on. It builds their self confidence.”
The goal of Special Olympics is to allow for all children and adults to experience happiness and acceptance.
“Events like these really help promote inclusion and better spread the message of Best Buddies,” Best Buddies campus president, senior Amelia Jauregui said. “They involve a bunch of people who firmly believe in the message of Best Buddies coming together to show that it’s not just in our own schools. We want it to be bigger in the community and we want other people to recognize that inclusion is possible and it’s a priority. It should be something that should be happening without having to be asked for.”