Reds lend a helping hand for Special Olympics

Eaton High School held the 2021 Special Olympics that left a lasting impact on the volunteers and participants.

Reds lend a helping hand for Special Olympics

Aubrey Ledall, Staff Reporter

Eaton High School held the 2021 Special Olympics High School event on Wednesday, September 29. The Special Olympics offers unique athletic competitive activities for all high school participants giving them the opportunity to believe in themselves and forever change their lives. This competition encourages students to get out and be active and experience joy through these different activities. Participants get to share this life-changing experience with friends, family, people around them, and others in the Special Olympic community. 

Special Olympics was founded in 1969 on the idea that people with intellectual or physical disabilities could, with the help of volunteers, participate in sports and succeed. Adult and student volunteers are the foundation for the Special Olympics. When they dedicate their time, energy, and enthusiasm it supports the event and the participants. Students from any grade at Eaton High School were able to sign up and dedicate their Wednesday for the Special Olympics. Junior student Avril Rodriguez (23) comments about spending her time out on the track with the athletes and other volunteers. She was one of the lead volunteers, running the race events. She helped the athletes get positioned in the lanes and would start the race. Rodriguez said, “ Seeing the little kids, watching them all run around and be happy with their friends was my favorite part of the day.”

Along with participants and volunteers, parents and family members attend the event. Encouraging their children or siblings as they watch them compete is another rewarding experience. Jose Lopez (22), was another volunteer for the event held on Wednesday. Lopez has a younger brother who was one of the participating athletes in the Special Olympics. He said, “Being alongside my brother was special to me because it makes him happy and when he’s happy, I’m happy.” Siblings, like Lopez, see how helpful the experience is. It gives them an opportunity to do something they enjoy while being around their friends and family.

Through the organization’s core values, joy, unity, inclusion, communication, and excellence, the Special Olympics is able to make a difference. According to Special Olympics Colorado, over 23,000 athletes, young and old, are impacted through events around Colorado. 9,000 volunteers are heavily influenced after getting involved. 21 sports are offered to participants and 96% of athletes have experienced an improvement in self-confidence. The Special Olympics is changing lives one event at a time.