Words from our late founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
“Despite all the progress of recent years, our special friends are still under threat. Some would rather eliminate them than improve their quality of life. Others would rather cut costs than create real opportunity. I ask you to stand up for people with intellectual disabilities for the rest of your lives. You may ask what good will come from this for ourselves? This is it. There is no joy like the joy of unleashing the human spirit. There is no laughter like the laughter of those who are happy with others. There is no purpose nobler than to build communities of acceptance for all.”
Last Saturday morning 30 University of New Mexico football players volunteered to help with our inaugural Mayor’s Invitational Indoor Track Meet. They showed up at 7:30 a.m., helped with set up, served as timers, escorted athletes, and throughout the day did whatever was asked of them. They were polite, respectful, and in the beginning pretty quiet. By the end of the meet, they were more true to themselves – throwing high fives, laughing loudly, hugging gently and sharing the love of sport and competition with our athletes.
From what I observed, I think it’s safe to say that in a five-hour period the joy, the laughter, and the noble purpose that Mrs. Shriver spoke of happened right in front of all of our faces. Special Olympics athletes gained respect and acceptance that day and because of it – our community was strengthened.