“You gotta do this! Keep it in your head! You can do this!” These were the emotional pre-4 x 100 meter relay instructions from one of 300 student volunteers representing five high schools, who came on Saturday to help with SONM’s Area 5 Summer Games. Teenagers – who stepped forward, sought to do good, and by doing so – found that happiness ran after them in ways they never expected! Here are a few of their observations:
“Today made me realize that we are all pretty much the same.” Raymundo Gerrola
“I don’t ever get to do inclusive things like this. We don’t really get to be with these guys at school. This is awesome.” Jeremiah Suddarth
“It’s just so amazing to see so many people coming together to help – and we’re all staying positive!” Ashley Garcia
“This is my first Special Oympics event, and I feel happy being here. I met an athlete named Zac, and he got a first place in the 100 meters. He was really happy, and that made me really happy.” Jose Heredia
“I think it’s really important that these athletes get to do what we get to do. Nobody is turned away here.” Adam Yoke
It is safe to say that the power of Special Olympics was unleashed on them. Our 300 student volunteers could have easily stayed at home on Saturday or spent their day doing whatever teenagers do. They chose, however, to get involved. For the majority that choice turned out to be educational and meaningful. A single opportunity – a simple choice – a greater understanding – five friendlier schools – hundreds of reasons to celebrate. Mission accomplished.