The Special Olympics aims to make life a little better for kids and adults with intellectual disabilities, including right here in the local area.
Pulaski County Coordinator Rebekah Erb says there are several participants in the county, “We have about thirty athletes that are intellectually disabled, and then we have some of their family members that are on sports teams that play with them as well.” They take part in various events during the course of the year, including bowling in the fall, basketball in the winter, track and field events in the spring, and corn toss in the summer.
Erb says many of their competitions take place in Logansport, but there are also some activities closer to home, “Sometimes, we will play a scrimmage game at the local high school. For instance, next Friday, the 29th, our basketball teams are playing a scrimmage game at West Central during their varsity half time, which is really great because everyone can see how hard they work at and how talented they are in that sport.”
Participants also have the chance to take part in state competitions for each sport, with one of the biggest events being the track and field competition each June. “We get to go down for a weekend and stay in Fort Wayne, at their college there, and it’s just a great weekend for everybody because there’s a big opening ceremony for the athletes, there’s a dance they go to on Saturday, and it’s so, so much fun,” Erb says.
She adds the Special Olympics helps those with intellectual disabilities have opportunities that might not otherwise be open to them, “Unfortunately, a lot of situations with our athletes is they’re not accepted at school, and you don’t see them on our school teams and things like that. And what I absolutely love about this organization is that it gives a chance for them to live a normal life like the rest of the kids and play sports and get award for sports and be able to get out there and really participate.”
In order to help raise money for uniforms, transportation to the events, and other expenses, the Special Olympics of Pulaski County is holding its First Annual Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, January 30 from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. EST at the West Central High School Cafeteria.
For more information about the event or the organization in general, contact Erb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-204-0631.