By: Sharon Allen
Our son Aaron was a shy, tall, timid and very active boy. In first grade his teacher recommended we sign him up for Special Olympics. What an AMAZING door of experiences and opportunities that opened for Aaron and our family. That was sixteen years and many moves ago.
We want to share some of the highlights we have experienced with you:
- New friends
- Organized activities
- Learning the fundamentals of the sport for each sport played
- Multiple of sports options to try
- Competitive play in area, state, national and World games
- Aaron using on a daily basis the Healthy Athletes nutrition, exercise, hydration plan
- Opportunity for parents/families to meet and share with other athletes and their families
- Coaching and Volunteer Opportunities
- The confidence our son has gained through participation on different teams which he has carried from the field to the classroom, the work place and every new experience he encounters.
- Aaron has also gained Independence to go try new things, meet new people and travel thanks to his experiences with his coaches and teammates around the country and world.
- Cheering our son, his teammates, as well as all the other athletes he competes against throughout the years
- Seeing the pride of participation on the athletes faces
- Unified Sports has raised the level of competition for our son. Through Unified sports our son and the partners he has on his team, or plays against are equals working towards the common goal of playing the best game they can as a team.
Whether you are a young athlete, school age (elementary through high school), or transitioning out of school into the workforce, there are teams and sports available for you to be involved in. Our son is in the Transition stage (meaning in Massachusetts at age 22 his mandated right to formal public education is complete). This can be a scary time for the athlete and family. Unlike, formal education Special Olympics does not end at a certain age and provides an important constant in the athlete’s life – sports, they can be involved with. In our son’s case, Special Olympics is helping him move through this potentially difficult time while experiencing success in sport with his friends and teammates.
Despite the snow falling outside of our window today, we welcome you to the spring 2016 season. We look forward to seeing, meeting and cheering you, our athletes and families on together throughout the coming season.
Sharon, Gerry and Aaron Allen