Thursday, April 12, 2012

Roanoke College athletes volunteer their time for Special Olympics

By Brian Hoffman

NEW CASTLE – Roanoke College Student-Athletes recently took time out from their busy schedules to volunteer with Special Olympics.

The Special Olympics organization worked with several student-athletes with their basketball tournament, held in the Roanoke Valley in early March. Numerous athletes from different sports came out to show their support and enjoy the experience. The Roanoke students helped with the scoreboard and worked on the sidelines with the players.

Special Olympics is a global, nonprofit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletics competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. That interaction and physical activity gives participants the chance to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and share those skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and community members.

With NCAA Division III and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference being a partner with Special Olympics, Roanoke College athletes have teamed up with the organization. Throughout the years the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has looked for opportunities to help these participants in a number of ways. During the men and women’s basketball season, a group of athletes attended a game where they met the players, received Roanoke gear, and participated in the half-time contest.

 “It was really valuable for me to see how much fun they had while they were playing,” said Alea Bier, a junior infielder for the softball team.  “It’s important for them to have a chance at normalcy, and this was a great opportunity for these individuals to show their talents. The experience is one that I would like to repeat because I could feel how appreciative the athletes were.”

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