Make first-ever Lancaster Special Olympics possible

Make first-ever Lancaster Special Olympics possible

     Only two hurdles – and they’re big ones – stand in the way of the dream of Lancaster County special education teachers Mary Beth Mize and Marlee Bos – making the first-ever Lancaster County Special Olympics possible for the district’s 400 special needs students.

     Hurdle 1 – They need more than more than 400 volunteers to help run the Special Olympics – 250 people have volunteered so far.

     “We’re asking anyone who would like to help us to contact us,” Mize said, “and we promise, that day of volunteering will be one of your most rewarding experiences ever. It will definitely be one of the highlights of your year.”

     Hurdle 2 – Teachers are working to raise around $10,000 to get each student a Special Olympics T-shirt and to provide them lunch. So far, the group has raised nearly $5,000.

     And if those two hurdles are overcome, the Lancaster County Special Olympics will begin at 10 a.m., April 20 at Springdale Recreation Center.

     “We’re so appreciative of all the people who’ve donated and helped so far,” Mary Beth said. “We know we still have a ways to go to meet our goals, but we know we’ll find the funds we need. We just can’t let these children down.”

     A month ago, when Mary Beth and Marlee learned Area 11 Special Olympics are the same week as spring break – April 9-14 – and the district’s students couldn’t take part, the teachers just couldn’t bear to think their students – and other district students – would miss the Special Olympics.

     “We’ve both seen how much the Special Olympics means to our students and their families,” Mary Beth said. “We just knew we had to do something so they wouldn’t miss out on one of the highlights of their year.”

     So Mary Beth and Marlee went to work – contacting Area 11 leaders to see if they could organize a Special Olympics for our county’s students, asking the other district special education teachers to help with the event, scheduling a date, getting permission to use the Springdale Rec Department and tackling dozens of other logistical details.

     “We’re so excited about all the support we’ve gotten,” Mize said. “It’s been overwhelming.”

     To volunteer or donate, contact Marlee at (803-669-3664) or Mary Beth at Mary (803-320-9020).

Volunteers are needed to
     •     cheer as athletes compete
     •     help athletes collect awards
     •     help run events for athletes
     •     help prepare and serve lunches
     •     set up the event (will need to come earlier in the day before 10 a.m.)
     •     clean up after the event

Volunteers will need to
     •     check in at the volunteer tent the day of the event
     •     sign in to record they are volunteering so the event can have a record of all volunteers

Training only needed for Event Captains
     •     need about 20 volunteers who can be trained a couple days before the Special Olympics and can stay all day to run events such as the 100 meter dash, standing long jump.

When & where
     •     10 a.m.- 2 p.m,, April 20, Springdale Recreation Center