Nearly a hundred Eastern student volunteers helped out at the 33rd Annual Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet on March 10 at Windham High School, under the direction of Charles Wynn, professor of chemistry. Volunteers served as one-on-one partners with their own Special Olympians for the day. Partners make sure athletes get to their registered events, cheer them on, and get them involved in activities when they are not swimming. All volunteers were provided lunch from McDonalds and a souvenir Windham Special Olympics t-shirt. Wynn has been the meet director for the past 18 years.
The Special Olympics is a year-round program of physical fitness, sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. According to a study conducted at Yale University, Special Olympics athletes perform better at school, at work and at home the longer they participate in the program. The study found that the Special Olympics have a direct and positive effect on their self-image and ability to function in a social setting. They acquire skills that help them gain employment, maintain relationships, function independently and contribute to community life.