Written by Michael Rouleau
Willimantic, Conn. - The 35th Annual Windham Invitational Special Olympics Swim Meet will be held Saturday, March 8 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Windham High School. Approximately 350 volunteers will be needed to continue to make this one of the largest and most successful Special Olympics swim meets in Connecticut.
"Over 200 athletes with intellectual disabilities from Connecticut and Massachusetts are expected to register for the event," said Charles Wynn, 2014's meet director and professor of chemistry at Eastern Connecticut State University. In addition to the swimming competition, sports clinics, aerobics, and arts and crafts activities will be offered.
The greatest need is for one-to-one partners, who will make sure athletes get to their registered events, cheer them on, and get them involved in activities when they are not swimming. Volunteers are also needed in areas such as sports clinics, food service and water safety.
All volunteers will be provided with lunch from McDonald's and a Windham Special Olympics t-shirt. Volunteer registration forms can be downloaded after Jan. 6 at windhaminvitationalswimmeet.weebly.com. This activity is approved for community service credit.
Special Olympics is a year-round program of physical fitness, sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The program is unique in that it accommodates competition at all ability levels by assigning athletes to "competition divisions" based on both age and performance ability. According to a study by experts at Yale University, Special Olympics athletes perform better at school, at work and at home, the longer they participate in the program.