Special olympics makes a big difference in local community

Nonprofit organizations bring people together to support a common good. They not only provide a sense of community but also play a fundamental role in fostering a community to strengthen and thrive.

I want to be able to shed some light on the many great organizations out there that are local to us and the work they do for our community.

On Jan. 13, Special Olympics held its first Regional Bowling Competition here in Corpus Christi, at Bowlero. Delegations from all over South Texas came together to compete in the tournament.

Special Olympics offers year-round training and Olympic-type competitions for their athletes with intellectual disabilities. This organization gives athletes the opportunity to develop physical health, bond with family, and create ongoing friendships with other athletes. 

A common misconception is that athletes have to be children. Special Olympics is also for adults of all ages.

To become an athlete, a person must be diagnosed with an intellectual disability before the age of 18. While there is no maximum age limit to compete, participants must be at least 8 years old. Enrollment forms can be found online at sotx.org.

For athletes younger than 8, there is opportunity for them to join the Young Athletes Program. This program is designed for children, 2 to 7 years of age, as an introduction to sports and to develop the skills necessary to compete when they get older.

The public is encouraged to get involved as a volunteer or a coach. No experience is required.

Becoming a volunteer is simple — find an event near you and sign up. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old. All volunteers younger than 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers will participate in an orientation the day of the event before working with the athletes.

Coaches, also known as Class A volunteers, must undergo a background check and online trainings.

To find out more information about Special Olympics and how to get involved, visit sotx.org. You can also find upcoming events and volunteer opportunities on their Facebook Page; search for “Special Olympics Texas – South Texas Area.”

For more information on becoming a volunteer or coach, contact Angela Brengman, area director, at abrengman@sotx.org or 737-867-9658.

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