Students from the CREC Two Rivers Magnet Middle School girls’ basketball team spent Sunday, March 2 volunteering at the Winter Special Olympics at the Simsbury International Skating Center of Connecticut. The Special Olympics athletes were competing in figure skating and speed skating the day of the event.
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. The CREC Two Rivers volunteers assisted with arts and crafts, lunch service, and took part in the cheer squad. The student-athletes also had the opportunity to meet with several Special Olympics athletes and hear about their athletic successes.
The middle school athletics program at the CREC Two Rivers Magnet School, in addition to four other CREC middle schools, was started just last year. The program was carefully designed to be an extension of the district’s academic programming, including using athletics as an avenue to get CREC students more involved in the community. “Special Olympics would not exist today – and could not have been created – without the time, energy, commitment and enthusiasm of its diverse volunteers,” explains the Special Olympics Connecticut website.
“It was an extremely fun day for all that took part,” said Middle School Girls’ Basketball Coach, John Stinchon. The students told Stinchon that they enjoyed the opportunity so much, they hope to participate again in future Special Olympics events. Participating students reside in many surrounding towns, including East Hartford, Glastonbury, Bloomfield, Hartford, South Windsor, Wethersfield, and Manchester.