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Special Olympics Club Assists Intellectually Disabled Students

An ID student participates in the long jump. Photo by Travis Temple.
An ID student participates in the long jump. Photo by Travis Temple.

According to the Center for Parent Information and Resources, ID stands for Intellectual Disability. People with an Intellectual Disability can have trouble functioning mentally, communicating, taking care of themselves, and functioning socially. Around 6.5 million people in America have an Intellectual Disability.

The Special Olympics Buddies was new to PGHS last year and is slowly growing; its goal is to help these ID students. Students in the club spend time with the ID kids and help them get more used to interaction.

“We hang out, bowl, run track, and go to the mall”, said Ann Roberts, the club sponsor. “We go on field trips and have dances for the ID children.”

The goal of the club is to help the ID students athletically and socially. Each club member is a mentor to a specific ID student, so as to have a more substantial effect.

“[The purpose is] to support and contribute to the Special Olympics athletes in both an athletic role as a mentor or coach, as well as in the role of friend in the school,” Roberts said.

The members try to make the events a time where everyone enjoys themselves, including both the Special Ed. Students and the mentors.

“We want it to be a time where everyone just does what they want to do,” Roberts said.

The club helps to include the ID students and make them feel more like human beings.

“It makes them feel less like outcasts,” said Junior Mariah Rogers. “It makes them feel more equal.”

Students have to do more than just sign up to enter the Special Olympics Buddies. There are forms and an online training program.

“First, you do an online training. You have to fill out forms and get recommendations,” Rogers said.

The club has meetings every week and activities every week.

“We have bowling every Wednesday in Fort Lee,” Roberts said.

The members enjoy the experience and love what they do. Some members decide to pursue special education as a career.

“I am lucky to be involved with such a great group of kids,” Rogers said.

The club has a lot of potential for growth. Roberts has very high hopes.

“Hopefully this will be the beginning of something good,” Roberts said.

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