Students support Special Olympics athlete
A group of students from the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies raised $500 to adopt an athlete competing at the 2012 Special Olympics Provincial Games in Kingston and at Queen’s this month.
“Because a lot of us are athletes or come from athletic backgrounds, we understand the sense of enjoyment that comes from participating and competing in sports and believe everyone should have the same opportunities,” says Lucas Azeredo Lobo, PHE’13, one of the organizers of the fundraising effort.
Mr. Azeredo Lobo and his classmates in Physical Activity, Recreation and Exercise for Persons with Disabilities were inspired to get involved after Dr. Frank Hayden, the father of the Special Olympics movement, and Stacey Cooper, the manager of the 2012 Special Olympics Provincial Games, spoke in their class. Students in the class raised two-thirds of the total funds while the Winter Adapted Games (WAG) organizing committee collected the remaining amount. WAG is a student-run event where children and youth with an identified disability come to Queen’s for a day of games and activities.
The KNPE 333 course focuses on the issues and concerns individuals with disabilities face in order to participate successfully in physical, recreational and leisure activities. The students examine the recreational and competitive sport opportunities for persons with disabilities including Special Olympics. Course instructor Kathy Jackson says the upcoming games being held in Kingston give students who volunteer a first-hand look at what it takes to organize and run a large-scale inclusive and barrier-free athletic competition.
“I think the fundraising work by the students really speaks to the level of engagement they want to have with the community,” says Ms Jackson. “The course includes a community placement, and quite often the students will continue to volunteer with the organization the following years.”
Queen’s is a partner of the 2012 Special Olympics Provincial Games. The university residences are serving as the athletes’ village for the participants and their families. The university is hosting basketball at the Athletics and Recreation Centre, bocce at Tindall Field and powerlifting at Duncan McArthur Hall. The closing ceremonies take place inside the Athletics and Recreation Centre.
The complete schedule of events is posted on the Special Olympics Ontario website.