MCCers offer helping hand for Special Olympics

When MCC students, faculty and staff turned out to lend a helping hand for the Special Olympics, the benefits were bountiful.

“The turnout is wonderful,” said Lowell Martin, MCC Success Center director. “We had a huge number of College students and faculty and staff to help,” he said.

More than 300 Special Olympic athletes, ranging in ages 5 to 22 with intellectual and physical disabilities came to MCC’s Smith Field Soccer Pitch on Friday, March 29, to participate in a variety of sports including soccer, horseshoes and track and field events.

“The most important aspect is that the kids – Special Olympians – had a great time,” Martin said.

The good time wasn’t one-sided; MCC students and staff enjoyed the event, too. “It makes you feel good helping other people,” said Catherine Dean, a 19-year-old psychology major from Meridian. Dean was helping her Sociology Instructor Kim Coward put temporary USA tattoos on the competitors. “My students get the opportunity to interact with others by volunteering,” Coward said. Another MCC student, Hayleigh Rogers, a sophomore softball player for the Lady Eagles, said she likes that the College offers opportunities to volunteer.

Martin noted he plans to establish a Special Olympics club on campus in the fall. “We’re getting students together and handling logistics right now, but the plan is to have two or three events per semester,” he said.

The College’s group also seeks to expose MCC students to special needs individuals. “Sometimes you fear what you don’t know and this way people gain experience working with someone who is special needs,” Martin said.

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