By Katrina Marrone
About 170 volunteers, $2,500 in donations, and hundreds of happy children. This is what it took to host the Special Olympics as part of the 4th annual North Central School Day Games on April 29.
“The Special Olympics is a fantastic day that shows how far team spirit goes,” said Michelle Cree, a junior at Fitchburg State University and director of the Special Olympics. “The athletes aren’t there to compete against each other; they’re there to have fun and meet new friends. It’s a really inspiring day, and I’m so thankful for all the support we received from the university and community.”
Volunteers spent two months raising money from local businesses, families, and friends in order to help run the event. Since the event is run completely on donations, fundraising is a very important aspect of the project. Donations are used to pay the fire department, police department, marching band, and supply gift bags for the participants.
Over 400 competitors participated in the Special Olympics of North Central Massachusetts from 41 different schools in the area. They took part in a variety of events such as shot put, softball toss, and track & field. According to Cree, it takes a year of planning and working directly with the Special Olympics of Massachusetts to run the event, and other colleges have been using Fitchburg State as a model for the games they hold at their schools.
*Photo Credit: Matt Brunn