Providing opportunity and fulfillment to local athletes with intellectual disabilities
Tioga County’s chapter of the Special Olympics is far more active than most of us would guess. Typically, in our area, Special Olympics is synonymous with the Track and Field Event held at Mansfield University. While that is the most attended event, it is far from the only. Multiple sporting opportunities are offered, ranging from basketball, to bowling, to swimming, and more. The Manager of Tioga County’s Special Olympics, Donna Cummings, spoke with Homepage about all that the organization offers and includes.
Donna shared from her heart about her first experiences with the Special Olympics. Seeing the excitement and joy that it brought to her son who has Down’s, showed her the impact of this exceptional organization. Since then, she has assumed the position of Manager, which means that she leads the Tioga County Special Olympics board who coordinates and facilitates sporting events for the county. She is still very hands on in her role, too. For example, Donna just returned from a bowling tournament in Mechanicsburg, which she was a part of chaperoning. Her involvement is extensive, yet clearly something valuable that she and her team are passionate about.
As referred to above, the Track and Field Event in May has received a lot of recognition in Tioga County. However, this is just the tip of the ice burg of local Special Olympic events. Recently the MU basketball team hosted a clinic for the Special Olympic basketball team. It was a terrific, joyful time of teaching and learning for both teams. The athletes have just completed their bowling season, and are now coming in to their swimming practices. There is also a 5k event in the near future. Donna explained that each sport runs for 8 weeks, with practices each week leading up to a competitive event.
Of course, to keep this schedule running for the athletes, volunteers are essential. There are varying levels and forms of contribution to the organization. Coaches, chaperones, event helpers, and board members are just a few of the roles that one can fill. Anyone who is interested in joining in this impressive work can find more information on the PA branch’s website. Likewise, prospective athletes can visit the website to find the application process.
Tioga County’s Special Olympics is working hard to provide opportunity and fulfillment to local athletes with intellectual disabilities. These people are making a huge difference in the lives of the participating athletes, and consequentially, the community. What a selfless inspiration this organization is!
*You can keep up with the activities of Tioga County’s Special Olympics on their Facebook page. (https://www.facebook.com/Special-Olympics-PA-Tioga-County-149989721698263/)
Idea/Concept: Amiee Jones
Videography: Erin O’Shea
Video Editing: Erin O’Shea
Writing: Amiee Jones
Anchor: Amiee Jones
Produced by Vogt Media
Supported by Bethany’s Jewelry and Design, Mansfield University