Special Olympic games kick off - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special Olympic games kick off

Valdosta - Ryan Fountain is learning what it feels like to be a star athlete. "I came in second place in the race!" said Fountain.

At school, he sometimes feels a little different than the other kids but at this event, he's just like everyone else. "They know the difference when they're at school but when they're out here they see students who are like them and it gives them the chance to interact," said Melissa Banks, Special Education Teacher.

Ryan is one of hundreds of South Georgia students taking part in the Area 15 Special Olympic Summer Games. "I've been playing softball throw and long jumps," said Lorenzo Williams.

The games make it possible for handicapped kids, even those in wheelchairs, to play sports and succeed at it. "Individuals with disabilities, that's not normal for them, but we're making it a normal, everyday activity," said Robert Yost, Organizer.

Being part of these events will help them grow into productive adults, like Todd Howard. He's been involved with Special Olympics since he was in middle school, and says the games have changed his life. "It will help them a lot, to do different types of goals," said Howard.

"We've heard from major universities that Special Olympics helps the social, recreational, and educational abilities of people with disabilities," said Yost.

From these games, the athletes can advance to the state, national and even the World Special Olympics, teaching them that with a little hard work and determination, nothing is impossible.

posted by ashley.harper@walb.com

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