Special Olympians show off their athletic skills - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special Olympians show off their athletic skills

Special needs students compete in YMCA's Special Olympics program Special needs students compete in YMCA's Special Olympics program
Special Olympics volunteers bond with students Special Olympics volunteers bond with students
TCCHS Special Education teacher Todd Wilson TCCHS Special Education teacher Todd Wilson
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Special Olympians showed off their athletic skills Thursday at an annual event hosted by the Thomasville YMCA.

Special needs students from Thomasville and surrounding counties showed off their moves on the court.

It was impossible to find one person not sporting a huge smile all day.

Thomas County Central High School Special Education Teacher Todd Wilson said, “Just the excitement and enthusiasm that's on their faces.  And how they're all hugging and high-fiving everyone.  It just warms your heart to see something like that.”

It's a rewarding feeling that brings volunteers back to the Special Olympics event every year. 

Volunteer Gene Sampson said, “Last year, I was helping this little boy shoot his basketball and I was encouraging him.  And before he put the basketball up, he came up to me and gave me a big hug.  You know, it's such a joy to work with these kids.”

Kids ranging from elementary school to high school were able to participate in events all around town.  

Some competed in bowling, while others raced at the skating rink. 

Wilson said, “They know that they're a little different. So this day gives them the opportunity to come here and showcase their talents among other kids who have the same disabilities that they have.”

Some of the kids who participated in the basketball game will be chosen to head to Atlanta for the statewide Special Olympics Winter Games. 

And every volunteer said this program is a life-changing experience.

Sampson said, “We're helping the kids.  But if you get a chance to work with them, you realize how much they're helping us.  That's a blessing.”

The program ended with all the students receiving their own well-deserved ribbons. 

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