Each May, about 900 severely challenged kids from public and private schools across Santa Clara County are invited to participate in a one-day event of physical endeavor and success. This is the one day in the year when these youngsters are special, they are athletes, and at the center of attention through positive achievement. For many of these kids, the Special Games is their favorite day of the year. Unlike Special Olympics, which presumes a higher level of physical ability, Special Games excludes no one. All participants are recognized in an opening ceremonial parade and at each event for their accomplishments.
On Friday, May 17, 2013, sixty-six students from Sunnyvale Middle School (SMS) AVID and Builder’s Club volunteered at the 35th Annual Kiwanis Special Games at De Anza College. As community volunteers, the students supported the athletes in their endeavors by guiding them from event to event and, more importantly, cheering them on as they persevered through each challenge. Juan Ayala, 8th grade SMS student volunteer, said he liked escorting just a few students from event to event because “we got to know them really well. Our kids were pretty cool.” Anthony Torres, 8th grade SMS student volunteer, said, “It’s my favorite event of the year. It makes me appreciate everything I have.”
Article by Kevin Schieberl, Music Teacher/Sunnyvale Middle School