At a recent Contra Costa County track meet, I had the utmost pleasure of chatting with the mom and dad to one fantastic student-athlete. Deanna and Steve were enjoying the sun out in Brentwood as they watched their long-time Schools Partnership Program student-athlete Logan. Here’s what the pair had to say about Logan’s involvement with Special Olympics in the schools!
What has participating in Special Olympics Schools Partnership Program done for Logan and your family?
Deanna: He’s done an amazing job in participating. He enjoys it. We enjoy it as a family. It has really brought together all the kids. He gets to see kids that he’s grown up with over the years and teachers. He loves coming out to competitions. He’ll talk about it for years to come. It’s a very positive thing for him.
Steve: The ability for him to participate with his peers – younger and older, age doesn’t make a difference – it gives him a sense of belonging. He’s part of a group. Since his siblings have played sports, he feels like he fits in a little more since he also plays sports. His little brother and sister want to come and watch. Unfortunately, they’re usually in school so we can’t always make that accommodation. But we did for Bay Area Games, we all went and supported Logan with the very large group that was there.
What kind of impact has the Schools Partnership Program had on Logan in the classroom and his life?
Deanna: They’re very supportive of all the teachers and kids. He just really loves coming out. He wants his mom and dad to watch. Even if we can’t show up, which we normally do, he just feels the energy from the crowd and everyone is very supportive.
Steve: I’d like to see what the Schools Partnership Program does grow. I’d like to see more corporate sponsors to help kids because this is something they can do for the rest of their lives. Bay Area Games was the biggest event that I had ever been to. Different branches of law enforcement and fire department were all there giving support. I think the kids really dig the attention and they thrive on it, and that’s what they get and deserve.
What would you tell other parents of students with special needs about getting involved with the Schools Partnership Program?
Deanna: I would absolutely recommend it. It does amazing things. For the kids that are kind of shy, it’ll definitely bring them out of their shell. They’ll enjoy it immensely.
Steve: Get in. Volunteer your time. It’s a rewarding, rewarding thing. A lot of the parents as well are shy and sometimes kids don’t go where all the other ones go. Parents don’t feel uncomfortable because all the other children who are out here having special needs of varying levels. Some parents run with their kids, some sit back and watch and some help. It’s a great thing.