Some of you may know that I have been a volunteer track coach for the Special Olympics. Some of you, who know me well, will be laughing because you know that running is my least favorite exercise. You are probably wondering why I am helping to coach track and what could I possibly know about running.
The beauty of volunteering is that you don’t have to have any special skills, just a desire to help…and that I have plenty of!
A couple of weeks ago, our athletes had to qualify for the Area Games that were held last weekend on March 21st. Qualifying in the Area Games means they can go on to compete at the state games at Disney World in May. Only the top athletes in their races get to move up to the next level.
I noticed during practice that many of our athletes were trying to do their time trials in either Basketball shoes or shoes that were torn up, worn out and ill fitting. Many of them were also running in denim shorts or work pants. The athletes that are older live on fixed income and some in group homes and simply can’t afford to buy proper equipment for running. I had to do something.
I mobilized my boot camp clients both past and present, who have been and are the most generous bunch I have ever met. I sent out word on Facebook and made a few calls.
Through the generosity of our boot campers, Gulfwinds track club and Magic 107 we collected over 50 pair of new and gently used running shoes, tons of running shorts,sunscreen and brand new socks in just 3 days!
The best part of this mission was on the day of the Area Games. Myself, my son, Nigel and several of my boot campers, Nick, Sarah, Megan and Kelly fitted athletes in need from Leon and Gadsden Co. with new shoes and socks. The smiles on their faces said it all. They left our little booth feeling more confident, a little more like the runners they were.
It was great to volunteer at the games and watch these athletes give 110% effort whether they were doing assisted walking with an able-bodied volunteer, playing unified soccer, tennis or Bocci.
It’s great to know that one simple act can do so much for another.
Blessed Mother Theresa said it best, “If you can’t feed a hundred people then feed just one.”